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(photo © Naoya Ikegami)

Ryohei Kondo’s playful HANASAKA JIISAN makes its North American debut this weekend at Japan Society (photo © Naoya Ikegami)

Japan Society
333 East 47th St. at First Ave.
Saturday, December 10, 7:30, and Sunday, December 11, 2:30, $28

Japan Society is hosting the North American premiere this weekend of a rather unique retelling of the favorite mukashi banashi folktale Hanasaka Jiisan (The Old Man Who Made Flowers Bloom), a wild and wacky version by Ryohei Kondo and his all-male Condors dance company. In the story, a childless couple’s dog finds treasure in their backyard, but things go awry when a greedy neighbor then borrows the pooch so it can dig up treasure on his land as well. Currently celebrating its twentieth anniversary, the twelve-member Condors troupe has previously performed such shows as Nezumi no Sumo (Rats’ Sumo), Apollo, Conquest of the Galaxy: Mars, and 2012 Angry Men, an adaptation of 12 Angry Men. The Tokyo-born, South America-raised Kondo, who brought Goats Block the Road, Part III: Goat Stampede to Japan Society in January 2011, has a talent for creating works that combine silliness and unpredictability with a strong social conscience, sharing Japanese culture while avoiding preaching. (He has also choreographed Takashi Miike’s crazy The Happiness of the Katakuris and Yatterman.) Performed by Michihiko Kamakura, Yoshihiro Fujita, Kojiro Yamamoto, and Kondo, Hanasaka Jiisan features playful props and costumes (by Hiroko Takamatsu) on Hanako Murayama’s ever-changing set. It will be preceded by Tokyo-born, Brooklyn-based Maiko Kikuchi’s Pink Bunny, a parade consisting of puppets and unusual objects marching across the stage in short vignettes. In November 2015, the Pratt graduate’s No Need for a Night Light on a Light Night Like Tonight had its world premiere at La MaMa; Pink Bunny premiered in 2014 as part of St. Ann’s Labapalooza! Answering the question “What do you want to be?,” the piece will be performed by Maiko Kikuchi, Shun Kikuchi, Monica Lerch, David Commander, and Zac Pless.

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