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TOMARI Atsushi
Born: 1968
Function: stage director playwright

Tomari was born in Fukuoka Prefecture. He wrote and directed productions for the university drama society while a student at Kitakyushu University. After graduating he moved to Tokyo for work, but in 1993 he returned to Kitakyushu and rejoined Tobu Gekijo, becoming their leader in 1995. In 2007 the company celebrated twenty years of being at the forefront of theater in Kitakyushu. Tomari is known for his masterful productions that focus on a social perspective, such as Iron, based on the steel industry, the main industry in Kitakyushu, and Tadashii machi (A Righteous Town), about a new religion reminiscent of the clandestine Christians, which he combines with a highly entertaining directing style complete with live music and singing. In 1997 he won the Japan Playwrights Association's Outstanding New Playwright's Award for Seitaikei Kazu-kun (Ecosys: Kazu-kun), which depicted life and death from the perspective of a strange catlike creature in a small village in Kyushu. In 1999, Iron was shortlisted for the Kishida Drama Award. Tomari is currently arts program director at the Kitakyushu Performing Arts Center.

Photo: Fujimoto Gen (Production of 2005)
The setting is the island of Kateru, located somewhere between Japan and the Korean Peninsula, which gained its independence from Japan in the tumultuous postwar period. Their main industry, steel, is in a slump and after fifty years of a dead-end seclusionist policy the population is tormented by poverty and starvation. The national entertainment is table tennis, yet the star members of the national table tennis team are also affected by the nation’s grinding poverty. One of the players, Itatami, cannot bear the tyranny of the security police and the futility of the current situation, and begins to consider escaping to the Japan of his dreams.

First staged: 1999
Acts/scenes: 1 act
Cast: 16 (10 male, 6 female)
First staged by: Tobu Gekijo

Photo: Kanamaru Kei
Mi mo kokoro mo (Mi-mo Kokoro-mo (Heart and Hand) )
A university film society is the focus of this play. Each fall the town holds a film festival and this year’s theme is “Local People in Film.” The university film society is invited to participate, yet all the members are too busy with their own lives: they are attracted to someone other than their lover; the person they have a crush on doesn’t even notice them, however much they try; there’s no hope for the future; they don’t know what they want to do or what’s important to them… Every day brings more problems. The balance between a former leader of the film society, his lover the star actress, and a new female member is upset and the breakup they never imagined happens. A love story based on Natsume Soseki’s novel Kokoro.

First staged: 2002
Acts/scenes: 1 act, 4 scenes
Cast: 13 (5 male, 8 female)
First staged by: Tobu Gekijo