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Niwa Gekidan Penino*

Tanino Kuro formed Niwa Gekidan Penino in 2000 while a medical student at Showa University and a member of the university's drama club. He continued writing and directing plays as the company leader while working as a psychiatrist. Tanino's hobbies include sculpting and painting, and he takes pride in creating stage sets for both the theater Hakobune in his own apartment, and for open-air performance spaces. He employs experimental "freeform" techniques, such as in Dark Master (2003), in which the protagonist distributes earphones to the audience during the play so they can simultaneously listen to instructions from an unseen master. In Underground (2006), the stage is converted into a surgical theater and a jazz band performs live to create sound effects during the medical operation. In 2007 he presented Egao no toride (The Smiling Fortress) about the problem of caring for the elderly, in which the essential element of spoken drama is more strongly emphasized than in previous works. In November 2007, Tanino directed a performance of Ibsen's The Wild Duck.

Underground Photo: Tanaka Aki