The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Color of Life
New musical: Color of Life
(Mar. 25 - 31, 2016 at Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre - Theatre East)
(C) Kitty Entertainment
Premiere: 2013
Cast: 1 man, 1 woman
Japanese Drama Database
Play of the Month Play of the Month
Oct. 4, 2016
New musical: Color of Life by Sachiko Ishimaru 
New musical: Color of Life by Sachiko Ishimaru 
Written (script and lyrics) and directed by the leader of Theatre Polyphonic, Sachiko Ishimaru, this musical was the first-ever entry by a Japanese in New York’s Midtown International Theatre Festival (2013), where it won the prize for Outstanding Production of a Full-length Musical and three other categories. The Japan premiere came in 2016. It tells the story of a woman who has just lost her deeply loved same-sex partner and a painter who has lost sight of what he should paint after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. The two meet by chance and begin living together in New York and the story follows them to life choices they make for the future.
A man and a woman enter.
The woman (Rachael Beattie) falls to the ground in the middle of an intersection and begins to sing, “I reach out, but there is no one to take my hand.” It is a song expressing the emptiness in her heart after the recent death of her lover. Then the man (Kazuya Hirose), holding a picture frame, begins to sing about what painting means to him: “The things that enter me through the windows of my eyes become a part of my body. That is why I must paint.” However, following the shock of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami (2011), he can no longer paint in the world of gray that Japan has become in his eyes, so he is searching for new colors he can paint.

It is September 12th. The two have met by chance in an airliner bound for New York and they begin to talk about themselves. The woman says that she is an actress living alone in New York, that a very important friend of hers has just died, that her parents divorced when she was a child, that she is returning from visiting her mother who lives in Japan and that her favorite movie is While You Were Sleeping. The man says that he is a painter and that he has set out on a journey with the belief that if he goes to New York he will surely find something that he wants to paint.

The two part, but with a premonition that their mutual attraction will draw them together again. After Kazuya returns to Tokyo, the two continue to converse by telephone, and a month later Kazuya has decided to go to New York again to live with Rachael. He sings joyfully: “I’m going to live with “Sexy” in New York. She is the finest Madonna!” For him, this will also be a journey to paint again. Meanwhile, Rachael calls here mother on an Internet phone line and tells her of her qualms about the fact that she has agreed to live with a man, even though she knows she can only love women.

Kazuya arrives in New York. The two go sight-seeing, they kiss for the first time and then go to bed together. Waking, Kazuya says that the title of the red painting he has painted is the “Happiness” he has found here.

Regarding the two and their identities. One day, Raphael has failed to present herself well at an audition and sings, “Who in the world could introduce themselves so simply?” “Who am I?” To Renoir, who said, “All I can paint is the happiness I find in life,” Kazuya responds by singing, “I want to paint everything about this here and now.

There is a new painting of Kazuya’s in the room. When they count the many things that have happened in their 60 days living together, there have been numerous “I’m home” embraces and kisses, but the only time they slept together was that first day. Rachael says, “If you care about a person and they are important to you, you shouldn’t sleep together right away… I like the present because some time there will be an end to it.”

Kazuya’s visa is only good for 90 days. The time the two have left together is one month. Song traces the passing of time since the Earth was born and connects it to the present. In the long, long history of things, his and her time together is so, so short, and this is how their time is passing.

It is their last week together. On the night of a power blackout they face each other in candlelight. Kazuya wants to tell Rachael that he wants to marry her, but he can’t bring himself to say it. Rachael can’t confess to him that she is a woman who can only love women. Kazuya’s seventh painting is on display. Rachael begins to talk about herself, but Kazuya is unable to accept her present state of mind immediately. Kazuya turns around his paintings one by one. The backs are all white.

It is January 24th. Kazuya is departing to fly back to Japan, and with this, each will return to living alone again. The seven canvases are turned around and paintings of Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet are revealed.

There are flashbacks from the time they first met to the present, and the paintings return to white. “The End.”

“Stop! …This story doesn’t end here,” says Rachael.
A year later. Kazuya has returned to New York and asks Rachael to marry him. Together they sing: “Let us mix the colors of our breath to make new color! The “Color of Life.”

Born in 1961. Writer and director Sachiko Ishimaru graduated from Waseda University and subsequently joined Ninagawa Studio, where she participated as an actor from 1986 until 1993. From 1993 until 2008 she served as an Assistant Director and director’s assistant primarily for productions directed by Yukio Ninagawa. From 2009, Ishimaru began the Private Acting School POLYPHONIC. In 2010, she established Theatre Polyphonic, as a company to produce her own performances. As it’s name suggests, Polyphonic aims at implementing various elements of acting, music, creativity and imagination that intertwine and resonate. The company produces a wide variety of theater, from contemporary to classic plays to straight plays and original musicals. In July 2013, entered the 14thh Midtown International Theatre Festival with her original work Musical: “Color of Life” that she wrote the script and lyrics for and directed. This work drew attention by winning the Festival’s Outstanding Production of a Full-length Musical award, the Outstanding Music & Lyrics award and the Outstanding Direction of a Full-Length Musical award.
Theatre Polyphonic