The Decline and Fall of Suzaku

  • 2011/2012 Season
  • Performed in Japanese

The 2011/2012 season marks the second year with a new artistic director at the helm of the NNTT Drama Division. This season, we will present Japanese modern classics interspersed with new works. The opening production will be The Decline and Fall of Suzaku. This late-period work by Mishima Yukio depicts the decline of a noble family in the waning days of World War II, in a play based on Herakles by Euripides. It is a story of magnificent decline, that of a man whose loyalty to the nation and the emperor blinds him to reality, and a woman firmly rooted in the real world. The tale is wrought in the elegant style characteristic of Mishima.

The Decline and Fall of Suzaku was first performed by Gekidan NLT in 1967, with Matsuura Takeo directing a cast which included Nakamura Nobuo and Minami Yoshie. After Mishima Yukio's death, it was produced by the Roman Theatre Company with the same cast in 1971. The play was then not performed for many years, until in 1987 it was performed at the Saison Theatre, directed by Deguchi Norio with Sugiura Naoki and Kato Haruko in the lead roles. More recently in 2007, Miyata Keiko directed a production featuring Nakayama Jin and Sakuma Yoshiko.


In the waning days of World War II.

The Marquis Suzaku Tsunetaka is head a distinguished family. Believing it will help the emperor, he brings about the downfall of the despotic prime minister. Suzaku himself then resigns his position and returns home.
Tsunetaka's son Tsunehiro requests to be sent to the front, over the opposition of his fiancé Ritsuko and the maidservant Orei. Tsunehiro disregards the objections of uncle Shishido Mitsuyasu and Orei; he goes to the front and is killed in battle. Orei weeps over the death of Tsunehiro and reproaches Tsunetaka for not doing more to stop him.

Through a depiction of the fall of a noble family, the play explores the questions of what defines loyalty, the nation, and a just cause.

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