The new theatrical production of Hayao Miyazaki’s beloved classic Spirited Away is currently underway, and new photos from the production look dazzling. The play, directed by Les Misérables director and honorary Associate Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company John Caird, comes from Toho Stage, which celebrates its 90th year of productions in 2022.
The show is currently running at the Imperial Theater in Tokyo until March 29, before touring Japan until July. But if you’re unable to make the journey to Japan, however, closer looks at the gorgeous puppets and sets have been released to the public. Each of the fantastical creatures in Spirited Away comes to life courtesy of puppet designer and builder Toby Olié.
Chihiro, the heroine of Spirited Away, is played by two actresses in Toho’s production: Kanna Hashimoto, in her stage debut, and Mone Kamishiraishi. Most of the roles are double cast. River spirit Haku is portrayed by both Kotaro Daigo and Hiroki Miura. Meanwhile the actresses behind Yubaba and Zeniba, the twin witches, are Romi Park and Mari Natsuki — the latter who also voiced the characters in the original film.
The photos recreate some of the movie’s most iconic moments, from Haku comforting Chihiro among the flowers to Chihiro riding the bus with No-Face. Of course, this is done with all the adjustments for the stage, meaning that the lush flower bushes are actually actors adorned with blossoms among other and invisible Chihiro is covered in a sheet.
This adaptation was announced in 2021, with a blessing and full support from Hayao Miyazaki himself.
“We, Hayao and I, both liked John’s vision; he is a person we can trust,” said Miyazaki’s longtime producer partner Toshio Suzuki in a statement. Once the Japan tour finishes, Toho hopes to bring the play to other parts of Europe and Asia.