When the World War II-era play “Defenders” makes its global premiere in L.A. next Saturday, it will mark a major career step for a member of the production staff.
Seira Murakami, a recent graduate of the USC School of Dramatic Arts, will serve as the stage manager for the production, which opens Nov. 9 and runs through Dec. 8 at the Broadwater Black Box in West L.A.
A native of Tokyo, Murakami earned a bachelor’s degree in stage management, and worked on several productions while still a student, including SDA’s “Holy Ghosts,” “Happy End,” “Macbeth,” “Circle Mirror Transformation,” “How to Survive a Millionaire” and “Side Show,” as well as MTR’s “Cabaret” and “Next to Normal.”
Recently, she has worked with the Musical Theatre Guild on “Honeymoon in Vegas,” and with Theatre Planners on “The Death and Life of Mary Jo Kopechne,” “The Direction Home” and “Last Swallows.”
“Defenders” takes place in Iceland, when the country was threatened with invasion by Germany during WWII, and follows three American GIs who are shipwrecked on the remote island of Hrisey off Iceland’s northern coast.
The stranded soldiers find themselves with missing weapons, few supplies, and a broken radio. They realize they must rely on the locals for survival but, like current-day warfare, the locals fear the loss of their culture, their women and their safety with the presence of foreigners on their land.
Iceland has endured and survived waves of invaders, occupiers and pirates that have come and gone but the descendants of its original settlers are still there. It’s a land of myth where spirituality connects the population to its often harsh and unrelenting nature.
In “Defenders,” as the mysterious history of Hrisey’s long-ago battle with pirate invaders comes slowly to light, the past and the present mix and the soldiers, Icelanders, and the land itself are forced to ask just who is defending whom.
Written by Cailin Harrison and directed by Reena Dutt, “Defenders” is presented by Pandelia’s Canary Yellow Company.
A preview performance will take place this Friday at 8 p.m., after which regular performances will be held Fridays through Mondays for the length of its run.
The Broadwater Black Box is located at 6322 Santa Monica Blvd. in Los Angeles. For tickets and more information, call (323) 960-5770 or visit www.Onstage411.com.