New Play: ‘Akira Kurosawa in Hell’

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The Blank Theatre’s Living Room Series, featuring brand new plays made in L.A., will present “11 Seconds (Akira Kurosawa in Hell),” written by Karen Huie and directed by Peter Kuo, online from Monday, March 22, at 8 p.m. to Sunday, March 28, at 10 p.m. PT.

Karen Huie

Synopsis: Akira Kurosawa’s first color film is dismissed by critics. The renowned director of “Rashomon,” “Seven Samurai” and “The Hidden Fortress” (on which “Star Wars” was based), is shunted for funding and chooses suicide. When Akira was 17, his older brother, a narrator of silent Japanese films, committed suicide when sound destroyed his career. He was 23.

Akira arrives in Meido, Japanese hell, where his fate is to be determined when he has paid for all his sins. He is desperate to find his brother; he would understand. But he is paired with Toshiro Mifune, with whom he had a falling out after making 16 successful films together. They must find a way to get through the three gates of hell in order to reach the Pureland/Redemption.

The cast: Francois Chau as Kurosawa, Michael Hagiwara as Mifune, Greg Watanabe as Heigo Kurosawa, Julia Cho as Oni, and Yumi Mi as Raven (another Oni).

“Inspired by a Japanese woodblock print by Yoshitoshi when a kabuki actor had died and had to be punished for the sins of the characters he played, I wanted to write this play as a gift to [actor and director]Mako,” said Huie. “Sadly, I let too many years go by and Mako passed away. I was also exploring why Kurosawa and Mifune made 16 great films together and after ‘Red Beard,’ never worked together or spoke to each other again.”

Registration: Donation for the watch code is $15 general, $10 for students. Go to: https://secure.givelively.org/event/blank-theatre-company/lrs-online-11-seconds-akira-kurosawa-in-hell

Huie is an actor/writer/voiceover artist. Scenes from her plays “Yasuko and the Young Samurai” and “Songs of Harmony” were published in Volumes 1 and 2 of “Multicultural Theatre.” “Maiden Voyages” and “Songs of Harmony” were produced at the Stockton Civic Theatre. “Songs of Harmony” was also produced at East West Players in Los Angeles. “Return from Gold Mountain” was presented at EWP and Ensemble Studio Theatre in Los Angeles.

Huie attained a sitcom pilot deal from Castle Rock Entertainment (“Seinfeld”) and CBS. She is a member of the Antaeus Playwrights Lab and Writers Guild of America.

Her recent acting credits include:

Stage — “Steel Magnolias,” “Washer/Dryer,” “A Little Night Music” (EWP), “Little Women (A Multicultural Transposition)” (Playwrights’ Arena)

TV — “This Country,” “Hollywood,” “Kidding,” “Mom,” “Baskets,” “The Guest Book,” “Animal Kingdom,” “Hawaii Five-0,” “Criminal Minds,” “SMILF,” “Why Women Kill,” “Disjointed,” “Shameless”

Animation — “Great Pretender,” “Abominable,” “Scissor Seven,” “The Snowy Day,” “Mater’s Tall Tales”

Video games — “Ghost of Tsushima,” “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order,” “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice,” “Battlefield 4,” “Grand Theft Auto V,” “Saints Row: The Third”

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