Fukushima - A Silent Prayer of Poetry

In the days and weeks after the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant last spring, local poet Ryoichi Wago published his thoughts and fears through twitter, reflecting the feelings of a people at the time devastated by the ‘sea of rubble’ the tsunami laid in its wake. This powerful performance captures Wago’s words verbatim and brings together a broad selection of his tweets, weaving them into a tapestry that portrays the atmosphere in Fukushima during March last year.

British actor Stephen Connery-Brown is tremendous as the emotionally bruised and battered Wago, reading his poetry - translated into English by Jo Allen - alone onstage with a sense of desperation and terrifying uncertainty in the face of the scale of the tragedy. With no information from the Japanese authorities, Wago’s powerlessness is palpable in Connery-Brown’s sweating face, fighting to maintain sanity and reason in the heat of the situation. Aftershocks tremble without warning, portrayed in the sounds of Japanese drumming and music from two live performers, but it is the fear of the ‘rain of radiation’ from the nuclear plant that appears most striking.

As drama, I worried the piece occasionally felt flat; staging of the aftershocks felt a little tame and the use of the screen at the back of the stage only became truly effective towards the end when the embodiment of nuclear fallout, depicted with a headless Hannya mask, taunts Wago with ‘fear, anxiety and suspicion’. The show perhaps needed more authenticity – I would have enjoyed some recitals in original Japanese alongside the English, a translation that only occasionally captures lyricism. But as a portrait of a time when, for the people of Fukushima, the world seemed to be falling apart, this is powerful stuff.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

The Blurb

Composed of a Fukushima poet’s words, and poetry on Twitter started soon after the Tohoku natural disaster in March 2011. Fukushima has not only been suffering from earthquakes and tsunamis but radioactive contamination.

Most Popular See More

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Frozen the Musical

From £29.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mary Poppins

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets