One Minute World Arts- RSC’s My Neighbor Totoro at Barbican: Popular Animation Made Alive on Stage


Animated movies produced by Studio Ghibli are shared memories of audiences worldwide, no matter how old they are; meanwhile, drama makers with different cultural backgrounds also feel greatly inspired by Ghibli’s innovative works. Following the theatrical production of Spirited Away, presented in Japan earlier this spring, the stage version of My Neighbor Totoro, the extremely popular 1988 animation made by Studio Ghibli, is currently running at London’s Barbican Centre – and the run will end in January 2023. This much anticipated performance is produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company with the authorization and support from Studio Ghibli, and its stage play is created by Tom Morton-Smith, based on the story of the original animated film, with the goals to capture its heartwarming depiction of family relationship, as well as to create a magical atmosphere on the stage. Moreover, the majority of human characters in this production are played by British East Asian actors, while Satsuki and Mei – the two sisters that are central roles to the story – are played by adult actors, whose superb acting techniques are highly valued by the audience.


The theatrical version of My Neighbor Totoro adopts the beautiful music composed by Joe Hisaishi for the animation, with a live band playing it on a raised platform and a singer singing, to make the audience feel closer to the story’s emotional dimensions. In addition, the marvelous puppetry, including Totoro, farm animals, and the catbus, created by Basil Twist and his team, and the set designed by Tom Pye that is as mobile as origami, have further helped to enrich this production, making it the fastest-selling show of all time at the Barbican – even out-winning Benedict Cumberbatch’s Hamlet. The RSC’s My Neighbor Totoro has received a 5-star rating from The Guardian. Not surprisingly, theatre critics across the press have also responded positively and enthusiastically to the show.




吉卜力動畫電影向來是各地觀眾不分世代的集體記憶,也是許多戲劇創作者的靈感來源。繼《神隱少女》於今年春天在日本推出舞台劇後,另一部膾炙人口的吉卜力動畫作品《龍貓》(My Neighbor Totoro1988),也於10月上旬在倫敦巴比肯藝術中心(Barbican Centre)進行劇場版首演,檔期至明年1月結束。本劇由吉卜力公司授權並協助英國皇家莎士比亞劇團(The Royal Shakespeare Company)製作,文本則由湯姆.莫頓史密斯(Tom Morton-Smith)根據原作改編;一方面深刻演繹故事裡觸動人心的家庭關係,另方面也成功營造出屬於劇場舞台的幻奇風格。值得一提的是,《龍貓》舞台劇中大大小小的人物,幾乎全由英國亞裔演員飾演;而最關鍵的核心角色小月和小梅兩姊妹,更是由成人演員負責詮釋,其精湛演技備受觀眾肯定。


舞台版《龍貓》沿用動畫版中久石讓(Joe Hisaishi)所譜寫的動人音樂,但改以現場演奏與演唱來召喚觀眾心底滿滿的情感。此外,偶戲大師貝索.特威斯特(Basil Twist)帶領工作團隊,為本製作所精心打造的龍貓、農村動物和貓巴士等戲偶,以及舞台設計名家湯姆.派伊(Tom Pye)用近似摺紙般開闔連動的概念,所搭建出來的魔幻場景,在在為這齣萬眾矚目的舞台劇增添魅力。如此高規格的組合,不僅讓《龍貓》取代班奈狄克.康柏拜區(Benedict Cumberbatch)領銜主演的哈姆雷特(Hamlet),成為巴比肯藝術中心有史以來最快完售的作品,更使本劇勇奪英國《衛報》(The Guardian5顆星的最高評價,並獲得各大藝文版面的一致好評。



Photo Credit ©Manuel Harlan/ RSC with Nippon TV