Yara Arts Group, a resident company of La MaMa, presents Sundown, a theatrical reflection on the life and work of the father of Japanese photography, Hikoma Ueno (1838-1904), written and directed by Watoku Ueno. The piece is conceived as an East-West story, chronicling how Japanese learned photography from European travelers and scientists, and taking the audience on a trip from the beginnings of photography to the paths exploring endless possibilities and unwritten stories hidden behind a "frozen" image. It features original Japanese costumes, old photographs, and folk songs superimposed with breathtaking images, dance, and puppets.
The interdisciplinary play uses elements of theater, music and dance to portray Japan in one of its most turbulent times of transition, from the Edo period to the Meiji period, when Western ideas clashed, filtered or were integrated into the Japanese tradition. It portrays Hikoma Ueno as a chemist possessed by photography, who refined a formula for developing a picture (wet plate) as part of his search for a perfect artistic expression. Watoku Ueno directs.