Willamette University Theatre premieres kabuki play in English

Willamette University Theatre will perform Yukio Mishima's kabuki play, "The Sardine Seller's Net of Love," April 16 through April 24 with a performance in Portland May 2. This is the play's English-language world premiere.

When Sarugenji falls in love with the most beautiful courtesan in Kyoto, he finds he has no energy to sell sardines and no money to spend time with her. The comedy, set in the opulent splendor of Kyoto's Pleasure Quarters, is full of plot twists, mistaken identity and romance. The production showcases classical Japanese kabuki, known for stylized drama and elaborate makeup.

The play is directed and translated by Laurence Kominz, a professor of Japanese at Portland State University. He has served as artistic director of Japanese performance festivals, directs PSU's Center for Japanese Studies and writes extensively about kabuki, kyogen and Japanese dance. This production also features Portland musician Mitch Iimori playing the shamisen, and original buyô choreography by the University of British Columbia's Colleen Lanki.

Tickets and show times

Tickets range from $6-$12, including discounts for seniors and students. See the April 15 preview performance for $5, or $3 for students and seniors. Purchase tickets online via See the production at Willamette's Transfer Station, 1480 Oak St., Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.

The special Portland production on May 2 starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Scottish Rite Center, 709 SW 15th Ave. Tickets to the Portland production are available at the PSU box office or via

Press coverage

The Statesman Journal featured a behind-the-scenes article and photo gallery of the show.

The Oregonian recently chose the play as one of the five best live performances of the week.