Tōrō & Rose
Recipient of the 2019 Joan and Betty Rayner ACTF Commission, Tōrō & Rose is memorable, entertaining play for primary-aged children, that optimistically suggests that even in the face of enormous problems, we are not powerless. The better worlds we imagine can become real.
Sprinkled with Japanese, the performance starts in Australia where two narrators, a Japanese/Australian and an American/Australian transport us to 1923, to the city of Yokohama into a tiny shop that sells beautiful umbrellas and fans.The shop is run by a young woman named Tsukiko, her brother Yuuto and her playful dog Toro.
Toro & Rose is written & directed by Mark Penzak. Performed by Michelle Gerster & Mark Penzak.
Puppets by Rod Primrose.
Set and Toro: Eliza-Jane Gilchrist.
Tech: Remy Brannon.
Inspired by true historical occurrences, Tsukiko's world was devastated in 1923, when an enormous earthquake hit Yokohama. What occurred next though, was that help arrived from around the world in the first example of large-scale multinational emergency aid.
Remembering this, when tensions build between nations, Tsukiko has the idea of exchanging friendship gifts between Japan and America. She struggles to send a traditional stone lantern to the city of Seattle.
In America, Frank and his daughter, Sarah, respond by sending back 1000 rosebushes and accidentally Rose - the world's meanest cat.
In Japan, Tsukiko must save the roses - except she can only do that if she can get her dog Toro and Rose the grumpy cat to become friends.
Despite their efforts though war breaks out. Tsukiko realises she can't save the roses alone. The only chance is if the whole community helps.
Today the American rosebushes, or their descendants, are growing in Yokohama. The stone lantern stands in Seward Park, Seattle. And in Australia, we live in increasing harmony with different nations and cultures.
Written by Mark Penzak. Music: Andrée Cozens. Puppets: Rod Primrose. Set design: Eliza-Jane Gilchrist
We'd like to thank Australian Children's Theatre Foundation (ACTF) for financial support, Regional Arts Victoria, (RAV) for assisting the creation of the work and organising the tour and Macedon Ranges Council for providing a rehearsal space. Without their help and the help we've received from many people in smaller but also important ways, this production would not have been possible.
For schools, Toro & Rose is a great springboard for study across several curriculum areas and learning capabilities. The performance is sprinkled with Japanese words, making it a fun way to introduce students to that language.
Written & directed by Mark Penzak. Performed by Michelle Gerster & Mark Penzak. Puppet Design Rod Primrose. Sound/Music Design Andrée Cozens.
Tōrō & Rose will be touring Victoria in June 2020 with further booking planned for 2021. For further information or bookings, contact Pippin Davies, Regional Arts Victoria
firstname.lastname@example.org 03 9644 1800