Official Program

Niwa Gekidan Penino

Octopus Monks: Ritual of Forgetting


10.11−10.15, 2019North Hall, ROHM Theatre Kyoto


Dangerous pleasure that clings to the body blurs the line between reality and fiction

Niwa Gekidan Penino is led by Kuro Tanino, a former psychiatrist who won the 60th Kishida Kunio Drama Award. The company has made memorable appearances at Kyoto Experiment on two previous occasions with Box in the Big Trunk and Avidya: No Lights Inn, wowing audiences with remarkably original theatrical visions expressed through the extremely refined technique of the performers as well as elaborate and bold sets.

This play takes place in a meticulous recreation of a temple. We, the audience, are invited to enter inside, where we become caught up in the ritualistic performances that the actors enact. With its eight limbs, three hearts, and nine brains, the octopus is a truly bizarre life form that seems almost extraterrestrial. That creature here serves as a symbol of the space and rites. Sutras repeat and vary. Musical instruments are strummed. Inside the closed confines of this temple hall, the air fills up with smells and clammy heat. All our senses are triggered in sync with the actors’. Surrendering the body to musical pleasure, it is nearly impossible to escape from the dangerous immersion where any grasp of time is lost. As it becomes harder and harder to distinguish reality from fiction and we go into a kind of trance-like state, what is it that we then forget?


October 11 (Fri)19:30-
October 12 (Sat)14:00- / 19:00-
October 13 (Sun)13:00- ◎ / 18:00- *SOLD OUT
October 14 (Mon)15:00-
October 15 (Tue)19:30-

* Post-show Talk
Moderator: Yusuke Hashimoto (Kyoto Experiment Program Director)
Speakers: Kuro Tanino

◎ Childcare service available. Please contact the Kyoto Experiment Office for more information.
Duration: 100 min.


North Hall, ROHM Theatre Kyoto 13 Okazakisaishoji-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, 606-8342
-10 minutes’ walk from Higashiyama Station (Kyoto Municipal Subway Tozai Line).



Performed in Japanese with English surtitles.


No preschool age audiences.

Ticket Prices

Adult Advance ¥4,000 / Day ¥4,500
Youth, Students Advance ¥3,000 / Day ¥3,500
High School Students & Younger Advance and Day both ¥1,000
Pair ¥7,500 (Advance Only)

Youth Tickets: available for those aged 25 and under.


Day Tickets

Same day tickets will be available for each performance at the venue box office one hour before the performance starts.
The latest information on ticket availability will be updated below at 11:30am on the day of each performance. We also accept ticket availability inquiries by phone.
Ticket Center: 075-213-0820 (11:00-19:00).



Kuro Tanino


Born in 1976 in Toyama Prefecture, Kuro Tanino is the artistic director of Niwa Gekidan Penino as well as resident playwright and director. He was a Saison Foundation Senior Fellow until 2015. After launching Niwa Gekidan Penino while still a medical student in 2000, he has since written and directed all the company’s plays. He has received invitations to festivals around the world. He premiered Käfig aus Wasser in March 2015 in Germany, while Avidya: No Lights Inn won the Kishida Kunio Drama Award in 2016. Kita Nippon Shinbun Art Award in 2016, Cultural Affairs Agency Arts Festival Excellence Award in 2016 and Toyama Prize in Arts and Culture in 2019.

Niwa Gekidan Penino

Niwa Gekidan Penino was founded in January 2001 by members of a theater club at Showa University. It quickly established a reputation with its striking use of sets and space at outdoor performances or at Hakobune, a small theater built inside the director’s own apartment. The company has presented its work at major festivals in Japan on numerous occasions, including Festival/Tokyo 2009 Autumn, World Theatre Festival Shizuoka, and Kyoto Experiment. The company has also toured overseas, staging Frustrating Adult Picture Book in Berlin in 2009, followed by Zürich (Switzerland) and Groningen (the Netherlands) in 2010, when it was nominated for the prestigious ZKB Patronage Prize in Switzerland. The company won further acclaim during its five-city tour of the United States with The Room Nobody Knew in 2014. In 2015, Box in the Big Trunk was staged at Theater der Welt and Wiener Festwochen, earning five-star reviews from local critics. In 2016, the company embarked on a four-nation European tour with Avidya—The Dark Inn, once again receiving much acclaim. In 2018, it staged The Dark Master and Avidya—The Dark Inn as part of the official program for Japonismes 2018.


Playwright and Director
Kuro Tanino
Izuru Kinoshita, Momoi Shimada, Yuko Nagahama, Kanako Nishida, Bobumi Hidaka, Hayato Mori, Fuyuko Moriyama, Ikuma Yamada
Junichiro Tamaki, Yukiko Yamaguchi, Mario Yoshino
Stage design
Michiko Inada
Masayuki Abe (LICHT-ER)
Yu Okuda
Koji Sato (Sugar Sound)
Stage manager
Mitsuaki Adachi, Ayaka Yoshimura
Assistant Director
Yui Matsumoto
Max-Philip Aschenbrenner
Chika Onozuka
In co-operation with
Goethe-Institut Tokyo,Kyoto City Waterworks Bureau
Planning and Production by
Niwa Gekidan Penino
Supported by
The Agency for Cultural Affairs Government of Japan through the Japan Arts Council
Co-presented by
ROHM Theatre Kyoto (Kyoto City Music Art Cultural Promoting Foundation)
Presented by
Arche LLC., Kyoto Experiment