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Sputnik Sweetheart Stage Play Details

Date: 2023 September 12 16:55

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We've just received news from Arcola Theatre and the Japan Foundation who are presenting Sputnik Sweetheart. Based on Murakami's novel it tells the story of love and loneliness, with a detective story thrown in. Sputnik Sweetheart is about Sumire, a young Japanese writer who can't find the words to write, and her friend K's search for her when she goes missing on a Greek Island.

It's been adapted for the stage by Tony Award nominee Bryony Lavery and Tony and Olivier Award nominee Melly Still, running at Arcola Theatre in London from Thursday 26th October until Saturday 25th November 2023.

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Press release as follows:

Sputnik Sweetheart Stage Play

12 September 2023

Arcola Theatre in partnership with the Japan Foundation presents:
Sputnik Sweetheart

Murakami's much-loved novel about pining for the person you want and the person you want to be
Adapted by Bryony Lavery | Directed by Melly Still
Arcola Theatre 26 October - 25 November

"extremely well done" ★★★★ Guardian (on The Lovely Bones, adapted by Bryony Lavery and directed by Melly Still)

@arcolatheatre |

Partly a story of love and loneliness, partly a detective story, Murakami's novel is brought to stage by Tony Award nominee Bryony Lavery (Frozen, The Book of Dust) and Tony and Olivier Award nominee Melly Still (My Brilliant Friend, Coram Boy). Following their partnership on The Lovely Bones, Lavery and Still join forces once again on the story of Sumire, a young Japanese writer who can't find the words to write, who styles herself on Jack Kerouac and who falls head-over-heels in love with Miu, 17 years her senior. But when Sumire goes missing on a Greek Island, her best friend K's search for her unearths more questions than answers. Sputnik Sweetheart journeys through Tokyo, Italy, Switzerland, Greece, and an intangible space of shifting realities. Murakami's story is about doing whatever it takes to overcome loneliness and rest in certainty.

Director Melly Still said "Sumire discovers that her struggle to become a writer occupies the same space as the one that consumes her heart. The characters lose themselves in love and become shadows in the face of desire. The sense of longing, like a sputnik, never lands. Trying to work out a Murakami story, we find ourselves dwelling in that same floating space: to problem solve we have to use our imaginations, something unique to humans, unmatched by AI."

Arcola Theatre's Artistic Director, Mehmet Ergen said: "We're thrilled to be producing Haruki Murakami's Sputnik Sweetheart in the first ever major stage adaptation of his much-loved novel. We couldn't be more fortunate to have Bryony Lavery and Melly Still joining forces to bring this play from page to stage, along with an incredible team of creatives working with them to bring the show to life. Think detective mystery turned soul searching quest for love, with a sprinkling of the magical realism we all know and love Murakami for."

Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami was first published in Japan in 1999 and the English translation in 2001.

Bryony Lavery is a writer best known for her TMA Best Play Award winning and four-time Tony nominated play Frozen, and more recently Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage at The Bridge Theatre. Other plays include Stockholm and Beautiful Burnout with Frantic Assembly, The Midnight Gang (Chichester Festival Theatre), Brighton Rock (Pilot Theatre) and The Lovely Bones with Melly Still (Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse).

Melly Still has worked as a director, choreographer, designer and writer. Her directing work includes Coram Boy, Revengers' Tragedy, My Brilliant Friend (National Theatre), Robin Hood (Regent's Park Open Air Theatre), The Wreckers, Rusalka (Glyndebourne Festival), Lovely Bones and Captain Corelli's Mandolin (UK Tour and Harold Pinter Theatre).

Arcola Theatre produces daring, high-quality theatre in the heart of East London and beyond. They commission and premiere exciting, original works alongside rare gems of world drama and bold new productions of classics. Their socially engaged, international programme champions diversity, challenges the status quo, and attracts over 65,000 people to their building each year. Their ticket prices are some of the most affordable in London. Arcola has won awards including the UK Theatre Award for Promotion of Diversity, The Stage Award for Sustainability and the Peter Brook Empty Space Award.

Running Time: 80 mins (no interval) | Suitable for ages 14+

Company information
Based on the book by Haruki Murakami
Director Melly Still
Designer Shizuka Hariu
Animation Sonoko Obuchi
Adaptation Bryony Lavery
Lighting designer Malcom Rippeth
Sound Designer/Composer Oto Tatsujiro<


Listings information
26 October - 25 November 2023
Arcola Theatre, 24 Ashwin Street, London E8 3DL

Previews 26 - 28 October

Mon - Sat, 7.30pm, Sat matinee 3.30pm
Previews £25 - £10 | Standard £30 - £12 and PWYC on Tuesdays | 020 75031646

Social media
Twitter: @arcolatheatre
Instagram @arcolatheatre
TikTok @ArcolaTheatre1

Supported by The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation

Source: Arcola Theatre
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