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PORO OYNA: The Myth of the Aynu
Southside Theater / Fort Mason Center
San Francisco, CA
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PORO OYNA: The Myth of the Aynu
ShadowLight Productions in partnership with Fort Mason Center Presents:

PORO OYNA: The Myth of the Aynu, a new multidisciplinary shadow theatre work bringing the mythology of the Aynu (also commonly spelled as "Ainu") tribe of Hokkaido, Japan, to life on stage, illuminating the power of this little known indigenous culture from the past and present.  The Great Story ("Poro Oyna") is an Aynu creation myth that evolves around the legend of Aynu Rakkur, who is a god who "looks and smells like a human."  He is considered to be the progenitor of human beings ("aynu") and most powerful of all gods in the Aynu mythological world.  

PORO OYNA: The Myth of the Aynu tells an episode from this legend where Aynu Rakkur rescues the Sun Goddess from the evil Monster, restoring the order in the land of humans.  The story is adapted by Tetsuro Koyano, a multidisciplinary performer/shadow artist in Tokyo, and OKI, an Aynu culture bearer and musician specializing in the traditional string instrument tonkori.  OKI also served as Art Director and created the original soundtrack interweaving modern renditions of traditional Aynu songs.  PORO OYNA is directed by shadow master Larry Reed whose hallmark shadow casting method combines the Balinese Traditional shadow theatre aesthetic, the scale of film, and the immediacy of live performance. Performed using a cinema size screen, PORO OYNA will utilize silhouettes of puppets, masked-actors, and cutout sets. The play will also feature shadow design by Kawamura Koheisai and live performances by OKI and Marewrew, a 4-woman chorus group specializing traditional Aynu songs, and Urotsutenoyako Bayangans, a shadow theatre company based in Tokyo. PORO OYNA will be performed in Japanese and Aynu with English narration.

The Aynu (also spelled as "Ainu") are indigenous people of Northern Japan and Russia, whose culture dates back to 1,200 BC.  They were a society of hunter-gatherers and had profound insights into local lands, plants, animals, and ecosystems, which were encoded in their language, rituals and beliefs. After centuries of oppression, displacement, discrimination, and systematic assimilation, the Aynu were officially recognized as "indigenous to Japan" by the Japanese Diet in 2008; however, their history, language and cultural heritage are still largely unknown to the rest of Japan and the world. Ainu language, which has no written form and less than 15 native speakers alive, has been designated as a critically endangered language by UNESCO.

The West Coast premiere performances of PORO OYNA: THE MYTH OF THE ANYU are made possible by the funds from: National Endowment for the Arts; The Japan Foundation through the Performing Arts Japan program; The MAP Fund, a program of Creative Capital supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Zellerbach Family Foundation; and Fort Mason Center.

The development of PORO OYNA over the past two years was made possible by  funds from: The Saison Foundation; The Asahi Beer Arts Foundation; Asian Cultural Council; The Japan Foundation through the Performing Arts Japan program; and The MAP Fund, a program of Creative Capital supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  

For more information, please visit: http://www.shadowlightaynuproject.org

TICKETS: $15 - 35
- Senior & Student $15 discount tickets available at the box office (on sale one hour prior to show - limited availability)
- Groups (10 & more) discounts available (Call 415-648-4461)
- Show appropriate for ages 8 and up.  
- Discount tickets available for children under the age of 18


Southside Theater / Fort Mason Center (View)
Laguna and Marina (Building D)
San Francisco, CA 94123
United States


Arts > Performance
Arts > Theatre

Kid Friendly: Yes!
Dog Friendly: No
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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