Earlier this year, a play adaptation of Spirited Away proved that Hayao Miyazaki's storytelling can be translated for the stage. Now another classic animated feature from the Japanese director is getting the theater treatment. As Deadline reports, The Royal Shakespeare Company is putting together a stage production of My Neighbor Totoro featuring puppets from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.
The original movie from 1988 features creatures that are tailor-made for Studio Ghibli's fantastical animation style. By bringing these characters to a physical stage, The Royal Shakespeare Company has embarked on one of its most ambitious projects ever.
Jim Henson’s Creature Shop in Los Angeles has already begun work on the larger-than-life beasts, which include the Catbus and Totoro himself. The shop's creative supervisor, Peter Brooke, said in a statement: ”Whether an audience member is a longtime fan of this iconic story, or new to Miyazaki’s fantastical world, they will be simply amazed when they see these magical creatures live on stage in a whole new way in My [Neighbor] Totoro.” Notably, the show's director, Phelim McDermott, wouldn't reveal to Deadline how the Catbus will actually fly on stage, claiming, "It’s theater magic."
My Neighbor Totoro will be staged at the Barbican Theatre in London from October 8 through January 21, 2023. Tickets are currently on sale through the theater's website. Even if you can't make it to the UK to catch the production, the original animated film still holds up more than three decades after its release.