-Courtesy of Bryan Buttler Media Relations, LLC
Tiny Dynamite’s upcoming production of Julia Izumi’s Meet Murasaki Shikibu Followed by Book Signing, and Other Things, a play that is, in part, about the struggles of indie and used bookstores, was originally planned for a 2021 staging at the Penn Book Center. The store sadly closed during the pandemic, along with dozens of other independent bookstores in the region. Now Tiny Dynamite is planning to lead the charge to “Save Our Bookstores” as they prepare to present the Philadelphia premiere of Izumi’s work from June 7 through June 18, 2023 at the Louis Bluver Theater at the Drake.
First presented at the 2016 New York International Fringe Festival, Tiny Dynamite’s new staging of Meet Murasaki Shikibu Followed by Book Signing, and Other Things, directed by Cat Ramirez and featuring Kimie Muroya, Lexi Thammavong, and Makoto Hirano, welcomes theatergoers to meet Japanese author Murasaki Shikibu as she kicks off the book launch of her novel The Tale of Genji, one of the first novels ever written. Like, in the whole world. Granted, it is over 1,000 years late, but Lady Murasaki is ready to make up for lost time. The production is a playful, explosive examination about rediscovered cultural identity and the uncomfortable heat of the American melting pot.
Meet Murasaki Shikibu Followed by Book Signing, and Other Things is also a love letter to independent and used bookstores. In Philadelphia, popular indie and smaller booksellers Joseph Fox Bookshop, Shakespeare & Co., Penn Book Center, and others have closed over the last several years. Tiny Dynamite wants to buck this trend by launching a “Save Our Bookstores” campaign. Throughout the run of the show, the company will transform the theater lobby into an informative celebration of local independent booksellers so audience members can patronize and learn about the incredible stores in the community. Additionally, Tiny Dynamite will highlight these special establishments in their weekly e-blasts.
The show also calls for an extremely rare men’s kimono, from the historic Heian era of Japan. Costume designer Asaki Kuruma—who emigrated to Philly from Japan—came up with a wildly creative solution that also involves paper. Kuruma will lead the Tiny Dynamite staff in constructing the garment out of painted washi paper. This one-of-a-kind costume piece will serve as a centerpiece of the show.
Meet Murasaki Shikibu Followed by Book Signing, and Other Things plays at the Louis Bluver Theater at the Drake. Tickets are $25 and include the show, a beverage, and a snack. The Bluver Theatre at the Drake offers wheelchair accessibility, an ADA-compliant restroom, and an improved HVAC system that well exceeds recommended guidelines in air exchange cycles and filtration. Please let the theatre know in the provided space when purchasing tickets if you are in need of accessible seating. More information at tinydynamite.org.