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Stage review: “Banana Flower Can Be Eaten” – A story of outliers struggling to change the future




Theater company Hanchu-Yuei’s award-winning play “Banana Flower Can Be Eaten”

“If I wasn’t hard, I wouldn’t be alive. If I couldn’t ever be gentle, I wouldn’t deserve to be alive.”

One of the quotes by Philip Marlowe, a detective in the fictional story of American novelist Raymond Chandler. But it’s difficult to be strong and gentle, and the world would be cruel if that’s the only way to stay alive. Is there no salvation there?

In “Banana Flower Can Be Eaten” (written and directed by Suguru Yamamoto), the main character Anazo’s rotten banana (nicknamed “Anachan”), who opens a detective agency because he admires Marlowe, is far from Marlowe. As declared at the beginning of the story, he is “33 years old, single, no girlfriend, no prospect of marriage in the near future, alcoholic, allergic to house dust, no pets, no friends, no contact with his parents, sneezes through a mask and it smells really bad inside, can’t get rid of a strange sour smell for a day, and enjoys using his imagination, or watching porno. Hobbies are using my imagination, or watching porno, and my job is a sole proprietorship, or a former con artist. He is an ex-convict. However, ANA-CHAN still tries to be a “scumbag who crawls on his knees to become a good person.

Stage photo of the first performance of “Banana Flower Can Be Eaten” (2021) by HANCHU YUEI

The Kishida Kunio Drama Award, also known as the Akutagawa Award in the theater world, has selected “Banana Flower Can Be Eaten” as its 66th award-winning play in 2022. The work is about Ana-chan.

Ana-chan (Yukiyoshi Nomoto)

The story begins when Ana-chan meets her eventual partner, Hyakusai Sakura through a dating app. Hyakusai pretends to be a woman to lure male users. Ana-chan, who immediately recognized the message from Hyakusai as “fishing” and sent him a sermon, and also took the liberty of naming her partner Hyakusai Sakura, however, charged him 10,000 yen, saying, “Here, have some delicious food with this. Hyakusai laughed and said, “You are a good sucker,” but then sent a message to Ana-chan saying, “Can we meet? I’m a guy,” he sends her a message.

Hyakusai Sakura (Fukuhara Kwan)

When they first met, they were not quite on the same page. However, they hit it off when they discovered they had a few things in common and decided to open a detective agency together. Then Rena-chan, a sex worker whom they met in the course of their investigation, joins them, and Mitsuo, Rena-chan’s ex-boyfriend who was involved in pimping and drug trafficking (but has lost his memory of it), and the group expands one by one.

Rena-chan (Sae Igami)
Mitsuo (Takahiro Hosoya)



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