Satoko Ichihara

Madama Butterfly

Japan  / Switzerland

Satoko Ichihara is an exception in the Japanese theatre landscape. The young director and author – born in 1988 – insists on an explicit female perspective in her multiple award-winning adaptions of classic material.

For her latest production, co-developed with Neumarkt, she has reworked Puccini’s «Madama Butterfly»: A young Japanese geisha is married to an American officer. He impregnates her – and disappears soon after. Later, the geisha learns that he has married again and commits suicide. Premiered in 1904, the opera is based on a story by the American John Luther Long who in turn was inspired by the essays of Frenchman Pierre Loti. Before Puccini, the story had already been turned into a tragedy by the American David Belasco. The approach in the works of those four gentlemen is always the same: A Western man meets a young Japanese woman and the drama takes its course.

To Ichihara this is an orientalist fantasy on the exotic and the foreign. In her adaption, she turns the tables and tells the story from the perspective of the single mother. How does the geisha perceive what is exotic and foreign to her? And what are the difficulties for the «Hāfu», the generation of half-Japanese children? (am)

Artistic direction and cast

Text & RegieSatoko Ichihara
DramaturgieTine Milz
PerformanceKyōko Takenaka, Yan Balistoy, Sascha Ö. Soydan
Bühnenbild & KostümStefan Britze
VideoJuan Ferrari
ÜbersetzungAya Ogawa
ProduktionsleitungStéphane Noël (Materialise) im Auftrag von Neumarkt (Zürich), Makiko Yamazato für Q Theatre Company (Tokyo), Theater Commons Tokyo
FotoZTS/Christian Altorfer


ProduktionNeumarkt (Zürich)
KoproduktionQ Theatre Company (Tokyo), Theater Commons Tokyo, Zürcher Theater Spektakel
UnterstützungKinosaki International Arts Center (Toyooka), Arts Council Tokyo / Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture
RahmenförderungSatoko Ichihara wird unterstützt durch The Saison Foundation (Tokyo)

Rote Fabrik, Fabriktheater

Site map

Theatre, anti-orientalist change of perspective

Premiere, co-production


approx. 1:30 hrs.


Japanese, English



An inclusive event

accessible with wheelchair with subtitle

Safety Concept

For this event, a COVID certificate is necessary. Please present your ID or passport along with your COVID certificate at the entrance. There is also an obligation to wear masks. See here for more information about your visit to the Theater Spektakel

Post-performance talk

Fri 3 September


An event in collaboration with IG Rote Fabrik


shows from today
  • Th 02.09. 20:00 - 21:30 CHF 35.–/15.– 
  • Fr 03.09. 20:00 - 21:30 CHF 35.–/15.– 
  • Sa 04.09. 20:00 - 21:30 CHF 35.–/15.–