Legends of the Bandit Princess – SAKURA and HANA

Written by Kikue Tashiro
Starring Kati Kuroda
Produced and Directed by Penny Bergman


hana ARTWORK 7-2015

Originally produced as THE BANDIT PRINCESS in 1979 and 1981, Kikue Tashiro’s play gives us a new folk heroine, Princess HANA (“flower’), the beautiful, independent daughter of the house of SAGA, abducted by the notorious bandit, Fujiura. Upon his death, HANA assumes his role, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor until the showdown back at the SAGA mansion.

The daughter of Hana and Chief Bandit Fujiura is Sakura (“cherry blossom”),  the heroine of the second play in the LEGENDS OF THE BANDIT PRINCESS.

Crossing dressing, mad scenes, modern/Kabuki dance, Japanese-inspired music and songs, inventive stage combat and a one woman cast of a dozen roles makes HANA, a wholy inventive theatrical experience.

1979 —  THE BANDIT PRINCESS premieres Off Broadway, produced by Time&Space Ltd. Theater.

1981 — University of Hawai’i – Manoa as Penny Bergman’s MFA Thesis Project.

1996 — New York Theater Workshop Reading of one-woman show adaptation.

1997 —  Equity Showcase presentation at Chelsea Playhouse/NYC, produced by La Luna Productions.



SAKURA, the second play in Kikue Tashiro’s LEGENDS OF THE BANDIT PRINCESS trilogy, again concentrates on innovative theatre forms fusing Japanese texts/stagecraft with Western theatre.

SAKURA was created as a one-woman show for actor Kati Kuroda.

SAKURA is the daughter of HANA and Chief Bandit Fujiura. Little Sakura, grows up in the countryside, protected from knowing her parentage by her guardian, Genta (Fujiura’s right hand man). When summoned to court in Kyoto, she sheds her tomboy ways to become a fierce, powerful young woman, fighting for the cause of justice.

SAKURA had its first inception in 1994 at the Circle Rep Lab/NYC and then continued on the Mainstage with Laurence Fishburne’s RIFF RAFF at Circle in the Square Downtown. The play toured to TheatreLab Houston, Muhlenberg College,  The Kennedy and Mamiya Theatres (Honolulu), Dallas International Theater Festival, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Chelsea Playhouse (NYC), University of Missouri and Washington University in St. Louis. SAKURA played to SRO houses at the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh Fringe Festival.


What the critics say about


*****Five Stars! *****  ” NO PRAISE can be too high … Kuroda has made her performance of this work, written by the late Kikue Tashiro, a classic of the American stage.”–The Scotsman


“A virtuoso turn … embroidering the poetry with Kabuki and Noh styles.”–New York’s Village Voice


“Kati Kuroda’s bravura rendition of Kikue Tashiro’s intriguing script makes Sakura one of the most original and exhilarating entries in the crowded field of solo drama.
Penny Bergman directs with zest and ingenuity.”–Houston Chronicle


“An incredible production and a brilliant performance.”–Honolulu Star Bulletin


“Amazing array of characters — Extraordinary solo turn.”–Dallas Morning News


“One-woman triumph — an acting tour de force.”–The Honolulu Advertiser


“Five Stars! *****  The real gem!”–Scotland on Sunday