Yoshimoto Kogyo is casting a foreign woman in their comedy play called Shinkigeki, spelled 新喜劇, for the first time since Shinkigeki started in 1959. Yoshimoto is the major agency headquartered in Osaka and they primarily represent comedians, but they represent actors, actresses, athletes and intellectuals too.
With regards to the case of a foreign male, an American man, Jeff Jabori made his debut in the Shinkigeki play in September, 2017 at Yes Theater in Osaka (Sankei West). Jabori was born in 1974 and is from Colorado. He has been residing in Japan since 1999.
However, this is the first time for a foreign female to be on the stage of Shinkigeki. Her name is Bryerly Long. She was born in 1988 in Arlington, Virginia, US. She lived in many countries like Vietnam, Bosnia, France, the UK and Switzerland primarily due to her parents’ job. They worked in the field of international development. While moving from one country to another, one thing remained consistent in her life and that is theater performance. In all of the countries that she lived in, she took lessons like dance and ballet related to the stage. She had very positive experiences there, which led her to pursue a career in theater performance.
Regarding her interest in Japan, her grandfather, Bill, engaged in a reconstruction project for several months after WWII ended and had positive interactions with the Japanese people. In addition, her father’s best friend was a Japanese American and that made him interested in Japanese culture. Hearing their positive experiences of Japan from them as a child, she became interested in Japan. After graduating Oxford with a bachelor’s degree in Oriental studies in 2010, she joined Senendan, which is a contemporary theater company in Japan. She appeared in many plays that the company produced. In 2015, she starred in an independent movie, Sayonara, that portrayed a Japan that was contaminated with radiation due to the explosion of a nuclear power plant. She played a woman who was ill that was left behind with an android who took care of her, which made her first actress to co-star with an android. In 2016, she appeared in the 7th episode of a drama series, Kichijoji Dakega Sumitai Machidesuka (that translates to Is Kichijoji the only town that you want to live in?) and played a foreign woman who is looking for a new apartment to live in. Long will be appearing in as a supporting actress in the Shinkigeki comedy play and it will be performed at Lumine the Yoshimoto in Shinjuku from January 23rd to January 29th, 2018.