This month a play about kamikaze pilots has been running at the El Portal Forum Theatre in Los Angeles, and has received outstanding reviews. Titled “Ten Thousand Years,” (presumably after 万歳), the play is by veteran Hollywood screenwriter John Ridley and looks at the everyday lives of members of the “Thunder Gods” squadron of ohka flying bomb pilots. They play’s objective is to portray the pilots as human beings with fears and doubts about their impending mission, rather than the stoic, brainwashed automatons so often found in Hollywood depictions.
Although I haven’t seen the play myself, my family watched it today, and they loved it. From what they say, it seems to be fairly historically accurate (at least in their judgment). LA Times Reviewer David Nichols also gave a rave review, declaring, “‘Ten Thousand Years’ could make a remarkable film someday, once its pertinent appeal has flown across the theatrical stratosphere.” (LAT, 2/11/05).
Hopefully this intriguing play will make its way to other parts of the country soon!
The play’s LA-area website is currently at www.10k.theatremania.com.