I Am Nakamura

Tokyo/New York City, late 1990s. A burnt-out literary wunderkind sits in a Japanese bar. The bartender shares an empathetic ear - then slides his own manuscript over. Back in New York, the novelist has his friend translate the text, marveling at its "weirdness," then hatches a plot to write his own "translation" under a Japanese pseudonym ...



Ma-Yi Theater, New York, NY
May 19, 2012



Robert Ross Parker




2M / 2F


The simple pitch is pretty much "What if Dave Eggers, flush from the success of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, took a trip to Tokyo and was inspired to 'create' the works of Haruki Murakami?

The first inspiration for this play was the sheer number of American readers who claimed Murakami as one of their favorite authors, but have yet to read him in the original Japanese. A native speaker told me he found one of the translations of Murakami's novels to be quite different than the original. My question is, what if Murakami was a terrible writer, and that Americans were just taken in because of the status we give to "weird Japan"? 

The second inspiration was Dave Eggers, who at the time was garnering acclaim for What Is the What? and Zeitoun. I thought it would be funny of a fictionalized Dave was arrogant enough to think he could turn a profit from anybody's story, regardless of where they came from.