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‘Kaidan Project’ Brings Ancient Japanese Ghost Stories to Light

East West Players and Rogue Artists Ensemble announce the world premiere of Rogue Artist Ensemble’s “Kaidan Project: Walls Grow Thin” — produced in association with EWP — an immersive theatrical experience inspired by Japanese ghost stories.

Directed by Rogue’s artistic director, Sean T. Cawelti, and written by Lisa Dring and Chelsea Sutton, “Kaidan Project” begins performances at a secret, Mid-City six-story warehouse built in 1927 (address revealed after tickets are purchased) on Oct. 5 and runs until Nov. 5, with opening night on Oct. 13.

You receive a letter from your childhood friend who is haunted by a mysterious event in your shared past — and she needs your help. When you arrive at her family’s warehouse, you ascend to the fifth and sixth floors in a creaking freight elevator, followed by a voice that calls out through the shadows, drowning you in echoes of wells and engines and graveyards, in tangles of hair and snow, in sharp reflections of your darkest moments — a voice that may not be human.

A small group of 12 enters a room alone, the walls begin to thin, and a dark spirit stirs within you — will you ever escape it? An immersive experience in 10,000 square feet of warehouse space, “Kaidan Project” features masked and unmasked actors, highly expressive physical performance, interactive sets, multiple puppetry traditions, projected media, sophisticated special effects and illusions.

It is not recommended for audience members that are not comfortable with walking, ducking, navigating small spaces, standing for periods of time, loud noises, moments of complete darkness, or being alone. Because of its nature, the show is not wheelchair-accessible, and audience members must be able to navigate stairs on their own. However, Rogue Artists Ensemble will be offering special modified matinee performances that are wheelchair-accessible.

EWP Producing Artistic Director Snehal Desai says, “East West Players is thrilled to partner with Rogue Artists Ensemble on such an innovative theatrical experience inspired by Japanese ghost stories. Fans of contemporary Japanese horror will be thrilled with this modern, immersive take on kaidan, which originates from Japanese folklore and mysterious tales featuring vengeful ghosts. I love the spectacle of Rogue Artists Ensembles’ productions, where puppets and masks loom larger than life. Expect to be fully transported to a world with ancient ghosts that emerge from the shadows and come alive.”

Cawelti adds, “‘Kaidan Project: Walls Grow Thin’ has been many years in development, and co-producing with East West Players is an exciting partnership with the nation’s premier Asian American theatre organization that, like the Rogues, is dedicated to the nurturing of original work and boundary-pushing stories. It will not be for the faint of heart.”

“Kaidan Project” stars Kamran Abbassian, Dawn Anderson, Yiouli Archontaki, Tyler Bremmer, Tom Dang, Lara Thomas Ducey, Eric Fagundes, Julia Garcia Combs, McCristol Harris, Heidi Hilliker, Steve Jun, Tane Kawasaki, Joleen Kim, Amir Levi, Thomas Isao Morinaka, Jasmine Orpilla, Ricky Pak, Robert Paterno, Sarah Kay Peters, Jonathan Reich, Anthony Rutowicz, Miles Taber, Randi Tahara, Paul Turbiak, Kiki Yeung, and Reggie Yip.

The creative team includes Adrien Prévost (music composer), Keith Mitchell (scenic designer), Karyn Lawrence (lighting designer), Lori Meeker (costume designer), Matthew Hill (video designer), Steve Swift and Gilly Moon (sound designers), Glenn Michael Baker (props designer), and Cawelti, Jack Pullman and Brian White (puppet and mask designers).

EWP, the nation’s longest-running professional theater of color and the largest producing organization of Asian American artistic work, was founded in 1965, at a time when Asian Pacific Islanders faced limited or no opportunities to see their experiences reflected outside of stereotypical and demeaning caricatures in the American landscape. EWP not only ensures that API stories are told, but works to increase access, inclusion, and representation in the economy.

Founded in 2001, Rogue Artists Ensemble is an award-winning collective of multi-disciplinary artists and designers. By combining ancient storytelling techniques (music, dance, masks, puppetry) with modern technology (digital media, special effects, and theatrical illusions), the Rogues cultivate a unique style of live performance they call Hyper-theater.

EWP is proud to include “Kaidan Project: Walls Grow Thin” as a special event that is part of The Company We Keep, a 52nd Anniversary Season, which focuses on artistic and community partnerships.

Generous support for this production is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts; Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation; City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department; Los Angeles County Arts Commission; City of West Hollywood Arts Commission; The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles; Japanese Garden in Van Nuys; the Jim Henson Foundation; United Neighborhoods Neighborhood Council; and Macy’s.

Rogue Artists Ensemble will also be hosting community puppetry and mask workshops and behind-the-scenes talk-backs (limited tickets).

Performances take place Oct. 13 through Nov. 5 on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, with up to six performance times per evening every 20 minutes beginning at 7:30 p.m. There will be added matinee performances on Saturday, Oct. 21; Saturday, Oct. 28; and Saturday, Nov. 4, with four performances starting at 2 p.m., with the 2 p.m. performance being modified for guests with mobility concerns. Previews take place on Thursday, Oct. 5; Friday, Oct. 6; Saturday, Oct. 7; and Thursday, Oct. 12.

General admission ticket prices range from $65 to $75; opening night ticket prices start at $125. Preview ticket prices are $50. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to

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