Picture Credit: Rosalynn | Official Chirashi
English Title: Flying Sapa
Japanese Title: FLYING SAPA －フライング サパ－
Performances: Umeda Arts Theater, 08/1 - 08/11; Nissay Theater, 09/06 - 09/15
Author / Director: Ueda Kumiko
Composer: Miyake Jun
Available on DVD: No
Available on Blu-Ray: Yes (release date 10/28/20)
DVD Scene/Music Cuts: No
|Madam Curie||Kyou Misa|
|Supreme Leader 01||Natori Rei|
|Newscaster 777 / Tamara||Setohana Mari|
|Spokesperson 101||Shidou Ryuu|
|Taoka / Soldier 30070 / General 30071||Rui Makise|
|Pellerman / Minister of Science 18||Rukaze Hikaru|
|Reporter 8324 / Anna||Amase Hatsuhi|
|Lala Salama||Aria Kii|
Other Cast: Mai Kokoro, Yamabuki Hibari, Sendou Naru
WARNING!! CONTAINS SPOILERS!!
Depiction of sexual assault
Sometime in the future, a group of humans has escaped a war-torn Earth and traveled to Mercury. Approximately 30,000 humans live on the planet, renamed Polunka, which has an unusual day-night cycle. There is darkness for 88 Earth days, and then sunlight for 88 days. The inhabitants of Polunka artificially track "morning" and "evening" as a 24-hour Earth day, even though the long night lasts for 2,112 hours.
A soldier, Number 30011 (Makaze Suzuho), is seen arresting a number of people for thought-crimes. All of the citizens of Polunka are assigned number codes, and wear wrist monitors that upload data from their minds and bodies to a database overseen by the Supreme Leader 01 (Natori Rei). His soldiers preemptively arrest people when they are considering committing crimes. One of the people that 30011 arrests is a dangerous man named Taoka (Rui Makise) who plans to obtain illegal weapons and murder multiple people. The other perpetrators have their minds modified or go to rehabilitation camps, but the would-be murderer has his memories wiped and is "reborn" as a soldier. This man, formerly Number 9033, is shown an automated message from Spokesperson 101 (Shidou Ryuu), greeting him as if it is his first day on the planet. He has been assigned Number 30070. The Spokesperson explains that the citizens of Polunka have cast off their differences – everyone speaks the "Polunkan" language, and there are no cultural differences in their society.
Number 30011 sleeps for the 43rd – no, 46th – time in this night cycle, and dreams of a young woman in a bed. She says her number is 02 (Hoshikaze Madoka), and he witnesses her breaking her wrist monitor. When he awakes, he is with Supporter Tarkoff (Kotobuki Tsukasa), and the new soldier has been delivered to them. Tarkoff says that it is hard to call people by their numbers, so 30011 goes by the nickname Obak. Obak suggests the name Happy for the new soldier, while remarking sardonically that he doesn’t know what it means in “Earth language". Tarkoff further explains that a Supporter in charge of watching over the soldiers, who always come to him with their memories wiped. However, as a civil servant he has been allowed to keep his memories of Earth and his 50-odd years of life. Obak has been in his care for four years, and as a new soldier today is Happy’s “birthday”. Obak and Happy have both received the same dream of the young woman breaking her monitor. It is their assignment to stop her before she harms herself.
First, however, Obak insists that they follow the routine of drinking coffee and watching the "morning" news. Newscaster 777 (Setohana Mari) states that today is the 15th anniversary (in Earth years) since the citizens of the planet rejected their differences and became one harmonious Polunkan people. There is also an announcement from Supreme Leader 01 – as he is growing old, it is time to set up a successor to the position of Supreme Leader. His daughter will take over the position starting tomorrow morning.
Tarkoff, Obak, and Happy arrive at 02's residence. As they try to arrest her, she pulls out two guns and stuns Happy. Tarkoff and Obak discover that they cannot shoot her with their stun guns. The woman explains that the people with number codes 01 and 02 – the Supreme Leader and his daughter – have special settings on their wrist monitors and cannot be harmed by the soldiers' weapons. She demands that Tarkoff and Obak take her to Sapa Crater. More soldiers rush in, but Obak shoots them and the three escape. Tarkoff tries to dissuade her, saying that the stories of Sapa are just superstition and myths. However, they continue on until they run into issues close to the crater. They lose power in their vehicle and crash.
Meanwhile, Number 30070 has been taken back to headquarters and is reprogrammed as a general with a special mission. He is given the number “30071” and is greeted once again by the automated message from Spokesperson 101.
At the Panopticon, Number 18, the Minister of Science (Rukaze Hikaru), requests an audience with the Supreme Leader. He is concerned as to why his fiancée, 02, would want to go to Sapa Crater, and how their instruments failed to predict that she would try to escape. Although 18 can speak or think from anywhere and his request will reach the Supreme Leader, 01 invites the Minister personally to his home. He remarks that it will be the first time in 10 years that they will see each other face-to-face.
Obak, Tarkoff, and 02 are stuck in the crater with no vehicle and no sense of direction, as their GPS as well as their wrist monitors are disconnected from the network and no longer function. Tarkoff comments that they need to give 02 a nickname. Obak suggests "Lucky". but 02 dislikes this and tells them to call her Milena.
They are soon set upon by bandits who have old-fashioned guns that use bullets. They demand all of the newcomers' belongings and clothing, and intend to take Milena with them. Obak moves as though on autopilot – quickly breaking free, grabbing one of the bandits' guns, and killing all three of their assailants. In no time another group of people arrive and begin scavenging from the bodies. One of them introduces himself as Ziping (Yuuki Shion), and asks if the newcomers are pilgrims or criminals, as those are the only two kinds of people who come to Sapa Crater. The three are unsure how to answer, but Ziping says he will bring them to the nearby underground hotel – whether they are pilgrims, criminals, or whatever else.
As they arrive at the hotel the owner, Madame Curie (Kyou Misa), is breaking up a fight between two gamblers, Pamplemousse (Haruse Ouki) and Akbar (Setsuki Renya). Ziping introduces the newcomers, and they also meet Teudah (Matsukaze Akira) and her son Kipur (Kanna Himari). Tarkoff hears her singing to her son in a foreign language and asks if she is Jewish, as he recognizes the lullaby. He reveals that he is from Jerusalem, but is also an old movie buff, and gave himself the name Tarkoff after the filmmaker Tarkovsky. He wonders why Kipur is in a wheelchair, as the medical science on Polunka should be able to cure him of any illness. Teudah explains that despite numerous tests, doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with him. Thus they have come to Sapa, as there is a legend that if you go to the center of the crater you can have your dearest wish fulfilled.
Days pass, and weeks pass. Obak goes to sleep for the 60th time in the 88-day cycle. Untethered from the network, he dreams of people that perhaps he used to know, in another life…
Meanwhile, Milena has been sleeping her way through many of the men in the hotel. Obak helps her fend off Grieb (Wakato Ritsu) whose advances she refuses, as she still has her own preferences. Obak remarks that if she’s going to sleep with all the men she may as well get money from them. Instead, she tries hitting on Noah (Serika Toa), the unlicensed doctor at the hotel. Noah turns her down and she moves on to the next man, while Obak asks the doctor if she has some kind of mental illness that is making her act this way. Noah says that without scientific tools or memory uploads they’ll have to get to know her the old-fashioned way – by talking to her.
Yelena (Yumeshiro Aya) enters and comments that Noah should have slept with Milena to get information out of her. Noah ignores this remark and introduces her to Obak. Of the two options – pilgrim or criminal – Obak theorizes that she must be a criminal. Affronted, Yelena tells him that she is a counter-culture journalist and revolutionary, intent on killing the Supreme Leader and his successor. Obak notes that as a soldier of the Supreme Leader, that makes them enemies. As he walks away Yelena pulls out a gun and tries to shoot him, but Noah catches her hand and the bullet goes into the ceiling instead. With Obak already out of the room, Noah asks Yelena why she would want to shoot the man she once loved. She says it’s because she loves him – she is sure that the Sascha Lopatkin she knew would rather die than be a puppet for the Supreme Leader and betray his friends. However, Noah urges her to wait – they must be able to get information out of Milena, and possibly return Sascha’s memories.
Later, at the bar, Grieb comes up to Milena again and calls her by her full name – Milena Bukovich. He reveals that he used to work in her father’s research lab, until he fell out of favor with Bukovich (the Supreme Leader) and came to Sapa to hide out. He tells her to leave her room unlocked for him, or else he will tell everyone that she is the Supreme Leader’s daughter.
That night, Obak sleeps with Yelena, and realizes that she knows him from his past – this isn’t the first time they’ve slept together. Before she can tell him more, they hear a gunshot and rush to Milena’s room. They find her hyperventilating with the dead body of Grieb in her bed. She insists that she locked the door, but somehow he got in while she was sleeping. More people come to see what the disturbance is about, and Noah tries to help her calm down. Madame Curie muses that she must be in shock from killing someone for the first time, but Milena says that this is familiar – dead bodies, and the scent of blood. Noah assures her that he is a psychiatrist, and if she tells him everything, he can help her work through her trauma. But Milena does not want to tell them, saying her head feels like it’s going to split apart. Yelena also tries to shake the information out of her and demands she tell them her memories from Earth, but Obak pushes her away, reassuring Milena that she doesn’t have to tell them anything or remember anything.
Milena recalls: “All I remember is that last scene… A terrible smell… The smell of gunpowder and burnt flesh. I’m going to die… Someone puts a shining device to the side of my head. A warm device… Then he starts to leave… He turns his back to me and gets further and further away. Wait! Don’t leave me! I run after him and cling to his legs. He looks down at me – an unfamiliar face with stone-cold eyes. I follow him… We head toward the ship, the refugee ship heading to Mercury…”
In her memory, a soldier asks the man his name and occupation. He says his name is Milenko Bukovich, a scientist, and the girl is his daughter Milena. But somehow Milena knows that is not her real name.
Yelena shakes her out of her reverie and demands to know why Bukovich erased her memory, and who she was before that. The other hotel patrons realize that she is the Supreme Leader’s daughter and successor, and start to protest. Tarkoff and Madame Curie force them all out of the room, while Noah gives Milena a sedative to help her sleep. Teudah stays and sings her a lullaby, and she begins to drift off in Obak’s lap. Milena asks Obak to stay with her while she sleeps. She murmurs. “Don’t leave me like you did before… Sascha…”
Obak wonders aloud who she is, and if he is ‘Sascha’. She must have known him in his past…
In another part of the hotel, Noah and Yelena determine that tonight’s events indicate that Obak/Sascha is not a spy. Yelena wants to bring him back into their resistance group.
Meanwhile, in the Supreme Leader’s bunker, Pellerman (Number 18, Minister of Science) asks Bukovich (the Supreme Leader) to lend him some soldiers so that he may bring Milena home…
Milena dreams of Sascha before he lost his memories – back when they were still on the refugee ship, a year before they reached Mercury. In this flashback, Dr. Bukovich is a younger man (Homare Seri) working with Dr. Lopatkin (Hoshizuki Rio) and Dr. Pellerman to create a breathable substance that will provide both oxygen and nutrients to humans. Similar to the photosynthesis of plants, this gas will enable them to live and breathe on Mercury without even needing to eat.
After Milena responds well to a dose of the gas, the team of scientists consider this a success. Bukovich asks Lopatkin for his research notes on human memories. Lopatkin is adamantly against uploading people’s memories to a database. Although Bukovich claims that it is to preserve the culture of Earth, Lopatkin insists that it is only for medically necessary circumstances and could be misused by lawmakers.
As the two are staring each other down, Sascha and Yelena enter with Sascha's mother Anna (Amase Hatsuhi) and Tamara Maslany (Setohana Mari), a science journalist. Tamara is excited to meet Dr. Bukovich and Dr. Lopatkin, Sascha’s father, and talk to them about their research. In the background Milena plays with Yelena until Bukovich yells at them to be quiet in his lab.
Still dreaming, Milena wishes she could apologize to Yelena, who has changed so much since their time on the ship… She must still be angry, as it was Bukovich who killed her mother as well as Sascha’s parents…
Meanwhile, Noah and Obak are awake – Noah is also explaining what happened in the past, when they all still knew him as Sascha. Bukovich used his science to control people, and Sascha opposed him as the leader of the resistance. But four years ago he led a mission to rescue their fellow freedom fighters and was captured. His memory was wiped and the Supreme Leader cruelly used him as an elite soldier to hunt down resistance members.
Obak tries to express to Noah what a difficult and painful feeling it is to know that his parents were murdered, but to feel nothing – it’s as though he’s hearing a story about someone else’s life. He refuses to be called Sascha; that man isn’t him. Yelena joins them and tries to bring Obak’s memories back with a kiss, to no avail.
In Milena’s room, Teudah is fixing Milena’s clothing. She tries to convince Milena that her father probably misses her, but Milena retorts that he hasn’t seen her in 10 years and probably isn’t her real father. She doesn’t know what he is to her – why he erased her memory, and what he might have done to her real family. Teudah invites Milena to come to the center of the crater with her and her son. She wants to wish for the cure for Kipur’s condition, and she’s certain that Milena’s wish can be fulfilled as well, whatever that might be.
Ziping comes to warn Obak, Noah and Yelena that the other hotel guests are planning to kill Milena. Tarkhoff argues that Milena is her own person and doesn’t have the same beliefs as her father, but the others are still worried about the repercussions of her staying at the hotel. Noah adds that even if they killed her, the Supreme Leader would just select another successor. They need to bring down the entire system and set up a new government.
Teudah enters with Milena and tells Madame Curie that they are ready to check out. They will be going to the center of the crater – Milena wants to regain her memories and know her true self. The hotel patrons try to convince them that the stories of wishes coming true are just a fairy tale. However, Ziping comments that there are rumors of the government hiding something at the center of Sapa. That’s why the crater is so dangerous, to discourage people from trying to get to it. With the information he learned from Noah, Obak theorizes that it may hold the database of everyone’s memories. They receive word that soldiers have been seen entering the crater, and Obak says they can’t waste any more time at the hotel. They must all go to the center and find what’s there – whether it’s a god who grants wishes, or just a database of people’s memories.
Meanwhile, the Spokesperson and Reporter 777 present propaganda to the general public. Reporter 8324 is shown outside Sapa Crater, which they claim is uninhabitable and very dangerous. Several soldiers led by General 30071 are entering the crater for a “training exercise”, but they reinforce to their viewers that only soldiers are allowed entry and to stay away from Sapa.
All the guests from the hotel make the difficult journey to the center of the crater. Eventually they settle down to camp, and Noah sings them a lullaby. Milena tries to make conversation with Obak and gives him a necklace. It has a piece of a meteorite that she received from his father. Obak does a magic trick, making the necklace disappear from his hand and reappear in the back of her hood. Milena tries to imitate the trick with no success and throws it back to Obak. The two of them toss the necklace back and forth for a bit, then sit down to talk again. She asks if he wants to hear about his parents, but Obak is uninterested. Milena presses her forehead to his, saying she wishes she could beam the memories into his mind.
Yelena dreams of their time aboard the refugee ship. Dr. Lopatkin gives Milena a meteorite from Mercury, which they have been using for research as they make their way toward the planet. He tells Milena to look forward to all of the adventures she will have in the new world. Then, time moves ahead – as they are close to reaching Mercury, Bukovich demands Lopatkin’s memory research once more. Lopatkin refuses again, and Tamara warns Bukovich that if he tries to go through with this she will tell the rest of the ship’s passengers his plans. Yelena covers her ears as three gunshots ring out.
She lurches out of bed in the present. Noah has been tending to her as she briefly lost consciousness. As they prepare to head out again, two soldiers appear out of the darkness. They claim that they are wounded and their weapons are empty, and beg for help. Noah goes to get medicine for them, and when his back is turned Yelena shoots both of the soldiers. He shouts at Yelena that that wasn’t necessary, and tries to remind her that they are fighting for a better future for their society. Yelena responds that all she has is the past – she’s not dedicated to this cause to bring others happiness or even find her own happiness, she only wants revenge. She tells Noah to give up on his lofty ideals of morality and justice, and storms off.
In the Supreme Leader’s secret bunker, 01/Bukovich and 18/Pellerman wait for their soldiers to capture Milena and bring her home. The motley crew from the hotel has been separated as they fight off the Supreme Leader’s forces. General 30071 rounds up Tarkoff, Teudah, Kipur, Talla, Kiran, and Madame Curie. Tarkoff is quick to surrender, but 30071 says it’s too much of a hassle to take them prisoner and the ranks close in. Tarkoff throws himself in front of Teudah and is shot twice. To everyone's shock, Kipur stands up and stumbles toward Tarkoff. Obak and Milena rush in and fight off the soldiers. However, it is too late for Tarkoff. He exhorts Kipur to be strong, and tells them not to be sad. His dreams have been fulfilled – he went on a grand adventure, and protected the ones he loves. He dies in Obak’s arms, and they must leave his body behind.
As the group flees, Ziping holds back. He takes a coat from one of the dead soldiers, and when 30071 and the others arrive, he introduces himself as 30015. He says he has been on an undercover mission for several years. The General does not trust him, but they follow Ziping to see what proof he can offer them.
Ziping catches up with the group. A gunshot rings out, and he falls into Obak’s arms. But it’s a double-cross – he pops back up and orders Obak and the rest to put down their weapons. The soldiers surround them. Pellerman also appears and promises Milena that if she turns herself in, the rest of her party will not be harmed. She puts down her gun and walks toward him, but 30071’s murderous instincts take over again and he begins firing indiscriminately at everyone. Pellerman takes him down with a swift shot. The soldiers begin to lead everyone away, but Ziping insists on keeping Obak as his personal prize.
Pellerman takes Milena down into the secret bunker, which has been hidden underground at the center of Sapa Crater all along. Bukovich tells his daughter that this will be her new home – he has spent the past 10 years perfecting the computer system alone, but now they will live here together. Milena warily sits next to him at the computer, and he explains that this system will upload all the memories of the citizens of Polunka into her brain. She will become all of them – she will become this world. With this global access, she will watch over and control all of the people on the planet.
As they begin the upload process, Noah and Yelena burst in. Yelena immediately tries to shoot Bukovich, and Pellerman dies protecting him. Noah and Yelena are quickly surrounded by soldiers. One of them offers to take Yelena down, but Bukovich states that execution is outlawed on the planet. The soldier reveals himself to be Obak, and he points his gun directly at Bukovich. “Today is full of reunions,” the Supreme Leader remarks. Obak orders him to let everyone else go so they can speak alone, and Bukovich complies.
Bukovich congratulates Obak on becoming the glorious resistance leader again, but Obak says he is only there to free Milena. However, the Supreme Leader states that Milena is already becoming one with humanity. Obak tries to convince him that this system is foolish, and that humans are wonderful because they are imperfect. He demands that Obak return his memories – his love and his hatred.
The Supreme Leader admits that he does want Obak to understand, and leads him into his memories. Obak sees his mother and father – they are on the refugee ship, preparing to celebrate both Easter and Sascha (Obak)'s engagement to Yelena. Interacting with the memory, Obak asks if they can cancel the celebration for today. However, he cannot stop what happens next. Bukovich arrives with Milena, and then tells Milena to go back to their room for a present he forgot to bring. As soon as she is gone, Bukovich guns down Lopatkin, his wife Anna, and Yelena’s mother Tamara. Sacha grabs Yelena’s hand and they escape, but Bukovich and Pellerman are more focused on retrieving the research data. Milena returns with the present and the ship’s captain. Bukovich tells the captain that all of the information to save humanity is now housed only in his brain, and threatens to kill himself if they don’t do everything he says…
Obak screams in agony as the memories sear through his mind. “You’ve remembered, haven’t you? Your love, and your hatred? This is what you wanted to have back?!” shouts Bukovich. He leads Obak into another memory of war-torn Earth, soon before the refugee ship departed. People scatter left and right as soldiers loot and murder anyone they find. Obak witnesses as soldiers kill Bukovich’s family – his wife, his son, and his daughter Milena. Soon after, a girl named Nina appears with her mother and grandmother. The grandmother is too weak to continue running – she gives Nina a gun to protect herself, and tells the other two to go on without her. Nina and her mother flee for her lives, but there is an explosion and Nina’s mother falls as well. Alone, Nina is found by two soldiers. One of them tries to rape her, but Nina shoots the soldier and pulls herself out from under him. As she is shivering by herself, Bukovich passes by and sees her wracked with trauma. He uses his memory device to take away her painful memories. He starts to leave, but Nina begs him not to leave her behind. Bukovich takes her onto the refugee ship as his daughter Milena.
Bukovich explains to Obak that this is why he must take away people’s memories and control them. Differences of culture, religion, ideals – differences breed hatred and violence. He is doing this to save humanity. Obak screams and points his rifle at Bukovich once more. Bukovich tells him to shoot and enact his revenge, but instead Obak asks him: “If I forgive you, can you forgive humanity?” He puts down his gun, but Bukovich is shot – by Milena. She tells him that in becoming one with all people, she finally understands her father. Now he can sleep, and let go of his pain and loneliness. She sings him a wordless lullaby as he dies in her arms.
The long night of Mercury is finally over. Some months later, Obak resolves to go on a journey and continue exploring the cosmos. Approximately half of the citizens of Polunka decide to join him, and the other half stay behind on the planet. Milena has taken a position of Executive Director to help rebuild their society. However, Yelena stages a “coup” and releases Milena from her responsibilities so that she can leave and be with Obak. Yelena reveals that she is pregnant, and will stay behind on the planet with Noah, the former Spokesperson, and the others to help establish the foundations of a democracy.
People begin to board the spaceship. Now that Kipur has begun to walk, Teudah has decided to let him travel to the stars without her. She and Noah say goodbye as Milena arrives and embraces Obak. They climb aboard the ship Flying Sapa with hope in their hearts.
- Final performance for Amase Hatsuhi.
- Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the original run of this performance was canceled (TBS Akasaka ACT Theater, 03/30 - 04/15).
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