W.S. Gilbert saw a benefit to setting "The Mikado," his 1885 comic opera with Arthur Sullivan, in a fictional Japanese village: Establishing the action in a faraway location would hopefully give Gilbert and Sullivan more room to satirize absurd British law, mores, and institutions — not to mention there was a fascination with Japan at the time. It'll be interesting to see how that satire transfers when Off-Monroe Players updates the story with modern dress and a Rochester skyline in "The Mikado, or The Town of Rochacha."
Along many twists, "The Mikado" follows Nanki-Poo, the disguised son of the Mikado, as he seeks after the women he loves, Yum-Yum. Standing in his way, though, is Ko-Ko, the Lord High Executioner and Yum-Yum's betrothed — one of the opera's absurd aspects is that Ko-Ko is sentenced to death for flirting (a poke at the time's Victorian rigidity), but of course can't cut off his own head — and Katisha, a woman chasing after Nanki-Poo. The production, part of the Off-Monroe Players' 40th season, is directed by Wayne Vander Byl, with music direction by Alex Kuczynski.
The Off Monroe-Players will perform "The Mikado, or the Town of Rochacha" on Friday, November 10, through Sunday, November 19, at Salem United Church of Christ, 60 Bittner Street. 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays; 2 p.m. on Sundays. Admission is free, but donations are welcome. Reservations required. 232-5570; off-monroeplayers.org.