The nearest you can get to Fukushima without leaving Tokyo

“Kein Licht II”, performed in November 2012 during Festival/Tokyo, was adapted from one of the two texts written by Elfriede Jelinek in response to the nuclear disaster that happened in Fukushima. Director Takayama Akira, founder of the theatrical unit Port B, has taken on the task of staging this play.

The performance was conceived as a “tour” through places in Fukushima, whose landscape has been reconstructed in various locations in the Shinbashi area of Tokyo. Leaving the comfortable audience seats behind, the “spectators” of this work embark on the tour individually and follow exact indications, in order to move from one location to another. Amidst the setting created in each location, the participants listen to fragments of Jelinek’s play through a portable radio that they each carries.

Shinbashi transfigured during the Port B performance of "Kein Licht II"

Shinbashi transfigured during the Port B performance of “Kein Licht II”

The fact that the landscape recreated here is faithful to the original one in Fukushima is proven by the images on the postcards that contain the route indications. The particular characteristics of photography as an artistic medium best highlights the harsh reality of the contaminated area, namely that time has stopped there and that it has become a deserted place. Where there were people just moments ago, there is no one anymore now. Each setting conveys the desolation brought on by the unexpected catastrophe. At the same time, every location suggests the presence of an invisible element that keeps people away from their homes and workplaces, from schools and playgrounds. In this context, the use of the radio is also a subtle allusion to radiation. However, the meaning of the radio is taken one step further in this performance, for it also suggests that there are things that remain unseen and unheard, unless you adjust yourself to the right frequency.

The act of transposing Fukushima onto Tokyo, 226 km away from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear power plant, is in itself provocative, taking a critical stance towards any discourse about Fukushima held while maintaining a distance from the place. It is that very distance that Takayama Akira’s concept argues with.

The dramatic text itself is brought to life through the voices of high school students from Fukushima. Conceived as a long discourse of mourning, it pleads the fact that the price we have to pay for using light is just too big. There is anger, repentance and forlornness behind every line, but what surprises the listener most is the sound of the phrases. As if the catastrophe had affected not only people and environment, but also the language itself, the words of “Kein Licht II” have a disconcerting sharpness to them.

By articulating aspects that the Japanese phrase would rather level out or hide under a veil of ambiguity out of a well-meant consideration for the listener, the translation has chosen to keep the structure of the original German text and, together with it, the particular atmosphere of a language that is by its nature more appropriate for expressing critical stances. Transposing the discourse imagined by Jelinek into natural-sounding Japanese would have meant making the discourse milder, with all the sharp points erased out. But at least when denouncing the aftermath of the Fukushima accident, an incisive – even though outlandish – discourse seems to be the right choice.

Port B "Kein Licht II"

Port B “Kein Licht II”

With all the linguistic and structural particularities of the text, the task of weaving it into the tour performance concept is all the more remarkable. The result is one that is highly experiential for the audience. First of all, the very existence of the spectator is a condition sine qua non for the development of the performance. By sharing information concerning the performance with the production staff, by moving from one location to another and by observing each setting in its own context,the members of the audience become participants in their own right in the creation of this work.

Secondly, the spectator witnesses the transfiguration of Shinbashi. There is actually a reason why this particular area in Tokyo was chosen for the staging of Fukushima; it is revealed within the very first location and it is one of the most thought-provoking aspects of the performance. Nonetheless, the sudden transformation of the once familiar setting is a thrilling experience. You are given the occasion to step into places in the neighborhood you would probably never enter otherwise. On your way from one location to another you might meet other participants, whom you recognize by the radios and the postcards they are carrying. You might exchange knowing smiles with them at the thought that you are sharing the same experience, unknown to the passers-by, who might only find your actions somewhat suspicious.

The Port B tour performances, such as “Kein Licht II”, are are highly conceptual works, rooted in our most urgent reality , designed to make audience rethink their everyday surroundings. In a crisis situation the place you think you know like the palm of your hand becomes a foreign, dangerous place. I can only wish that everybody would experience this as theatre, in the Port B version, and not in reality.

More on Festival/ Tokyo 2012 “Kein Licht II” in this excellent article by William Andrews on Tokyo Stages.

*Update: Since September 12th through October 5th Port B’s latest project “Evakuieren” takes place in the Rhein-Main region in Germany. (Images here and German language info available here) For those who are in the area, it is certainly worth experiencing.

(* This article has first appeared on the “Blog Camp in F/T” platform, a Festival/Tokyo 2012 program for young critics lead by performing arts journalist Iwaki Kyoko, and was reblogged with permission.)

 

 

A play within a play within a memory – “Record of a Journey to Antigone, and Its Performance”

The Festival/Tokyo 2012 performance of marebito theatre company had been awaited anxiously by everyone who was lucky enough to hear of this project and follow its traces on the internet. The first stage of the performance had been actually going on on a special website and on Twitter since August 2012. What we were able to witness from November 15th through 18th (2012) at the Nishi-Sugamo Arts Factory has been the second stage of performance, conceived as an occasion for the characters and their audience to reenact the story in their memory. The choice of venue, a former school in an area of Tokyo known for its aging population, is also apt – a site fully imbued with the past.

The main plot and concept centers around a theatre group planning and conducting a performance of Sophocles’ Antigone for a blind man in Fukushima. Three other parallel stories unfold at the same time, with one character connecting all these threads together.

As well as the “performance” that took place in the main space, the old school gymnasium, of the Nishi-Sugamo Arts Factory – featuring the Antigone actors-playing-actors seemingly “acting” their roles – the audience could also experience sound installations created by Araki Masamitsu on two floors of the adjacent building. One, “Transit Melody: A Man Who Went Fishing on the Coast of Fukushima”, was a collection of sounds from the area devastated by the earthquake last year, while “Transit Melody: A Jukebox Wrapped in Smoke” consisted in soundscapes from various locations in Fukushima, conceived as an exhibition of tapes that the audience could play freely. According to the artist’s statement during a talk session, perspective – the position that one chooses when observing an object, in this case, Fukushima – played an essential role in the conception of the works. The importance of choosing one’s perspective is also alluded to in the theatrical performance in the gymnasium. The idea that someone can see one landscape but fail to see other sides of reality underlies the entire concept of the project like a red thread.

Prior to the Nishi-Sugamo Arts Factory installation and performance, the profiles of the characters had been taking shape gradually in time, with every record they left themselves on blogs, Twitter and YouTube. All along, the audience had been exposed to their thoughts, photos, videos and interviews with people who used to live in Iitate-mura and Minami Sōma, districts that have been severely affected by radiation. Moreover, there had even been occasions to witness short episodes of the story taking place publicly in Tokyo and Fukushima: two characters meeting by chance in Shinjuku, the meetings of the theatre group in a café, the mysterious apparition of one of the characters handing her visit card randomly to people on the street, two lovers being stalked by a woman in Kōenji. In other words, we have been able to witness theatrical fiction permeating the everyday reality in Tokyo and Fukushima.

Marebito no kai, “Record of a Journey to Antigone, and Its Performance” (Festival/Tokyo 2012 performance)

Marebito no kai, “Record of a Journey to Antigone, and Its Performance” (Festival/Tokyo 2012 performance)

The traces left by the characters on the internet have been working like seeds planted in the audience’s imagination, providing the conditions for the story to take contour. This process has made possible for the performance to take place literally in the memory of the characters and the audience, who met for the first time in Nishi-Sugamo. While the characters were standing in an empty space, entrusting their bodies to the process of reminiscence, the spectators were free to move among them, recalling the bits and pieces of information related to the story that they had learned beforehand through the internet.

Faced with this unusual theatrical experience, the spectator tries at first to find his/her own place among the reminiscing bodies of the actors, and little by little one feels the joy of recognizing the characters: Ikiune Minoru, the self-claimed playwright, inspired by the charming apparition of Hibari Umemi to write his own version of Antigone and to envision her in the main role; Oki Momoko– the representative of the theatre company, responsible for planning and directing the performance of Antigone in Fukushima; Hibari Umemi, the actress who is to play Antigone – she identifies with the role on an unconscious level and there is something tragic about her every gesture that reveals her identity; the young woman standing close to her can be none other than Yoshimoto Mika, who is to play Ismene, Antigone’s sister; Rosso Jun (whose tweets, written with a sharp tongue, will surely be missed), in charge of the role of Haemon, and KurumeTōki, whose dignified stature calls to mind king Creon. Slightly apart from them one recognizes the two lovers, “Iroyama” and “Kinoshita”, being watched from the opposite corner, by “I” – the woman stalking them. The easiest to recognize is surely Kuwabara Sanae, whose white apparition works like an omen, connecting the crowd in Tokyo with the almost deserted streets of Fukushima.

There are actually subtle elements that guide the spectator’s memory in identifying the characters and reconstructing the story in his or her mind. The actors are not just standing there – they sometimes whisper, as if talking to themselves; other times they briefly gesticulate, oblivious to themselves. Time is an essential element in this process, for the actors seem to synchronize their memories with the help of the five clocks in the room. Moreover, when two characters happen to face each other, the audience suddenly becomes aware that they are remembering each other. With their memories engaging in dialogue, the relationships and the tensions between the characters become transparent.

This process of mutual remembering culminates towards the end of the performance, when all the characters seem to appear in Ikiune Minoru’s imagination. We realize that he has been the character that connects the separated threads into one story – a new version of Antigone, which has never been enacted in reality, but only in his dream. He is the one who went alone to Fukushima, only to find out the truth about the area affected by radiation, and, along with it, the truth about his feelings for Hibari Umemi, revealed to him by the mysterious Kuwabara Sanae. In spite of the revelation, Ikiune chooses to remain a prisoner of his own illusions, blind to the surrounding reality, becoming a tragic character himself. The image of king Oedipus hearing the truth from the foreteller Tiressias overlaps with the image of these two characters, providing for another dimension to the story, one that reaches far into archetypal memory.

The journey that the characters embark on takes them on the edge between life and death, between reality and delusion. Against a background of overwhelming, ineffable emotions, a new Antigone is unfolding in the minds of the audience, one that is pleading against oblivion through the unheard voices of the dead. The resulting work is a theatre of memories, one that reminds us of the mugen noh (“dream Noh”) plays, in which ghosts appear in the dream of a traveler reminiscing on the past. Like the centuries-long tradition of Noh plays, the theatre of memories is only possible if the characters and the audience share the same knowledge about past events.

In the case of “Record of a Journey to Antigone, and Its Performance”, the internet media used for recording the events has played a crucial role in disseminating the necessary background information towards the audience. Besides their function as sources of information, social networking systems and blogs are also platforms of human interaction, where we act using virtual identities – “characters” that correspond more or less like our real selves. In the same way, the characters of “Journey to Antigone” have been acting online through their fictional identities. As an audience, we were able to see for ourselves that the border between virtual identities and fictional ones is extremely fragile, making possible for fiction to infiltrate in our everyday reality.

For three months the actors have been playing their roles online, culminating with a performance in which their bodies create a space permeated by memories that enables the re-enactment of the events in the audience’s memory. Standing in the dim light and entrusting their bodies to memories for seven hours in a row, facing the curious, unprepared and, most often than not, provocative glances of the spectators, the actors have achieved an astonishing, unrepeatable performance. The concept of a play within a play is thus taken to a whole new dimension, made possible through the memories that the characters and the audience have in common. The visions and memories encapsulating each other have created a truly unforgettable experience that will no doubt linger for a while in the hearts of the audience.

by Ramona Taranu

(* This article has first appeared on the “Blog Camp in F/T” platform, a Festival/Tokyo 2012 program for young critics lead by performing arts journalist Iwaki Kyoko, and was reblogged with permission.)

 

Impressions from this year’s Zeami memorial seminar

Every year on the 8th of August there is a meeting of Noh researchers and enthusiasts, organized in memory of Zeami (1363-1443) in the Nara prefecture by the Association for Noh and Kyōgen Studies. Please read this past entry – Remembering Zeami, where I explained in detail what the seminar consists in.

Luckily, I had the chance to go there this year too, so I would like to share some more images and thoughts on this event.

On August 7th we went as usual to the temple of Hōzanji in Ikoma, for the yearly exhibition of manuscripts. Some of them are written in Zeami’s or Zenchiku’s hand, while others are later documents related to the Komparu school of Noh.

Hōzanji - a smaller prayer hall (beyond it, the Hannya cave)

A prayer hall of the Hōzanji complex (beyond it, the Hannya cave)

View over the town of Ikoma from Hōzanji

View over the town of Ikoma from Hōzanji

As you might guess, taking photographs of the manuscripts is forbidden. So I’ll use for illustration an image that was already on the web – a fragment of the “Eguchi” manuscript by Zeami.

Noh "Eguchi"

Noh “Eguchi”

Like the other Noh manuscripts by Zeami (“Tomoakira”, “Unrin’in”, “Morihisa”, “Kashiwazaki” a.o.), it’s written mostly in katakana – for very practical reasons in fact. Besides it being the simplest way to ensure the correct pronounciation of the words, this kind of script helps synchronizing the syllables to the chant (fushi 節) . Not to mention that it makes easier the use of kakekotoba – projecting two meanings on one word, the stylistic device that accounts for much of the typical flavour of Noh texts.

Leaving back Hōzanji, for the ones in the area August 8th begins with a visit to Fuganji 補厳寺, the place where Zeami deepend his studies of Zen in his late years. There is not much left of the temple itself, as it burnt to the ground about two centuries ago. However, the family which owns the place now has inherited the old temple records, which mention Zeami (his Buddhist name Shiō 至翁), as one of the donors of the temple.

The gate of Fuganji

The gate of Fuganji

Pine tree guarding the entrance to Fuganji

Pine tree guarding the entrance to Fuganji

The seminar, usually held in Nara, took place this time in Tawaramoto, the town where Fuganji is located. The reason behind this change was the celebration of 30 years since the creation of the monument marking Fuganji as a place related to Zeami.

Zeami sangaku no chi - "The place where Zeami came for his Buddhist studies "

Zeami sangaku no chi – “The place where Zeami came for his Buddhist studies “

The monument was created at the initiative of Noh researchers Omote Akira and Itō Masayoshi, the ones who discovered the names of Zeami and his wife’s in the old temple records. The donations of many Noh enthusiasts from all over Japan made the completion of this monument possible.

One more image from the surroundings of Fuganji, located in the Ajima district of Tawaramoto.

tanbo

If you ignore the utility poles in the background, do you think that this landscape has changed much since Zeami’s time? Facing the broadness of this view, I found myself trying to imagine what Zeami’s eyes saw, in the hope of catching a glimpse of the environment that shaped his thought and of what inspired him to write his plays. Not much of a clue for research, but I somehow have the feeling that just by seeing this landscape we get a little closer to Zeami.

 

Tokyo Theatres in July

I wouldn’t be able to tell how or when, but it’s already July! Let’s just say that “time flies when you’re having fun” and keep it there :)

I’ve been spending a lot of time in Ōji (Kita ward) lately, as I’ve been asked to write a report on the Satō Sakichi Theatrical Festival 2014 佐藤佐吉演劇祭2014+ that has been going on there since June 25th.  For about a month there are twelve theatre companies performing in several venues around the Ōji small theatre 王子小劇場. There have been some very nice stages during the first half of the festival.  Henteko restoran “The weird restaurant”, an adaptation of Miyazawa Kenji’s  Chūmon no ooi ryōriten “The restaurant with many orders”, performed by Kaki kuu kyaku, and Wa Wa Flamingo’s Eiga “Film” are worth mentioning here. The festival will be going on until July 21st with performances by very young units, like Nakanaide, dokukinoko-chan, Momojiriken, Gareki no taiko and others.

Ōji shōzokue no ki Ōmisoka no kitsunebi (Utagawa Hiroshige, 1857)

Ōji shōzokue no ki Ōmisoka no kitsunebi (Utagawa Hiroshige, 1857)

The Satō Sakichi Festival has a very local color to it – in fact, one of its objectives is to contribute to the revival of Ōji, not because it were a deserted place or anything, but because this town has actually a long tradition of being a pretty animated place. You may have heard of it thanks to Utagawa Hiroshige’s work, Ōji shōzokue no ki Ōmisoka no kitsunebi (“The strange fires at New Year’s around the enoki tree in Ōji”) And one of the merits of watching a festival like this is realizing that besides the theatre that is engaged in an international dialogue, there is also a very flourishing small scale theatre in Japan, targeting local audiences. A festival like Satō Sakichi can offer an insight into the traits and potential of this kind of theatre.

Here are some other performances going on this month that I would heartily recommend:

  • lolo ロロ, one of the very promising young theatre companies of the moment, will have their first performance in quite a while, “Embracing the rising sun tonight”『朝日を抱きしめてトゥナイト』(July 11th – 21st at the Komaba Agora Theater) . You can get a glimpse of the atmosphere of this work by watching the short promotion video they created:

 

  • Gotanda-dan, "Nights in Gotanda" (July 22nd -27th)

    Gotanda-dan, “Nights in Gotanda” (July 22nd -27th)

    Gotanda-dan 五反田団, the unit lead by playwright and novelist Maeda Shirō, known in Japan and abroad for works like “Is there no one alive?”『生きてるものはいないのか』, will perform their latest work “Nights in Gotanda” 『五反田の夜』from July 22nd through the 27th at Atelier Helicopter. “Nights in Gotanda” is a play taking on the March 3rd disaster in Tōhoku, an attempt to imagine what people living in Tokyo might have felt when trying to be of help to those affected by the calamity.

 

  • Hamlet”, directed by Sugihara Kunio 杉原邦生, will be performed at Owlspot (August 1st -3rd). I know it’s a bit early to talk about August, but this is one of the most awaited events of the summer and we wouldn’t want to miss it. Sugihara’s “Hamlet” is already on in Kyoto (until July 7th) and will be performed in Toyohashi (Aichi) and Sapporo before coming to Tokyo.

With that said, I’m going to follow the vague but undeniable scent of the holidays, which is already filling the air, and just see where it leads me :D

Tokyo Theatres in May

It finally became warm in Tokyo and we are right in the middle of the Golden Week, so there is no soul wishing to stay indoors now. The world of the stage this month has some quite interesting events going on. Here is my pick up:

  • The Tokyo Metropolitan Theater is hosting this year’s edition of TACT (Theater Arts for Children and Teens) Festival between the 3rd and 11th of May. Taking to account the companies participating – Corpus (Canada), a unit directed by Martin Zimmermann and Dimitri de Perrot (Switzerland), L’Immediat (France) and B-Floor Theatre (Thailand) – thought-provoking physical theatre intertwined with circus elements seems to be at the heart of the festival’s concept.

You might ask why I’m mentioning this event on a blog about Japanese theatre. To be honest, I think all theatre lovers here, Japanese or non-Japanese, might well use a breath of fresh air. The variety of theatre forms in Japan is amazing, but a type of performance coming from the outside that could generate a new kind of surprise and a new kind of thought about stage arts is more than welcome. Both for audiences and for local theatre creators the TACT /Festival 2014 promises to be a stimulating experience.

  • One of the most promising young theatre units of the moment, FAIFAI 快快, will present their latest work Henshin (kari) 『へんしん(仮)』(“Metamorphosis”) at the Komaba Agora Theatre from May 9th through the 19th. FAIFAI has been active under the present name since 2008 and has become known in Japan and abroad for pursuing an original type of theatrical expression, one that stays true to the reality of its generation. The unit’s work “My name is I LOVE YOU” has been awarded the ZKB Patronage Prize at the Zürcher Theater Spektakel in 2010 and its’ work Ringo received the 57th Kishida Kunio Playwrights Award. That is to say that their latest work deserves all our attention. For more information please visit the FAIFAI homepage (its English version is one of the clearest and most neatly kept up to date websites I’ve ever seen among Japanese theatre companies).
Edo ito ayatsuri ningyō za, "Artaud 24ji ++"

Edo ito ayatsuri ningyō za, “Artaud 24ji ++”

  • The string puppet theatre company Edo ito ayatsuri ningyō za 江戸糸あやつり人形座 will perfom Artaud 24 ji++『アウトー24時++』(“Artaud at 24 o’clock”) at the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre from May 29th through June 1st. The work depicts the last day of Antonin Artaud, the man who has played a key role in the history of modern theatre. For such a subject to be approached through the means of the three centuries old Japanese string puppet theatre is an outstanding feat that will demonstrate the actuality and the flexibility of this art. For reference, I described my first encounter with the string puppet theatre in Japan elsewhere.

Having stated my expectations for this month as far as theatre is concerned, I wish you all a pleasant time in May :)

Tokyo Theatres in April

With me caught up in this and that, another month has passed without any new updates on this blog. I apologize to my readers. It just happens that I was on vacation :) I spent around two weeks away from the Japanese stage, only to realize how much I would miss it.

And that, in spite of the fact that on the night before my departure I went to see a fabulous dramatization of Terayama Shūji’s Den’en ni shisu 『田園に死す』“Pastoral: To Die in the Country” at Za Suzunari, which gave me enough food for thought over the holidays. Nonetheless, after two weeks the withdrawal symptoms were so acute, that right after landing at Narita, I went straight to KAAT in Yokohama to catch Chiten’s “Demons”. I’m glad to say that it was one of the best things I’ve ever done on the spur of the moment.

About Den’en ni shisu and Akuryō you will most surely read again on this blog soon. Let’s see what the month of April has in store for theatergoers:

  • Nylon 100℃ will perform Pan’ya Bunroku no shian – zoku『パン屋文六の思案~続・岸田國士一幕劇コレクション』at the Aoyama Round Theatre from April 10th through May 3rd. The performance is conceived as a collage of several one-act plays written by Kishida Kunio (1890-1954), who is often referred to as “the father” of modern Japanese theatre. This stage is the best occasion to catch up with the latest work of Keralino Sandorovich, the leader of Nylon 100℃ and one of the most notable Japanese artists of the moment. Both a theatre director and a musician, KERA is one of the very few people whose wit and insight manages to give entertainment theatre that twist which transforms every show into a lasting memory.

    Tessenkai Noh (April 11th, Hosho Noh Theatre)

    Tessenkai Noh (April 11th, Hosho Noh Theatre)

  • Among the Noh performances of this month the Tessenkai program on April 11th at the Hōshō nōgakudō might be a good choice. Shitekata Shibata Minoru will perform Oshio 『小塩』, a Noh based on a love story from “The Tales of Ise”, quite rarely seen on stage. After the kyōgen Uo sekkyō 『魚説教』, we will be able see Uzawa Hisa’s Kanawa 『鉄輪』– a Noh about a woman’s jealousy. Strong human emotions such as jealousy become motives in various Noh plays – Aoi no Ue 『葵上』“Lady Aoi” is the most famous example. But in Kanawa the rendering of such emotions gets a bit out of the ordinary, in that there is nothing of the hurt but dignified aura of Lady Rokujō (the main character in “Lady Aoi”). Kanawa shows us a simple woman, invoking magic to take revenge on the one who hurt her. Her wrath can only be tempered by the powerful onmyōji Abe no Seimei. One of the highlights is the mask Namanari 生成, used exclusively for this Noh play.

    Sugawara denju tenarai kagami (April 5-27, National Bunraku Theater)

    Sugawara denju tenarai kagami (April 5-27, National Bunraku Theater)

  • At the National Bunraku Theatre a performance of Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami 『菅原伝授手習鑑』 is scheduled for the interval April 5th – 27th. This classic of ningyō jōruri 人形浄瑠璃 puppet theatre, based on legends surrounding the personality of Heian period scholar Sugawara no Michizane (845-903), will be performed in its entirety (tōshi kyōgen), which means that we will have the chance to spend a whole day in the bunraku theatre, enraptured by the magic of the moving puppets.

The first day of April marks a new beginning for most of the people living in Japan. The fair weather and the cherry trees in bloom wouldn’t leave us any other choice than to look ahead with hope and expectations. While keeping an eye on the Japanese stage, don’t forget to enjoy your spring :)

Tokyo Theatres in March

For this month there are three stages that I would recommend heartily:

"Demons" by Chiten (March 10th-23rd, KAAT)

“Demons” by Chiten (March 10th-23rd, KAAT)

  • Dostoyevsky’s “Demons” – Akuryō悪霊』in Japanese – is being dramatized by theatre company Chiten 地点in collaboration with the Kanagawa Arts Theatre. It will be performed from March 10th through the 23rd. Responsible for the direction is Miura Motoi 三浦基, whose name guarantees the quality of the work. It is a performance fervently awaited by the Japanese theatre world.
  • At the Tokyo Metropolitan Theater we will be able see Shiftシフト』, a performance by theatre company Sample, from March 14th through the 23rd. Shift is actually one of the earlier creations of director Matsui Shū 松井周, performed in 2007 for the first time. Matsui’s theatre is known for showing human beings in critical situations, constrained to think and to act beyond the social establishment. Shift is a story about a community facing the dilemma of having to choose between preserving its old ways and embracing outsiders in order to ensure its own continuity. I guess it is needless to point out the subtle hints at some problems that Japanese society is facing nowadays. Let me just say that when talking about the frontlines of contemporary Japanese theatre, Sample is a unit which deserves all the attention.

    "The Merchant of Hinemi" (U-ench saisei jigyodan)

    “The Merchant of Hinemi” (U-ench saisei jigyodan)

  • U-ench saisei jigyōdan’s Hinemi no shōninヒネミの商人』“The Merchant of Hinemi”, written by playwright and director Miyazawa Akio 宮沢章夫, will be restaged for the first time in 21 years from March 20th through the 30th at Za-Kōenji 座・高円寺. This work is based loosely on “The Merchant of Venice” and “Hinemi”, the play that brought Miyazawa the Kishida Kunio Playwrights Award in 1993. Hinemi is the name of the fictional town where the action takes place. Amid their daily routine, the characters find something important enough to change their view on life – this is what the play promises to be about.

Spring is almost here, a reason good enough to get ready for a new start :)