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😀

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