Thursday, December 29, 2005

Cutting edge; thin ice.

With the best of weather illuminating Japan I have been out and about with a chum who teaches in Hong Kong. He is in rapture to the style, colour and charm of pedestrians. We have, in one day conquered: Akihabara electronics, Jinbocho books, Daiba sunsets and Minato-Mirai horizons. We even went into Brooks Brothers. It is an excellent shop. And there I was always dismissing it because of the hideous shop front in Motomachi. Those flags! But within, some rather snazzy pants called Hudson. I even ascended the Landmark Tower and shot 12 views of Mt Fuji. And Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Later we speed- walked to combat the cold. We headed for the Red Brick Buildings and the temporary ice rink. Through the blue light we discovered a student. A 12th grade student. Down on the ice. And he a skillful footballer. "There are more here," he said. And indeed there were. "It's my birthday," said another as she ricocheted into the encircling fence beyween ice and pavement. What did I make of all this? Well, later I considered: What play would benefit from being staged on ice? I could not think of one. It would be too Disney, too Ice Follies, too difficult. And yet images of Chekhov's women skating to Moscow passed in front of me. The next day I was back at Landmark searching for a Barry Eisler novel; he writes about John Rain a Japanese-American assassin. I found 'Rain Storm' and will give it a try. Then I stumbled upon a lovely book. 'A Guide to the Japanese Stage' subtitled, 'From Traditional to Cutting Edge'. Now there's a claim. It looked less fuddy-duddy than anything seen before on the subject. And indeed it is. It mentions Butoh and Dairakudakan. It mentions Super Kabuki. It mentions Yoji Sakate who I have met and who invited me to give a workshop at his Rinko-Gun Theatre. Cutting edge indeed. The index is clear, the writing is straightforward and it is in chunks that welcome reading. I learnt several things within five minutes. For example, Sankai Juku Butoh has "eliminated grotesque strangeness and over-emotional physical expression". Now I must see them to know if this is true. The book even has seating plans of major theatres. And for the price of Y2200 I think it is a bargain. It has something for every IBTA student and teacher. There are still copies in Yurindo. Skate on over, why don't you?

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Fish & chips please

A man walks into a fish and chip shop. I am reading the daily paper. He asks if he can take the magazine section. I agree. He sits on the next table. He reads. Seconds pass. And then. He talks. "Now. Right. There's a mistake there with the possessive pronoun." I turn and nod. A chip dangles on mid-air fork. I can see this is the start of some considerable report. I ask, "What page are you on?" I see another copy of the magazine under my chips. [ The possibility of a play begins.]

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

So what is a Theatre Tradition?

Yes. This dreary question that needs addressing for the RC. Well here is yet further light on the subject Definition of a Theatre Tradition for the purposes of this exercise - A tradition has a set of given conventions. - A tradition is a theatre practice that has developed into a fixed form with fixed conventions and tradition either over time or due to the nature of the culture from which it derives. Thus: Pantomime, Weimar Classicism, Noh, Chinese Opera, Kyogen are acceptable. But not dancing or make up. Trivial Question : What was the magic realism in Truly, Madly, Deeply?

Monday, December 12, 2005

first post...

TESTING TESTING ONE TWO THREE>>> Anybody got any "spare" ideas bout research commision?? Im thinking about doing something to do with costume or make-up as i haveney tackled anything of that nature yet - other interests inculde - the irish (for reasons other than the guiness..) and ballet - maybe irish ballet>? but where to go from there ---> bed i think...

Thursday, December 08, 2005


Yes. The contributors have swelled this evening. Four new people. Excellent. Now for more than just signing-up? Remember. The sun shines out of our arts. Today the 7th grade created a sarong performance. They moved in unison. A butoh hiss and the held sarongs, all 17 of them, floated to the floor. Why do I love the precision of this? Is it a dance or theatre? Does it matter? Is the eye pleased by harmony? Are we programmed for this? Is it our biology? And I am not the Lindberg baby.


King Lear on blogging: "... so we'll live, And pray, and sing, and tell old tales and laugh At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues Talk of court news; and we'll talk with them too. Who loses and who wins; who's in and who's out; And take upon's the mystery of things, As if we were God's spies." Nicked from Paul Miller's blog


Monday was a strange lesson at first. It's like hosting a party. The host must get the atmosphere right. And the guests must suspend some of their disbelief. You may find echoes of this in a hilarious play called "Abigail's Party" by Mike Leigh. Excrutiating things happen at a party in the UK. Look for the script and video. Tonight there are Koto performances in the nearby temple; below St.Maur. Today I have increased my blog experience and added some LINKS. Look right and click why don't you? And to the future: make 25th January BUTOH DAY at YIS. Dairakudakan are coming! Now why isn't their name on the LINKS? Bear with me. Or is it bare with me? English speakers please advise! In my next blog I am considering publishing the names of late-givers; written work. Let the world decide.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Butoh YOKO

I was pleased to see that Daisy and Rae have signed up. And I have had a nice e mail from DAIRAKUDAKAN Butoh Company. The proposed date for their workshop at YIS is 23rd January. It will include: film of their work, short talk and then practical movement workshop. I will be looking for an INTERPRETER. Check out their website at They have a show in Setagaya this month. I can get you discount ticket; up close to the stage. So let me know and grab your white face paint. It's all about images and the beauty of ugliness. What is beauty? Some say it is average. The agreed face.