The performances of 'Kaikin' were well received in Kyoto, Kitakyushu and Hirado! The after-show talks that were held in Kyoto and Hirado were amazing, as we had guests that are renowned theatre directors/playwrights in their own right, which made it both nerve-wracking as well as exciting for us to hear what they had to say. We survived very well from those talks, thank you!
We traveled around 2000 kilometers to get from Kyoto to Hirado and back and all was done in a van, which gives the feeling of being some traveling theatre group. As you can imagine, this was also quite tiring, but we managed to hold our energy until the last moment when we unpacked the van again in Kyoto, at Kaika theatre.
Next project? We'll keep you posted.
A short diary from the rehearsals period:
* A week before the first night - approximately, as I'm losing sense of time. The stage is in the process of being built with the elaborate backdrops that will be hung up; we're using the idea of many curtains by taking the Japanese 'Noren' curtain in plenti-fold to serve as a back. We have no set as we move around too much, just boxes that serve many purposes. The costume designer is on the ball and will come down from Osaka this week with her creations. We're all looking forward to that, of course.
In the mean time, much hard work has been done on the scenes, the transitions, the movement pieces and of course, the thinking behind the text. One of the actors said that if anything, the work he's doing for this play might well kill him. This was a joke (thank god) but Japanese actors work very hard to make a living and sometimes to several performances at the same time; working on this production is an energy challenge. We hope it's going to be worth it for the audience.
* About 2 weeks to go before the first night. Kitamura san from Kitakyushu dropped in yesterday to talk to us in Kyoto; it's always amazing how much work goes into a little tour. It seems all is on track and we shared some nice food and beers with him and with production people from the ever-helpful Kaika theatre. Although it feels as if there is enough time, we all know we're getting tired and need to rest and have time to learn lines too. In Japan you can ask actors to rehearse as long as the director/producer wants to, but some stricter union rules might be good for us - rehearsing from 10 in the morning until 10 at night is not always conducive to good health and the best performance. So far, these long hours have given us plenty of time to explore and set up. Now it comes down to the nitty-gritty and we have a great performance ready for our audience on the 30th August!
* Three weeks into rehearsals - making very good progress. Any setbacks we've been able to turn into positive contributions to the rehearsals (almost all, some turned into 'OK, so - we go to lunch now then cos there's no space for us to rehearse?')
* The movement outline is more or less set, with every intention of changing it if it doesn't work; but it gives us a firm hold on the work on hand, which is how to use the text, how to interpret it, how to illuminate it and how to bind it together to make a great performance. Easier said than done, but there's a lot of people at work who either know what they're doing or they have visions on how it might be done - and if you combine those forces, you're in for a treat as a director as well as an audience.
* We had meetings with the stage manager, light designer and costume designer - and all seems to be on course. More about that when I get it.
* We're two weeks into rehearsals, and the play is taking shape thanks to the relentless energy of everyone ready to workshop all the options for this physical theatre performance. The text of the play is tweaked at all times to make it the best, and most applicable, Japanese possible - it sometimes feels like Lost in Translation, but maybe it's better to say Found in Translation. There still a lot to do (a lot) so we keep going - please follow us!