I have been very much enjoying running a workshop for theatre makers here at the Setagaya Public Theatre, Tokyo. A significant pleasure, beyond the great bunch of people on the workshop, is working with a translator. I am learning miniscule pieces of Japanese but decided to start today with a very short English lesson.

Last night a conversation confirmed that the true richness of the word PLAY does not translate simply into Japanese. As the multiple readings of this word are key to Stan’s Cafe’s approach to theatre it seemed worth explaining how we stage a PLAY, how children PLAY (and adults can also be PLAYFUL) and how there can be a PLAY back and forth between two things.

This evening I enjoyed a disorientating evening at Owlspot Theatre watching Bouli Miro, by Fabrice Melquiot performed in Japanese Translation by Niwagekidan Penino under the direction of Kuro Tanino, who also works as a psychiatrist (follow the link on his name for a very interesting interview in which he talks about his approach to theatre). The piece did not look anything like the original French staging and despite containing some beautiful images it left me mostly wishing I had seen either the original French Production or one of Niwagekidan Penion’s own original pieces, which look very exciting.

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