Setagaya Public Theatre, Tokyo
14 – 22 September, 2010
Stan’s Cafe’s first visit to Japan and of course this being Japan we embraced much technological innovation. This included a new bit of kit created by Jon Ward which combines his soundtrack, real time chimes and a tannoy for statistic announcements, all in one hand luggage size silver box. We also had numerous laptops wirelessly linked up to a superfast printer. (I remember the early days of the show when we arrived at a venue with all the sheets preprinted, no laptop and no printer. And the internet was dial up!)
It was great to be able to explore through the rice the life of a part of the world that we knew less off, and a place where that rice is such a staple and treated with reverence. We learned a lot about the vastness of Tokyo in contrast to the country’s smaller towns and villages. We leaned of its harbours which provide some of the amazing fish and seafood delicacies we enjoyed in the city’s restaurants, guided to by our very generous and friendly hosts. We learned about the city’s devastation during World War Two and it and Japan’s gradual rebirth to become one of the world’s most innovative and dynamic nations. We discovered first hand the teeming life of the city as we crossed the road at Shibuya Crossing each day. We discovered that the Japanese rice that we had glimpsed growing through the windows of the Narita Express amounts to 52 grains in each gram as opposed to our usual long grain 60 grains per gram (more rice had o be swifltly purchased). We found a fantastic Japanese Rockabilly band, we gazed in confused awe at the underground map, we sampled the peace of shrines, we bought stuff from shops with lots of stuff in to take home, we took our shoes off before entering our dressing room, we bowed to the men on the hotel front desk, we saw neon. Tokyo felt both familiar but also a long way from home.
We ran a series of workshops for local schoolchildren and a very fun Saturday morning one at the beautiful Setagaya Art Museum in which we managed to involve kids, their parents and adults without kids. On the final night Graeme and I sped off to the Tama Art University with producer/lecturer OKUYAMA Midori. I couldnt tell you how to get there or how to get back. Here we gave a talk about life working in a theatre company to students aged around 18. We felt very old when we realised that they were born in the year that Stan’s Cafe was formed but it was good to look back on all the work that we have crammed into those nineteen years and to see that for them, the adventures such as those that we have had over that time, are only just beginning.
C.S. (photo: Graeme Rose)
Performers:Charlotte Gregory, Jake Oldershaw, Graeme Rose
Craig Stephens, Jack Trow, James Yarker
with Kakumoto and Miss Sumida
Concept: James Yarker
General Manager:Charlotte Martin
Advisory Producer: Nick Sweeting
Indeed. A life is more or less like a piece of grain.Audience Member
We are one of many but also an individual.Audience Member
Clever way to show the situations surrounding us which we easily (or foolishly) overlook everyday. AkikoAudience Member
Perhaps in future I will eat rice with a bit more respect.Audience Member