Post from Japan – Rebecca French
In addition to The Rules given by Seth and Ohira, we also added two of our own additional rules – only one of us can be present in the work at any one time and it must be able to be either of us who is present – i.e. we must be interchangeable.
I think we did an okay job here in Japan within some rather intense constraints – making a completely new work that responded to The Rules, examining our working process, making a work for a black box theatre which we’ve never done before, all within three weeks, without being able to speak Japanese (and along with jet lag and working out how to eat, sleep, wash clothes, look after our daughter etc.).
We made a work that engaged the primarily Japanese-speaking audience, communicated with them, activated them to participate; they came on stage and performed a series of sound effects that built into soundscapes, accompanied by short narratives that we revealed line-by-line on cue cards. Andrew presented the work one afternoon and I did the other afternoon. We did a ‘performance’ on the stage, which involved non-verbally directing the audience’s participation.
I like the idea we came up with and it worked well enough here in Japan. However, I’m never quite sure what I think about any work until a few months have elapsed and I’ve got a bit of critical distance. Some feedback we’ve had gives us some thoughts to get our teeth into over the next week, before we have to re-present the work in Brighton next weekend. On an encouraging note, several people who were in the audience have approached us over the last few days and said they liked the idea and enjoyed participating in it.
So we start our journey to the airport in 12 hours. Sad. I’ve had ‘residency in Japan’ on my wishlist for several years. So it’s been very exciting to finally be here and I’ve had a fantastic time. But now it’s over and we get on the plane tomorrow morning. I hope I get to return sometime.
Thanks and bests to my companions on this journey – Andrew, Vivian, Seth, Ohira, Matthew, Ira, Kiguchi, Fumiko.