by Chris MaGee
This past year has seen some truly visionary films come out of Japan. Two that immediately come to mind are Yoshimasa Ishibashi's wild, surreal comedy "Milocrorze: A Love Story" and Koji Fukdada's satire of Japanese xenophobia "Hospitalité". Recently in Kyoto people involved with both of these films took their talents from the big screen and brought them to the stage with Kyoto Experiment 2011, the Kyoto International Performing Arts Festival.
Between September 23rd and October 16th a section of galleries and theatres in central Kyoto played host to a number of playwrights and performance artists. Amongst those were "Milocrorze" director Yoshimasa Ishibashi. As part of the performance art trio Kyupi Kyupi, Ishibashi brought a multi-media event titled "Variables" (above) to the Kyoto Art Theater Shunjuza. Specially commissioned by Kyoto Experiment the performance featured a number of female performers giving a new slant to traditional Japanese art forms. That meant a mash up between Noh theatre and wild costumes and a laser light show.
Also happening at Kyoto Experiemnt 2011 was a production of Oriza Hirata's 20-minute play "Android-Human Theater Sayonara" at the Kyoto Art Center Multi-purpose Hall. The production features actress Bryler Long, one of the star's of Koji Fukada's "Hospitalité", as a young woman facing death. Her only companion is an android who reads poetry to her. The real Twist to "Sayonara" is that the android was actually portrayed by an android, the Gemenoid F, to be precise. You can check out a little of the play in this British news item (below) filmed during an earlier production of the play.