Q / Satoko Ichihara
"Yoroboshi: The Weakling"

  • Theater
© Jörg Baumann
A contemporary Buranku piece, in which dolls take on human karma, leads the audience beyond good and evil.
Satoko Ichihara breaks new ground with a contemporary interpretation of the legend of the Blind Weakling (Shuntokumaru).

The legend of Shuntokumaru, an ancient tale in Japan, has been a source of inspiration for the Japanese literary imagination, as seen in works of Noh, Bunraku, Kabuki, as well as novels. Playwright and director Satoko Ichihara creates a new puppet show that incorporates the form of traditional Japanese Bunraku while reinterpreting the narrative’s structure and tragedy in a contemporary way. She fundamentally reinterprets the tragic motifs of the original story, including child abandonment, discrimination against the ill, parent-child strife, and redemption through a queer lens, leading audience members to a truer state beyond good and evil. The dolls, which include sex dolls and mannequins, come to life through the hands of the puppeteers and perform the tragedy as human proxies, taking on their karma, desires, and violence.
The narrator Gidayu is played by Sachiko Hara, who works in Germany and is an ensemble member at Deutsches SchauSpielHaus Hamburg. The music is composed by experimental musician Kakushin Nishihara, a satsuma-biwa player who creates avant-garde sounds that incorporate elements of noise and electronic music. Serving as mediums between distinct worlds as their voices drive the story forward, the two are sure to profoundly move the souls of the audience. After its world premiere at Theater der Welt 2023 and its Japan premiere at The Museum of art, Kochi and Toyooka Theater Festival, the piece will have its Tokyo premiere at Theater Commons Tokyo.

Profile

Satoko Ichihara
Playwright, director, novelist and artistic director of Kinosaki International Arts Center(KIAC). Born in 1988 in Osaka, raised in Fukuoka Japan. Studied theater at J.F. Oberlin University. Ichihara Satoko has led the theater company Q since 2011. She writes and directs plays that deal with human behavior, the physiology of the body, and the unease surrounding these themes, using her unique sense of language and physical sensitivity. In 2011, received the Aichi Arts Foundation Drama Award with the play “Insects”. In 2017, Nominated for finalist of 61st Kishida Kunio Playwriting Prize for “Favonia’s Fruitless Fable”. In 2019, she published her first collection of stories, Mamito no tenshi (Mamito’s Angel). In the same year, “The Bacchae−Holstein Milk Cows” based on a Greek tragedy, premiered at Aichi Triennale 2019 and won the 64th Kishida Kunio Playwriting Prize. In 2021, she co-produced “Madama Butterfly” with the Theater Neumarkt (Zurich), which was presented at Zurcher Theater Spektakel, SPIELART Theatre Festival (Munich) and Wiener Festwochen. In 2023, “Yoroboshi: The Weakling” premiered at Theater der Welt 2023 (Frankfurt).

© Bea Borgers

Dates

March 8th [Fri]/19:00
March 9th [Sat]/13:00
* Commons Forum #2 (Booking essential.)/19:00
March 10th [Sun]/14:00
*Talk (after the performance)

Performance times

Approx. 90 min.

Venue

Spiral Hall
3F Spiral, 5-6-23 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0062

Ticket

Adults | 5,000 yen
Students | 4,000 yen

*No assigned seating.
*This work contains depictions of sexual and physical violence.
*Recommended minimum age: 16 years.

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Language

Japanese (with English subtitles)

Credit

Direction and Writing | Satoko Ichihara
Narrator | Sachiko Hara
Music, Biwa | Kakushin Nishihara
Music Coordinate | Kenichi Iijima
Puppeteer | Terunobu Osaki, Seira Nakanishi, Ryota Hatanaka
Stage Design | Tomomi Nakamura
Light | Rie Uomori (kehaiworks), Hitomi Kiuchi
Sound | Takeshi Inarimori
Movie | Kotaro Konishi, Kosuke Katakura
Costume | Hanaka Kiki, Natsuki Oku
Doll Creation | Eri Fukasawa, Yosuke Sato, Yuna Yoshida, Kenichiro Okonogi, Mugiho Sasaki
Doll Creation Support | Mika Kan
Translation and Surtitles | SPRACHSPIEL, Sachi Abe
Stage Assistant | Tomoko Nakamura
Stage Manager | Daijiro Kawakami
Production Coordinator | Makiko Yamazato
Co-production | Theater der Welt 2023, Festival d’Automne à Paris, DE SINGEL, The Museum of Art, Kochi, Toyooka Theater Festival, Theater Commons Tokyo, Kinosaki International Arts Center (Toyooka city)
Supported by The Saison Foundation

Organized by Theater Commons Tokyo Executive Committee
Venue Support | Wacoal Art Center

Related programs

Commons Forum #2 Gender and performance today”
Date | March 9th [Sat] 15:00–17:00

Commons Tour (Tour B)
Dates | March 9th [Sat], 10th [Sun]