With the end of the war, Japan had become a vacant lot. Vast vacant lots appeared once again in Kansai in 1995 and in Tohoku/East Japan in 2011, following a series of earthquakes. Written during the frenzied collapse of the bubble economy, Shogo Ota’s 1992 play, Vacant Lot, too, portrays a man and woman visiting a vacant lot after the demolition of their home. This vacant lot, however – which for the couple recalls the past – somehow gives us a sense of hope.
Director Yuta Hagiwara is the leader of Kamome Machine, boldly interpreting plays both ancient and modern, Eastern and Western into contemporary times. In this Theater Commons Tokyo performance, he will read aloud together with participants, exploring the necessity of examining the “vacant lots” that have appeared time and again in this country. Now, with the Olympics just on the horizon, the city is attempting undergo changes, constructing a large number of buildings on this unstable land – and yet, our common ground appears to lie not in architecture and developments, but rather in vacant lots. Here in Tokyo, in March 2019, you are invited to give yourself over to Ota’s words, and gaze into the voids to come.
Tokyo, 2019. An aphrodisiac splashes into our day-to-day routines, creating a ripple effect across the city – someone is reading aloud from a script. Introducing Reading Performances.
Reading a script aloud is theater’s most basic activity, accessible to all – not only actors. There are, however, surprisingly few people who have actually read an entire play out loud from beginning to end. If one were to do so now, then – somewhere in Tokyo as it awaits the Olympics – where should one read and whose words should one choose?
We posed this question to three directors. In this series, which is titled Reading Performances, cold readings of the plays these directors have proposed will be held in specific locations by a variety of participants: no special preparations, no rehearsals, thrown together randomly, just reading aloud from the words in the script. Written in the past, how will these words be transformed in the here and now by passing through the bodies of those who live in Tokyo in 2019? The times and places selected for these modest readings will figure as aphrodisiacs, creating ripple effects in the city’s day-to-day routines.
Born in 1983, Yuta Hagiwara is a director, as well as the leader of theater company Kamome Machine. He began working with theater during his time at Waseda University, and has since been awarded the Aichi Arts Revitalization Initiative’s 13th AAF Drama Award; the Toga Theatre Competition’s Excellence Award 2016; and the top award at the Asakusa Kid Hongyo Reading Impressions Contest. Hagiwara has appeared as a performer in Natsuko Tezuka’s Personal Anatomy Experiment 6 Journey from a Virtual Image. He participated in Theatertreffen: International Forum, held in Berlin 2018.
Shogo Ota was a director and playwright born in 1939 in Shandong, China. He passed away in 2007. In 1963, he participated in the establishment of Tenkei Theater Company, becoming its leader in 1970. He was awarded the Kishida drama prize for The Tale of Komachi Told by the Wind, which premiered in 1977. Ota’s play Water Station, premiering in 1981, is known as an avant-garde “silent play” which has no lines. It has been performed in over 20 cities across the world, in concert with his other two silent plays, Earth Station and Fire Station. Following Tenkei’s dissolution in 1988, Ota held successive positions as a professor at Kinki University, a professor at the Kyoto University of Art and Design and head of its Department of Film Production and Performing Arts, among others. Vacant Lot was written after his company’s dissolution, in 1992.
March 6th [Wed] / 19:00
March 10th [Sun] / 19:00
March 11th [Mon] / 14:00 *Additional Performance / 19:00
approx. 120 min.
Each performance is limited to 20 people (exceptions for special cases aside, everyone present will be given part of the play to read)
Keio University Mita Campus, Ex Noguchi Room
2-15-45 Mita, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-8345
How to Participate
Booking essential. Show general admission pass on entry.
Concept and Direction｜Yuta Hagiwara
Written by Shogo Ota
Choreography support｜Aiko Obana
Venue support｜Keio University Art Center etc.
Post-performance talk by the three artists participating in Reading Performances
Date: March 10th, following the 14:00 performance
Venue: Keio University Mita Campus, Ex Noguchi Room
Number of places: approx. 50
Show general admission pass on entry (first come, first served)