People meet and works are born. Wharf workshop
August 29, 2018. Eighteen young people from China, Singapore and Japan gathered in a small building in Wakabacho, Yokohama. It was Shin Sato who hosted the "Wakabacho Wharf" here. They came to attend a 20-day workshop with director Liu Xiao Yi, who Sato invited from Singapore. How do they communicate and create a single work because they can't communicate with each other and have different cultural backgrounds? The process of creation and cross-cultural exchange can be said to be the biggest theme of the workshop.
Sato: I haven't had any concerns about Singapore since I've been working with Liu in Nanjing seven years ago, but this is my first attempt to recruit participants in China. I couldn't predict the reaction, so I decided to start early, and when I posted it on SNS last December, I was surprised that many applications were received in just three days. "
In recent years, the development of contemporary drama has been remarkable in China, and its momentum is reminiscent of Japan's 1960s. With the rise of privately run theaters, the term "independent theater person", which does not belong to state-owned theaters, was coined, and excellent works are being announced one after another.
Liu "Wakabacho Wharf is not just a theater, but an interest in being a hub for cultural exchangeI was attracted. I've worked with Mr. Sato many times, but this time it's a little different. Various people come from various cities and create works while living together. It's a cross-cultural exchange. The environment isn't ready yet, but I'd like to try it in my country, Singapore someday. "
A workshop is a means of problem solving. And the theme to be solved this time is how members who do not understand each other cooperate to create a work. The languages used are Japanese, English, and Chinese. Of course, volunteer interpreters are available, but you cannot rely entirely on communication in individual rehearsals. Participants will aim for mutual understanding by taking all means such as smartphone translation software and gestures.
Sato: "The important thing is that each person can speak in their native language. Otherwise, people who can speak English, even though it is called international exchange, tend to be the center. At the starting point, words are also needed to convey the concept. However, once you actually start making a work, you don't really need words. In the first place, there are cases where you can't really understand each other just because Japanese people fought for an hour. You can't rely on words. That's why I think we can convey the most important issues deeply. "
During the 20th, a tour of Koenji in Tokyo and KAAT (Kanagawa Arts Theater) in Yokohama, and a workshop inviting theater and dance instructors were held. At the workshop inviting Noh performer Kanji Shimizu, he was inspired by Mr. Shimizu's improvisational dance and experienced sharing a special space with all the participants.
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Liu: There was a conflict at first, but I think it wasn't just about the problem of not being able to speak, but also about not being able to speak theatrical language. We may have met through theater. You may have met through art, but there is always a task called "translation" in the process.
I think Mr. Sato is in a state of trial and error, but I don't think it's just a matter of language. Cultural exchanges and acting exchanges are also necessary, so interpreters in various senses are required each time. And that's the most interesting thing for me. "
Sato: "Preparation was difficult, but the whole process was interesting since the workshop started. It's a great learning place not only for the participants but also for me."
The Japanese translation of "teaching" into Chinese is "education." When this is retranslated, it feels like a word in which "teach" and "learn" and "teaching" and "learning" coexist. It seems that teaching is also learning.
While teaching young people, I take the reaction into myself and continue to learn by developing it further. Liu is attracted to Sato because he can see his attitude.
Liu "Cultural exchange requires a certain amount of time. It is difficult and challenging to continue in the same environment, but I would like to continue for a while.Su. Also, a network may be built among the young people who participated, and new things may start to move. Since I'm only training here, I may have a feeling of "I want to do something more fun" (laughs). "
Then, we welcomed the performance "No Boat in sight-" as a comprehensive summary. The performance will be held only twice, September 15th (Sat) and 16th (Sun). The small studio in Wakabacho Wharf was filled with the enthusiasm of the crowded customers on both days. Eighteen young people who tried to convey the whereabouts of "flowers / or riverbed rubble" to the audience in their own way against the background of the three-language text projected on the wall. They set sail to their respective worlds through the open door.
What they hummed on the curtain call was a song that was born spontaneously during the 20 days of sleeping and eating together. Japanese, English, Chinese, and Tamil. Overcoming the frustration of not being able to understand the language, and making full use of gestures and smartphone apps, the time to talk hard about environmental issues and world affairs came to an end.
Sato: "I don't know what it means to do what I'm doing now. It happens everywhere that I get to know each other the moment I meet. But we're one step ahead of getting along. There are some incomprehensible sufferings in the process. Two weeks of communal living is terrible.It's very stressful, but this time their motivation was so high that I think they were able to resolve various stresses on their own initiative. "
Liu "How to solve the problem in front of you in an environment where you can't understand the language. Writing on paper, making gestures, and living together was like a beautiful stage in itself."
Sato: "This workshop will continue from next year onward, and at the same time, we will launch a follow-up project aiming to create future works. We have to summarize the contents as soon as possible and start recruiting. This recruitment alone is in China. Keeps dozens of young people waiting. "
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