People meet and produce works. Dockside workshop
August 29, 2018. Eighteen young people from China, Singapore and Japan gathered in a small building in Wakaba, Yokohama. The convening party was Shin Sato, who hosts the Wakaba Warf here. They came to participate in the 20-day workshop with director Sue invited by Sato from Singapore. How do they communicate with each other and have different cultural backgrounds and communicate with each other to create one work? The most important theme of the workshop is the creative process and cross-cultural exchange.
Sato: I haven't had any worries about Singapore since I've been working with Liu since I worked in Nanjing seven years ago, but it's my first attempt to recruit participants in China. Since I couldn't predict the reaction, I decided to start early, and when I made an announcement on SNS in December last year, I was surprised that many applications were received in just three days."
In recent years, the development of modern theater has been remarkable in China, and its momentum is reminiscent of Japan's 1960s. With the rise of theaters run by the private sector, the word "independent theater person" who does not belong to the state-run theater was born, and excellent works are being announced one after another.
Liu "I'm interested in Wakabacho Wharf being a base for cultural exchange, not just a theater I was attracted. I've worked with Sato-san many times, but this time it's a little different. Various people come from various cities to work together while living together. It is truly a cultural exchange. I'm not ready for the environment right now, but I'd like to try it someday in my country, Singapore.''
A workshop is a means of problem solving. And the theme to be solved this time is how the members who do not understand each other work together to create a work. The languages used are Japanese, English, and Chinese. Of course, interpreter volunteers will be provided, but we cannot rely entirely on communication at each rehearsal hall. Participants will aim for mutual understanding by using all means such as smartphone translation software and gestures.
Sato : What is important is that each person can speak out in their native language. Otherwise, people who can speak English at the same time as international exchange tend to be the center. At the starting point, words are also needed to convey the concept. However, when I actually started to make a work, words were almost unnecessary.In the first place, it may not be possible to say that Japanese people really struggled with each other for one hour, they couldn't really understand each other. That's why I think I can convey the most important problems deeply.”
During the 20th, tours of Koenji Temple in Tokyo and KAAT (Kanagawa Arts Theater) in Yokohama were held, and workshops were held inviting lecturers of theater and dance. At the workshop, which invited Noh performer Kanji Shimizu, he was inspired by Mr. Shimizu's improvisational dance, and he also 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 the fact that we didn't understand the language, but the fact that we couldn't understand the theatrical language. You may have known each other through art, but there is always a work called "translation" in the process.
I think Sato-san is in a trial-and-error state, but I don't think it's just a matter of language. Cultural exchanges and acting exchanges are also necessary, so interpreters in various meanings are required each time. And that's the most interesting thing for me.''
Sato "Preparation was difficult, but since the workshop started, the whole process has been interesting. It's a great learning place for me as well as for the participants."
"Teaching" is the translation of Japanese "teaching" into Chinese. When retranslated, it feels like the words "teach" and "learn" and "teaching" and "learning" coexist. It seems that teaching is also learning.
While teaching the young people, incorporating the reaction into themselves and further developing them, they continue to learn themselves. Liu is attracted to Sato because he can see his posture.
Liu: Cultural exchange requires a certain amount of time. I think it is difficult and difficult to continue in the same environment, but I would like to continue for a while.You Also, among the young people who participated, a network may be built up, and new things may start. Since I'm only training here, I'm starting to feel like I want to do something more fun (laughs)."
And, the performance "No Boat in sight-" was received as a comprehensive summary. Production will only be held twice on Saturday, September 15th and Sunday, September 16th. The small studio in Wakabacho Wharf was full of enthusiasm for a crowded guest on both days. Eighteen young people tried to convey the whereabouts of "flowers/or riverbed rubble" to the audience with their own expressions against the background of texts in three languages projected on the wall. They set sail for each world through the open doors.
What they hummed at the curtain call was a song that spontaneously emerged during the 20 days of sleeping and eating together. Japanese, English, Chinese, and Tamil. It was here that the time was over where we could talk over environmental issues and world affairs by overcoming the frustration of not being able to speak words, making full use of gestures and smartphone apps.
Sato: I don't know what it means to be doing in the middle of the process. The moment you meet, it's easy to get along everywhere, but we're one step ahead. There are some unsatisfied pains in the process.It's a lot of stress, but this time their motivation was so high that I was able to solve various stresses voluntarily.
Liu "How to solve the problem in front of you in an environment where you don't understand the language. Writing on paper, gesturing, and living together was itself a beautiful stage."
Sato: “This workshop will continue from next year, and we will also launch a follow-up project aimed at creating future works. We need to summarize the content as early as possible and start recruiting. This recruitment only in China Is waiting for dozens of young people.''
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