A 20-day challenge for 14 people from 5 countries to notice differences and learn about free expression. wharf workshop 2019
July 2019. Fourteen performers gathered at Wakabacho Wharf, where the director and playwright Makoto Sato serves as artistic director. They are from Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, Singapore, Nanjing, Chongqing, Beijing, Hefei, Xi'an, Lijiang, Shanghai, and Tokyo. They came to participate in the "Wharf Workshop", which will be held for the second time this year.
What are they looking for here? We interviewed Sato, the organizer of the workshop, and two participants (Cheng Wei and Wei Wei).
Sato What I want to do in this workshop is to build a new network of young people. I'm looking for connections from person to person rather than broadly.
The other is to convey a free methodology in creative activities. I want to convey that you can create more freely without being bound by preconceived notions.
My theory is that people are 99% the same. Even if there are differences in qualities, they are happy and shed tears at the same things. That's why it's difficult to recognize the difference, and we interpret what the other person says in our own way and assume that we understand each other.
However, no matter how small the "difference" is, it is very important. By meeting various people here, learning that there are various types of theater, and experiencing different things than before, I want you to notice the “differences” within us. That is the most important thing.
I met Mr. Cheng Sato at a workshop held in Beijing. I am very fascinated by Mr. Sato's theatrical method of exchanging opinions with people who have different ideas and confirming each other's differences while creating a work, so this is the second time I have participated in the wharf workshop following last year. am.
Last year, I brought back the methodology of "expressing using the body" that I learned here, and passed it on to local (Beijing) actors to create.
MamoruI attended Mr. Sato's workshop for the first time last year, and was exposed to the method of "exploring differences" for the first time. I already had my own creative methods, but learning new methods was very useful for my creative activities after returning to Japan.
Currently, I am planning a theater festival in my hometown (Chongqing), and there will be groups performing Sato's works, and people who will create new works based on what they learned at last year's workshop. There is also I hope that Wakabacho Wharf will serve as a starting point for Mr. Sato's works and creative methods to spread throughout Asia.
What kind of place is Wakabacho Wharf?
It's a very friendly place. Even though I came here for the first time in a year, I didn't feel any blank time. The city is so friendly to us that it feels like being back at home with a big family. I would like to create a place like this in Beijing where young people can gather.
As with the Koganecho Bazaar near Mamoru , I believe that attempts to revitalize the city through the power of art are more meaningful than building skyscrapers. The construction of buildings and commercial facilities may speedily develop the city. Compared to that, it takes a lot of time to promote culture and the arts, but I think we can leave something good for the next generation.
What kind of works will be created this year?
Sato There is no doubt that it will be completely different from last year (laughs).
The stage work that I think of is ultimately completed by the audience who sees it, so I want to leave "blank space" in what I offer. I am always thinking about how the audience can participate in the work.
Mamoru : Until now, I have mainly focused on storytelling in my creative activities. The method of pulling through the story is simple and easy to understand, but the audience is always passive. Here, it is necessary for the audience to think together, and there is no correct answer to the conclusions that each person has come to. If he thinks he is white, he is white, and if he is black, he is black. It's all up to the audience to think and decide for themselves.
By learning these techniques, I was able to realize the "tolerance" of theater. I think it is very important for young artists to freely express what is different from others.
In recent years, Cheng has become more and more involved in theater as a director, but in this workshop you will create your own plays and perform them yourself. It's a lot of fun to act, and that's exactly what Mr. Sato says, "Theater is freedom." I really feel that new methods and ideas are born from freedom.
The world needs new art. For that, it is necessary to discover and excavate new things, and it is very meaningful to be free here.
The Sato performance is an image of showing the final process of the workshop to the audience, so I would like you to be there and think freely together.
The 14 performers perform freely as they feel, sometimes collaborating. In a tense space, someone says a passage of text, and someone else repeats it in another language. It's not like I'm telling a story, and there's some language I don't understand, but it's strange that I feel somewhat relieved when someone speaks to me.
What do they feel on stage and what are they trying to convey? I didn't "understand" something, but I think I was able to feel a dense time with a sense of unity.
After this performance, they will return to their respective worlds. It is also the beginning of the next step.
“This is the ‘starting point’, so I don’t think it’s necessary to bring it all the way to completion. What I think is amazing about this workshop is how quickly it spreads. I would like to see various completed forms.”
The “something” that Makoto Sato wants to convey will lead to the world one step ahead.