Fun to watch and listen to! A fun, light, yet deeply moving musical by the theater company “Anju no Chi”
(“Drape the Strange land” performed at KAAT in 2020)
An award-winning performance by the group "Anju no Chi," which won the Kanagawa Short Drama Award 2021 Grand Prize, will be performed at the Kanagawa Prefectural Youth Center Studio HIKARI from February 23 to 26, 2021 (scheduled).
"Anju no Chi" is a theater company/artist group based in Kyoto that collaborates with various cultures and presents "mixed media" works.
This work, ``Drape the Strange land'', has been performed in Kanagawa, Kyoto, Shizuoka, and abroad in England and Germany, in various forms from one-person to nine-person plays.
Screenplay and direction by Masaya Okamoto. Continuing from the premiere, the costumes will be created by Yushokobayashi, and will be reconstructed as a musical in collaboration with Yasuhiro Kasamatsu's music.
We welcomed three people involved in the work and asked them about the highlights of the work.
- Please tell us how you felt when you performed “Bolero no Retrospect” and won the grand prize at the Kanagawa Short Drama Awards 2021.
Okamoto : I was very happy to receive the grand prize.
At that time, the coronavirus pandemic was in full swing, and some groups were unable to participate due to coronavirus infection, and the production was also a work that dealt with the problems faced while living during the coronavirus pandemic, and the entire theater world was in a depressed mood. , the awards were held with the condition that there would be no audience.
After receiving the award, I was able to share with the other members the anxiety they were feeling at the time, and I felt it was very valuable to have a lot of conversations about how we should continue our activities in the future.
In addition, Mr. Kasamatsu, who provided the music this time, is participating as a judge, and he said, ``There are many difficult times due to the coronavirus pandemic, but let's continue to create works!'' It's no good for young people to become depressed while the world has such strong energy! I felt like I was able to tighten my mind.
The award left a very strong impression on me, as it was stimulating to be able to participate in a place where artists of all generations came together to do something.
-Please tell us the highlights of "Drape the Strange land" which will be performed in February.
Okamoto : This work is a play that has been performed many times by Anju no Chi.
This is a story about a traveler who was feeling lonely in Europe. During his trip, he meets an immigrant in a certain country, and through their own loneliness, they start a conversation, albeit in a different language.
As we live our lives, how do we live with people who have different values and cultures than us? Even in our daily lives, we sometimes feel different from other people, and I think this content is relevant to those aspects. If you look at it from a broader perspective, I think it's a work that also includes social issues and the international situation, so I hope you enjoy it while thinking about those aspects as well.
From the first performance until now, the content has been heavy and has a serious atmosphere, but this time the script has been improved, and with new costumes and music collaboration, it is a light and fun piece.
It feels like the work is growing to the point where we couldn't create it on our own. That's the best part.
I think it will be a new way of looking at it that can also be used as entertainment. It feels like it's a new product, having been remade again. Since it's a musical, the atmosphere is such that even children can enjoy watching it. Because it's a heavy subject, I want to create a work that has the premise of being fun to watch and listen to, and that also has the issues behind it.
-Yushokobayashi, an up-and-coming fashion designer. You have been creating the costumes since the first production. Please tell us the highlights of the costumes for this work.
yushokobayashi : I met Okamoto-kun when I lived in London for five years, and we decided to create a piece together. I remember collecting cheap materials from thrift shops in England.
When I heard the content of the work, I felt like I was connected to the immigrant position of the characters, so I created the costumes to express ``what it looks like from that position'' in the work.
At that time, perhaps because I was creating costumes based on the position and perspective of the immigrant in the work, that ``heaviness'' was inevitably reflected in the work, but three years after returning to Japan, where I was born and raised, has been switched.
This time, all the costumes used from the first performance to the previous performance have been remade. From my perspective now that I'm no longer an immigrant, I'm thinking about how I can recreate the costumes when music is added and the piece is reborn as a new work, and I'm in the process of researching new formats and reproducing it. Although it is bright and light, I am thinking about how to express the weight of the background contained therein through fashion.
I just want it to look interesting. I think it will have even more depth and personality than the first costume, so please pay attention to the costume.
- Yasuhiro Kasamatsu, who is active worldwide as a composer. Please tell us some points about the songs in your current work.
Kasamatsu : Coincidentally, I also spent about a month in London, where the story is set, and I felt a sense of sympathy with the work.
In addition, when I went to various countries as a cultural exchange envoy from the Agency for Cultural Affairs, four countries in Central and South America left a lasting impression on me. The members of the string quartet I met there were all of different nationalities, and some had refugee experience. We exchanged many words and realized that each of us had different experiences, ideas, and values. For the past few years, I have been trying to figure out how to digest what I learned there and incorporate it into my own work.Shortly after that, I saw Okamoto's work as a judge and was impressed. It was.
The work "Wearing a foreign land" fit perfectly with the theme of my current life.
I want to participate in this too! As musicians, I want to create works together! I felt this strongly, and immediately approached Okamoto after seeing the work.
When the collaboration was decided and I looked at the lines, I thought it should be a song that makes people laugh at the heavy content, and that even though it's an angry song, it should be a really fun song. I worked hard to figure out how to compose the lines, which are a mixture of Japanese, English, and German, to create music. It seemed like a challenge from Okamoto-kun. lol
I took on the challenge with the feeling that no one else could do it. Put different languages on the same melody. I may not have been able to do it when I was younger, but I think I was able to do it because I have the know-how of what to do now that I have more experience. I'm really glad we met at this timing.
For this project, I will have the wonderful guitarist Taro Sukegawa, who I trust very much, perform a song that I created live. I hope you enjoy the bouncy, lively and light sound that only he can produce.
- Ayano Nakamura, who belongs to the theater troupe ``Anju no Chi'' and will appear in the play that will be performed this time. Please tell us your thoughts on this work from an actor's perspective.
Nakamura : I have been involved in this work since the first one-man play. Although diversity is recognized, differences in language, culture, customs, and thoughts still persist in various relationships.
``How should we understand the differences that exist? Do we accept? Do we rebel? Where should we place ourselves?'' This work is a story that explores such questions.
By borrowing various elements such as music, costumes, actors, and my experience performing in various places, I would like to create a work that will make you reconsider who you are.
- As you are from Anju no Chi, whose activities are based in Kyoto, please tell us about your enthusiasm for performing in Kanagawa.
Okamoto : It is very meaningful for us to perform in a place different from our base. Customer reactions vary greatly depending on the region, so it's very interesting and educational. This will be my first time to perform independently in Kanagawa, so I'm really looking forward to meeting the Kanagawa audience!
The Kanagawa Short Drama Award is a very fond memory for Anju no Chi.
On the day I won the award, I walked along the coast, and congratulations on winning the grand prize! The moment I said this to the members, a very strong sea breeze blew. I felt as if I was being celebrated by Kanagawa. LOL It remains in the hearts of all the members to the extent that people still talk about it, saying, ``That wind was really nice, wasn't it?'' I want to go to the sea again to enjoy that breeze with everyone!
It's a story about travel, and I think this work is very suitable for Kanagawa, as it has images of crossing borders and the sea. I would like many people to come and see it.