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Magnet culture starting from Kanagawa

神奈川からはじまるマグネット・カルチャー
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Kuroiwa: Today I would like to discuss the theme of "Magnet Culture - The Charm of Entertainment." First, let's hear about the original musical "HEADS UP!" which premiered here at KAAT Kanagawa Arts Theater in November 2015 and gained popularity. It will be re-performed here from the 14th of this month.

LaSalle: We'll be performing here at KAAT from December 14th to 17th, and we'll have performances in Toyama and Nagano in January, Osaka and Nagoya in February, and Akasaka in March. I have mainly worked in comedy, but I had been planning this musical 10 years ago. KAAT picked up that project, and after much trial and error, we were able to create the musical we had always dreamed of. I was very happy. This would not have been possible without the cooperation of KAAT and Kanagawa Prefecture.

Kuroiwa: Right now, we're trying to bring people together through culture and art, which is called magnet culture, or ``Magcal'' for short. The image is Broadway. Whenever I go to Broadway, there's always something interesting going on, and that's what I want to do in Kanagawa. I wanted to create something that you have to come here to see, and if you want to see it, come back to Kanagawa again, so I asked Mr. LaSalle to create an original musical at KAAT as something that was born here. I was really happy.
``HEADS UP!'' is a behind-the-scenes story, but it was far more interesting than I expected, and it attracted many people.
In Kanagawa, we are promoting a magnet culture (Magcal) that attracts people who are doing interesting things and meeting interesting people like a magnet. I want to create it.

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LaSalle: When I first heard from the governor that Yokohama was going to be turned into Broadway, I was surprised at how grand the story was, but at the same time, I was also filled with courage.

Kuroiwa: Will this re-performance be the same as the first performance?

LaSalle: This time, we will have almost the same members. I think the reason so many busy people took time out of their schedules was because everyone wanted to do it again.

Kuroiwa: We're talking on the KAAT stage right now. KAAT has a good reputation for being easy to watch for the audience, and it's also very popular for the performers, but what about the production side?

LaSalle: Fascinating. The stage is wide and deep. There is enough distance for both images from the front and from behind, so images can be shot from the rear (*1). For example, you can make a real car pop out from the back, or you can set up a stage. I can also do okepi (*2). Above all, the proscenium (*3) moves, making it wider. There's no other place like it. “HEADS UP!” was also born here.

Kuroiwa: “HEADS UP!” was possible because there was a theater called KAAT.

LaSalle: That's true. I was just practicing here. There's a lift called the Genie that lifts the lights up electrically, but very few people use it on stage. If you are rehearsing at another rehearsal hall and want to use it at another theater, you will never use it. If I asked KAAT to let me use it, they would let me use it, and I would be able to take it to other performances as well, so I wouldn't have been able to do it without KAAT.

Kuroiwa: That is exactly what Magcal is. First of all, we want KAAT to become a source of entertainment and spread it throughout Kanagawa. Mr. LaSalle is also a member of the ``Magcal Table,'' which provides expert advice on cultural and artistic activities. Based on Mr. LaSalle's proposal, we started a project called ``Magcal Night'' in November. This project features stand-up comedy, jazz, street performances, and other performances every Wednesday.

LaSalle: I'm also a member of the Japan Stand-up Comedy Association, so I'll do my best to cooperate as much as possible so that we can continue to create such mechanisms.

Kuroiwa: Broadway has great musicals and plays. People come from all over the world to see it. I would like Kanagawa to become such a place, so please lend me your support.

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Please look forward to Kanagawa Prefecture's cultural programs.

~After the conversation~
In 2019, Kanagawa will host the Rugby World Cup 2019 TM final, and in 2020, competitions such as sailing will be held at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. In order for our guests from overseas to have fun, we want to create a cultural program that is a theater space that connects people beyond words, by holding cultural and artistic events at all times.
Up until now, we have held festivals of musicals and short plays that take advantage of the uniqueness of the region, and we would like to continue to increase these programs using KAAT as a base. I would like to aim to create a new cultural legacy that allows people to experience moving experiences on a different level.

Yuji Kuroiwa

*1 "Rear": Rear screen. A one-piece curtain that can illuminate the front and back of the screen.
*2 “Okepi”: Orchestra pit. A sunken area between the stage and the audience where the orchestra performs at an opera.
*3 "Proscenium": Proscenium arch. A theater system in which the stage and audience seats are clearly separated by a proscenium (picture frame).
(Source: National Association of Public Cultural Facilities “Stage Terminology Handbook for People Working in Theaters and Halls” (March 2014))

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