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Discussion Tomofumi Nakayama x Mariko Ono x Kensuke Yokouchi|ENGEKI KANAGAWA

鼎談 中山朋文×オノマリコ×横内謙介|ENGEKI KANAGAWA

Under the catchphrase "Magcal," theater-related businesses are currently booming in Kanagawa. First, the ``Magcal Performing Arts Academy,'' a stage talent development course, was held, and in January, the ``Kanagawa Kamome Short Drama Festival,'' a short play contest unique to Kanagawa, was started, and the support program ``Magcal Performing Arts Academy,'' which rents out theater space to theater companies, was held. After participating in ``Magcal Friday'', new developments are starting to take place, such as ``Kou'' holding a solo performance at KAAT Kanagawa Arts Theater. Therefore, on Magcal.net, we will introduce Kensuke Yokouchi, a director who is participating in the "Magical Performing Arts Academy" as a principal, and Nakayama, who is a member of the executive committee of the "Kamome Theater Festival" and the first and second Kanagawa Drama King. Mr. Tomofumi and Mr. Mariko Onomori, the organizer of "Koku" who is preparing for a solo performance at KAAT, gathered together to talk about the Kanagawa theater scene, including their enthusiasm for transmitting information from Kanagawa and the possibility of a stage scene in Kanagawa. He talked about it.

Interview & text: Eriko Arai Photo: Masamasa Nishino
Recorded on December 22, 2015: Kanagawa Prefectural Youth Center | Released on January 13, 2016

I don't think there was anything special about Tokyo.

--First, please tell us about your connection to Kanagawa and how you decided to base yourself in Kanagawa.

Onoma : I'm from Fujisawa City, Kanagawa Prefecture, and when I first thought about doing a theater performance, I chose the ST spot in Yokohama because people around me would be there. After that, I also worked as a director's assistant in Tokyo, but there are so many theater companies and performances in Tokyo, and I felt like there was no point in going out of my way to do it. Just as we were preparing for the second performance, KAAT was completed. I had written a piece that required a large space, and I wanted to perform it in a large theater, so I called and applied to rent a theater. That's why KAAT's first rental hall for theater performances is ``taste.'' A good theater was built in Kanagawa, and we even held a performance there, so there was no point in continuing to do it in Tokyo. If I can do it here, I won't have to go far, so I continue to do it in Kanagawa. If there are more people in Kanagawa who want to see theater, I would like to hold theater performances in Fujisawa and Kamakura.

Discussion: Tomofumi Nakayama x Mariko Ono x Kensuke Yokouchi

Nakayama : I originally worked as an actor in small theaters, movies, and television in Tokyo, but I was also born and raised in Yokohama, so I've always wanted to work in Yokohama. The impetus for this came about 10 years ago when my mentor had a project to create a play with local people in Mikuni-cho, Fukui, and I participated in it as an actor. From then on, I felt a strong desire to perform in my hometown, so I went back to Yokohama to see plays by various groups. When I went to see a play at the Sotetsu Honda Theater, which closed in 2014, the Yokohama Mirai Gekijin Theater was performing Norihiko Tsukuda's work called Nukegara, which I found very interesting. I said, ``Please join me,'' and I joined the team there, which is what led me to move my base to Yokohama.

``Yokohama Future Theater Theater'' was a workshop-like project to develop stage performers and disseminate their works for a limited period of three years starting in 2007, as one of the commemorative projects for the 150th anniversary of the opening of Yokohama Port. I think it was great that I met Ichiro Onishi and Satoru Jitsunashi there.

As for why I chose Yokohama, the truth is that I simply don't want to ride the train. Once you cross the Tama River, it becomes a bit stuffy (lol). Even though the streets are a bit narrow and the buildings are tall, I feel oppressed. I lived in Yokohama for 40 years, and even when I was active in Tokyo, I would go to Tokyo and come back to Yokohama, but since then, when I asked if there was anything going on in Tokyo, I realized that there was nothing in particular. I was thinking about it. However, if you ask me if there's anything going on in Yokohama, I don't think there's anything special (lol). However, if you're doing it locally, if it doesn't work out, you'll have nowhere else to go, so I think you have to work extra hard.

Yokouchi : When we started doing theater, we had a fairly simple plan: our goal was to increase the number of audiences, go to Tokyo, and perform at Kinokuniya Hall. We were just riding along with it, and we never really performed in Kanagawa, but Tobiza was originally a theater company that I formed with my friends from Atsugi High School to participate in high school drama competitions, and I... It was at this youth center that I discovered theater. They are so inseparable that if it weren't for Kanagawa, or the youth center, I wouldn't be where I am today.

At that time, the youth center had a legendary director named Tadao Tamura. While working hard at school plays, he would show plays to high school drama club members in Kanagawa Prefecture for 500 yen, saying he wanted to show children good plays. So, right after I joined my high school's drama club, my seniors brought me here, and I fell in love with theater after watching Kohei Tsuka's ``The Atami Murder Case.'' What's more, at a time when the mainstream was to show children theater, they brought what was most popular. That's why I saw the Shiki Theater Company here, and I was also able to meet Kunio Shimizu and Mitsumasa Shinozaki on stage, as they do at Jean Jean. We were also the first in the country to hold workshops. Of course, the word "workshop" wasn't even there; it was called "drama seminar." A leading theater artist was teaching drama to high school students.

There was no other place like it. For me, this was my first encounter in a public hall, and I later thought that it was a good example.

When I started Tobiza, I told Mr. Tamura, ``I'm starting a theater company,'' and he continued to support me and helped me in many ways. When he died, he said, ``I'm going to ask you to perform in a play in Yokohama,'' so I think I heard his will. I can't do something that drastic, but I feel like it would be nice to revive some of what existed back then... So, what I'm doing in Kanagawa now is more of a public activity than my own expressive activities. I am deeply moved to have started the Performing Arts Academy and to have come back to the youth center through various connections. I do it because I think it's what I should do.

A place to attract people who want to learn: Performing Arts Academy

--Magcal Performing Arts Academy, where you are the director, is a theater and musical school that opened in October 2014 with the goal of developing human resources in Kanagawa. How has it been for you to continue working for a year?

Kensuke Yokouchi

Yokouchi : At the Academy, we start by training actors, but I actually think it would be better to have a training system for writers and directors as well. You can't learn these things no matter where you learn them. I don't think that just because you give a seminar, you will definitely become a writer, but it can still be an opportunity for people who are starting to write works on their own or are wondering how to go about directing. Should be. When thinking about creating masterpieces from Kanagawa, I think it's important to expand the base and give them some sort of budget and space.

I also participated in a high school drama competition, but I didn't have a mentor, so there were times when I wished I had some guidance, especially when it came to directing. Since we formed our own group, it was a great training ground for us to make it interesting. But 20 or 30 years later, I was often surprised that I didn't know something as simple as this. When we were around, we were all just trying to figure out what to do, so it was okay to have different values, but now that I think about it, we all have a certain standard of how we say our lines, how we behave, and what we should do. It's easier to make things if you share them.

Onoma : Do you mean the standard for actors?

Yokouchi : Also, the direction. Anyway, it's tough being an actor these days. If there are three directors, each of them will say different things, and only those who can skillfully handle that will survive as professional actors. I think that's very inefficient. I want the Academy to be a place where people who want to learn, even if we can't provide a place to learn the standards, are welcome. Do you two have a mentor?

Magcal Academy practice scene

Magcal Academy practice scene

Nakayama : My mentor as an actor is Yosuke Nakajima. When I first started teaching at an acting school, I was the first student.

Onoma : I've always liked reading plays like novels. I don't do any theater myself. I liked watching it though. One day, someone told me that if I wrote something, I could try it, so I decided to write it. There was a performance at a coffee shop, and someone who was watching it told me about a ``play writing group'' that was being held at a public facility (Yokohama Civic Activities Support Center) near the landmark. It was a group similar to the Terakoya held by Hirofumi Okano, who was the editor-in-chief of Shingeki. We all learned by writing scripts and showing them to each other.

Yokouchi : Huh. Mr. Okano also grew up at a youth center. Mr. Tamura personally used this public facility to train as an actor. He opened a private school for about 20 students who had excelled in high school drama. Actresses who grew up there include Godojiko and Haruna Takase, and Okano was a member of the staff at that cram school and worked as a sound person. When I was training as a writer, Mr. Tamura would sometimes ask me to show him what I had written, and he would do things like make corrections. The reason I somehow felt that we needed to build a school here was because of that private school.

It's funny, we connected at the youth center (lol).

Magcal Theater in KAAT Theater Company “Shuukou” Performance

--The youth center seems to have a mysterious connection. Onoma-san's ``Koku'' was selected as ``Magcal Theater in KAAT'' after participating in the youth center's ``Magcal Theater''.

Onoma : Throughout the year, one organization will be selected to lend KAAT for a week. After we decided to perform the project, we submitted a proposal to KAAT several times and proceeded to proceed with the project while consulting with them. I'm a playwright, and my ``interest'' is not in a theater company, but as a one-man unit. We start with the planning, and each time we meet the director and actors. This time, we first meet Kikue Fukami, who is researching polyamory. We both belong to the Tokyo Art Point Project's ``Takashi Nagashima's Creation Research Institute,'' and in 2014 we held workshops there to learn about polyamory and created board games. After that, since polyamory is a story about multiple love relationships, I thought it would be a good idea to express it through a play, so I submitted a plan. After getting the idea, I started looking for a director who would be willing to take on the project, and KAAT introduced me to Tomoya Kiriyama, and I decided to ask him to meet me in person, talk to me, and show me footage of his productions. I did.

*POLYAMORY A sexual style/lifestyle in which you build consensual loving relationships with multiple people. It is distributed around the world, mainly in the United States.

Mariko Ono

--I understand that you haven't done any theater yourself, but how did you first encounter theater?

Onoma : When I had just graduated from university, I heard that a friend of mine was starting his own theater company, and I thought it was amazing that we could start a theater company ourselves, that we could set our own prices and sell tickets. Until then, I had thought that I needed to apply and get permission. You can do it yourself. I thought it was free and interesting, and that's when I became interested. After that, I started writing plays for Mr. Okano's Terakoya, which I mentioned earlier. Gradually, I started going to small theaters in Tokyo and Kanagawa, and when I wrote my impressions on a questionnaire, I was asked to work as a director's assistant, and while I worked as a director's assistant several times, I learned how to make plays. . Our first performance was in 2010 when we decided to try our own unit and rented an ST spot. I feel like if it was interesting, things would develop.

Kanagawa Kamome Short Theater Festival starts in January

--Now, let's talk about the 1st Kanagawa Kamome Short Drama Festival, which will be held at KAAT from January 29th to 31st. Mr. Nakayama is a member of the executive committee, and this is a competition in which short plays of 20 minutes or less are competed in a tournament format, and the winner is decided by votes from the judges and the audience. Please tell us how you decided to start as an original brand from Kanagawa.

Nakayama : To be honest, the biggest request comes from the prefecture's Magcal project. There is a short drama contest called "Gekiou" sponsored by Nagakute City, Aichi Prefecture and the Tokai Branch of the Japan Playwrights Association, and Norihiko Tsukuda, the founder, asked me to run the Kanagawa Preliminary Competition, and that's how I decided to do it. was expanded to "Gekiou Kanagawa" and held a national convention at KAAT in February of this year (2015). The ``Kamome Theater Festival'' was newly launched in Kanagawa based on the network at that time.

Tomofumi Nakayama

Yokouchi : I was involved in the idea of doing it from the beginning. I took the trouble to meet a governor who loves theater. It may be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet a ``theatre-loving leader,'' including the mayor and village chief. In order not to miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, I felt the need to do something immediately, so I started the ``Magcal Performing Arts Academy'' and ``Kamome Theater Festival.''

Running a theater festival is difficult, with many people involved and meetings lasting months. I think that encounters between people will move something, and I think it will also be an opportunity for the governor to understand that there are so many theater people in Kanagawa. I'm looking forward to the changes that will occur in the town and the encounters people will have as a result of holding events, and I think ``Kamome'' will be a very good device for that purpose. What's more, the Nakayama-san's generation is managing it well, so I think it can become something that will lead into the future, but what do you think?

Nakayama : That's right. Kanagawa has a history of amateur theater, and there are many theater people, but there were no horizontal connections and I didn't have many opportunities to meet people. After I started participating in the Kanagawa preliminaries for ``Gekiou'', I started interacting with other theater artists of my generation, and it was there that I met Onoma-san. I think the best thing about it was that it became an opportunity for us to meet each other. I also did ``Gekiou Kanagawa'' four times, and in 2015, several theater companies born in the Heisei era participated, which was really great. Of course, there are many opposing opinions about what to do with rankings. Moreover, these rules make it easy to develop trends and countermeasures for how to be popular with the audience and be evaluated by the judges, and to be honest, I can't help but think that if it goes too far, it becomes uninteresting (lol). However, formulating a strategy will definitely lead to the power of the theater company, and I think it will definitely come into play when creating the play for this performance.

"Kanagawa Kamome Short Play Festival"

Onoma : Well, I don't think it's dangerous to become good at short stories. Personally, I published a short story that was quite serious and didn't get a lot of votes. However, I got to meet a lot of theater people, and until then I didn't know there was a theater company in Odawara, so it was fun.

Nakayama : Mr. Onoma was in the same block as us, but he received a high number of judges' votes. The ``Kamome Theater Festival'' also invites people with a variety of backgrounds to serve as judges, and we leave it up to each individual to decide how to allocate points. For example, if you have 40 points, you can choose ``20, 10, 10, 0,'' or you can give 1 point. The governor gave us 0 points (lol). After the results are announced, it's also fun to have the judges comment on each work. This time, we have asked Mr. Yokouchi to be a judge as well.

Yokouchi : I've only seen ``Gekioh,'' but this is my first time judging ``Kamome,'' but since it's in front of the person in question, I have to put my heart into it. As for why I think it's boring, I'm going to go with my own view of theater. After all, if you listen carefully to the judges' reviews, you'll find that they're talking about your own play. Since each of us is a writer or a director, the standard can only be ``my own.'' So, it will be fun to hear their comments as part of the event.

I think there is a possibility of doing it locally.

--Mr. Yokouchi serves as the artistic director of Atsugi Bunka Kaikan, and the new productions of Tobiza Theater Company, which you lead, are always performed in Atsugi on the opening day and during the final stage. How do you feel the difference between Atsugi and other places?

Yokouchi : It's not a regional difference, but a "difference in relationships." In the case of Atsugi, there are local people who call themselves the cheering group and have been supporting us for over ten years. When we say we can't sell tickets, they try to bring in more people, they buy ramen for the young actors, they let us stay overnight when the actors can't go home...they continue to support us. Yes. When someone who used to play a supporting role gets a good role, they're happy to support you, and when you're in Tokyo, they follow you and come see you. A place where there are customers who continue to watch from a fixed point, observing how the actors are brought up and the state of the theater company. I think there is a possibility of doing this locally. We're comfortable there, so we'll definitely start and end in Atsugi, and the other side is also looking forward to it.

When a German named Peter Gessner served as the artistic director of the Chofu Sengawa Theater for two years, he talked about how people should behave toward having a theater in their town. That left an impression on me. KAAT was established in Yokohama. Actually, I think we should get more excited about the fact that there is such an interesting place in our town, and I think we need to do more to make it even more exciting. I'll go if it's interesting, no? I think that having a theater in your town means that you can watch anything and support it together.

Onoma : It's the relationship between the theater and the town, and the theater and the people.

Yokouchi : And the theater will also do its best to show something as interesting as possible. I want to create that kind of relationship and environment.

So whether it's KAAT or a youth center, I think we need to show our presence as something more public. Of course, a commercial aspect is necessary, but it cannot function in the same way as a commercial theater. Local theater artists perform at the theater and people support them. I would like to create such customers. I don't think it's necessary to try hard in Kanagawa for celebrities to come and do flashy things to attract customers. We want to create customers who support the theater.

Deeper and broader - future prospects

――After hearing your story, I felt that Kanagawa has its own special characteristics that are different from Tokyo. Lastly, please tell us about your aspirations and prospects for your future activities.

Nakayama : First of all, we want as many people as possible to see the Kamome Theater Festival. This time there will be two groups from Kanagawa, and two groups from South Korea. Also, on a personal note, our practice hall is right next to the Keikyu Kanagawa Shinmachi station, and we have a meet-and-greet there once a month. The ``Yokohama Drama Salon,'' which was held once a month by the now defunct Sotetsu Honda Theater, is now held at our rehearsal hall and continues to be held. I would like to be able to fulfill functions such as providing a venue for young theater companies. When I heard Mr. Yokouchi's story about the cheering group, I thought it would be nice to have a place like this in terms of ties with the local community.

Onoma : First of all, I want to make "THE GAME OF POLYAMORY LIFE" in January a good work. Also, I often work with high school students in Tokyo and Osaka. I embellish the scripts for competition judges and Komaba Agora Theater's ``High School Drama Summit,'' a project to show high school plays to adults. I was once asked to write a script by the Osaka high school drama club that I became friends with there. As I listened to the stories of high school students, I became very interested in them, so this year I plan to work on creating a piece with them. ``THE GAME OF POLYAMORY LIFE'' is also priced at 1,000 yen for those under 18 years old. This is a work that depicts a variety of love and lifestyles, and I think it will resonate with people of all ages, so I would like many people to come and see it.

Yokouchi : After increasing the number of participants in the Academy and increasing the denominator, I would like to start making works next year and create something that I can show by the end of next year (2016). If you don't have that kind of goal, it will be difficult to just take lessons.

<Performer profile>
Tomofumi Nakayama
Born in Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture in 1974. Actor, director, playwright. Head of theater 045 syndicate.
In 2001, he made his acting debut in Sunshine Theater's ``One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest''. Although he was active in small theaters, movies, and T㈸ in Tokyo, he returned to his hometown of Yokohama in 2007 and joined the Yokohama Mirai Gekijin Theater. After disbanding, they launched theater 045 syndicate (Theater Zeroyongo Syndicate) in 2010. In addition to theaters, we also handle plays, live performances, and dance events at bars in the city and restaurants in Chinatown. In 2012, he produced "Gekioh He won the championship and represented Kanagawa in the Tenka Unification Tournament held in Nagakute City. After that, Gekioh will be held four times at the youth center. The first and second generation Kanagawa Drama King. The main works performed in the city include "Streetcar Udon," "Mary-san's Coffin," "Tora☆Harimao" (performed by Yokohama Mirai Gekijin Theater), "La Marea Yokohama" (performed), and the one-person play "Yokohama Tansu." Circumstances,” “12 Animals” (theater 045 syndicate performance), etc. My hobby is visiting bars. They often appear in Noge, Yoshida-cho, Chinatown, Sorimachi, etc.

Mariko Ono
Born in 1983. Born in Fujisawa City, Kanagawa Prefecture. Graduated from Tokyo Women's University, Faculty of Letters and Science, Department of Philosophy. Head of the theater unit "Kokoku".
In 2015, ``The story of the former gymnasium built by Antonin Raymond being demolished'' was performed at Theater Tram Next Generation vol.7. In January 2016, he was selected for Magcal Theater in KAAT and plans to perform his new work ``THE GAME OF POLYAMORY LIFE'', which draws on the power of ethnography. He is also actively involved in creating works with high school students. In recent years, he has been thinking about ``what playwrights can do in the world.''

Kensuke Yokouchi
Born in Tokyo on September 22, 1961. Playwright and director. Head of the theater company Tobiza.
While attending Kanagawa Prefectural Atsugi High School, he joined the drama club under a different name. He was pampered by his seniors and discovered his interest in acting after watching the production of ``The Atami Murder Case'' by Kouhei Tsuka. Participated in the national drama competition with his first work, ``Sansho Fish!'' In 1982, while a student at Waseda University's Faculty of Letters, he founded the theater company ``Zenjin Kaigi'' with Tai Okamori, Seiji Rokkaku, who was a member of the drama club at Atsugi High School, and Ryoichi Sugiyama, who was a member of Hosei 2nd High School. In 1993, the name was changed to "Tobiza", which remains the name to this day. In addition to his activities with theater companies, he has provided numerous works to outside parties, including Super Kabuki and musicals. In 1992, he won the 36th Kishida Drama Award for ``The Nakedness of the King of La Mancha, Invisible to Fools''. In 1999, he became the youngest person in history to win the Otani Prize for ``New Romance of the Three Kingdoms''. In 2015, he won the Otani Award again for Super Kabuki II ``One Piece''.

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