Time’s Journey Through a Room
€ 16 / € 13
JP > NL / FR
Toshiki Okada is an innovator of form and a key figure in Japanese contemporary theatre. He has repeatedly participated in the Kunstenfestivaldesarts with work that is recognisable by its idiosyncratic vernacular language and astonishing imagery. Okada poses hard-hitting questions about the complexity of the ultramodern post- Fukushima Japanese society. At the same time, his art is universal and timeless. In 2016, he takes part in the festival with the European premiere of Time’s Journey Through a Room. In an ominous huis clos, the protagonists are attempting to cope with the omnipresent ghosts of the past and the latent threat of the present. In the background we hear a multi-layered acoustic landscape of field recordings. Okada creates – as only he can – an enchanting new world where sound, body, and language merge with one another. What remains is essential human theatre and the hope of a better future.
Playwright & director
Sound & set design
Izumi Aoyagi, Mari Ando, Yo Yoshida
Tomomi Ohira (ASG)
Kyoko Fujitani (FAIFAI)
Akane Nakamura, Tamiko Ouki (precog)
Mai Hyodo (precog)
Kyoto Experiment/ROHM Theatre Kyoto, Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Festival d’Automne à Paris, Künstlerhaus Mousonturm (Frankfurt), FFT Düsseldorf, La Bâtie – Festival de Genève, HAU Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin), SPRING Performing Arts Festival (Utrecht)
In co-operation with
Nishi-Sugamo Arts Factory, Suitengu Pit, Kyoto Art Center Artist in Studio Program
Arts Council Tokyo
Performance in Brussels supported by
Subtitling with the support of
“Among the feelings that invaded me during the few days after the 2011 tsunami and Fukushima disaster, not only was there sadness, unease, and fear, there was also hope. Surely such an unprecedented event would prove the first step for us to rise up as a society and realise changes that would otherwise be too difficult to make. That’s how I felt at the time. I wanted to portray the relationship between the living and the spirits who met their deaths in these circumstances while full of hope for the future. The lives of the dead have already completed their cycle and stabilised. We who continue to live envy them. We are tormented; we want to escape from there, forever trying to forget.”
Toshiki Okada, April 2016
In response to the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, the theatrical vision of playwright Toshiki Okada shifted toward an exploration of the validity of fiction. This shift led to the staging of Current Location (2012) and Ground and Floor (2013), which allegorically portrayed the sense of tension and isolation in Japanese society in the wake of the disaster.
While again taking the post-disaster social situation as its theme, Time’s Journey Through a Room is an extremely meticulous scrutiny of the mental conflicts and arbitrary emotions of individuals preceding their social alienation. It expands upon these observations, bringing onto the stage new, unprecedented presentations from which they have been derived. The feelings that welled up in the breasts of people in Japan in the days right after the disaster struck were not confined to grief and unease; there was also a sprinkling of hope that ‘things would get better’ as a result. Those who today go on living, when it is no longer possible to have hope, are tormented by its pure and simple expression through the ghosts of the ones who died still embracing that kind of hope for the future. It makes them want to plug their ears and turn away. By way of Okada’s script and the physical movements of the actors, which reach new heights of intensity, the invisible mental anguish and pain are fused into a closely-knit and multi-layered relationship with the sound and space designed by contemporary artist Tsuyoshi Hisakado, who suffuses these elements with subtle shading. The manner in which the whole is presented makes it appear as though the piece is directed into the emotions, bound to deeply move those who see it.
The finely tuned approaches to the respective media of words, body, sound, and space come together on stage and wash over the audience in a wave. The work is nothing less than an interlude for each of its members to confront his or her own memories and experiences.Back to top
Toshiki Okada (b. 1973) is a Japanese playwright, director and founder of the theatre company chelfitsch. Since 1997 he has written and directed all of the company’s productions, practising a distinctive methodology for creating plays, and has become known for his use of hypercolloquial Japanese and unique choreography. In 2005, Okada’s play Five Days in March won the prestigious 49th Kishida Kunio Drama Award. Okada participated in the Toyota Choreography Award 2005 with Air Conditioner (Cooler) (2005), garnering much attention. In February 2007, his book consisting of two novellas, Watashitachi ni Yurusareta Tokubetsu na Jikan no Owari (The End of the Special Time We Were Allowed), was published and was awarded the 2008 Oe Kenzaburo Prize. In 2013, his first book on theatre studies was published by Kawade Shobo Shinsha (Tokyo). Toshiki Okada’s work has featured at the Kunstenfestivaldesarts several times since 2007, including Five Days in March in 2007 and the world premiere of Ground and Floor in 2013. He was recently commissioned to direct his works in a repertory program at the Münchner Kammerspiele, for three seasons starting in 2016.
Toshiki Okada at the Kunstenfestivaldesarts
2007: Five Days in March
2010: Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner, and the Farewell Speech
2010: Kamishibai (w/ Shinji Abe)
2011: The Sonic Life of a Giant Tortoise
2011: We Are the Undamaged Others
2013: Ground and Floor