suteru tabi (a journey to unburden oneself of something) – gotanndadan

(a japanese play with english subtitles, m1 fringe festival 8 jan 2014)

thrown into anguish in the first scene the play fundamentally made use of lighting and props consisted of four chairs and three white towels. these were extensively used throughout the play as the audience was brought through various scenes (a particularly interesting one of which the two men were pulling at each other before the struggle evolved into a mimicry of a sumo match) that presented the idea of loss by comparing the loss of taro(a dog? a hamster? a fish? an animal, basically) against the loss of the father. sense is made of no sense by placing it in the context of a collection of dreams; the expressions of the characters were intensely engaging and it managed to appeal emotionally while delivering the intensity with light-heartedness. nothing too heavy but still leaves an impression (think of prints left on clay/mould or the indent on a pillow) and gives room for thought – contemplating metaphors of sex(holes that may symbolise the vagina that may represent birth/life/eroticism) and life and loss and most significantly the journey of a single man as he tries to come to terms with loss. basically, what the subconsciousness makes of loss. in terms of technicality, the lighting left an impression at the one scene where the goddess of kannon and the protagonist formed a shadow against the backdrop where the protagonist seemed to serve as the base of a statue while the goddess remained as the goddess. the unification of both shadows to form one of a statue was interesting and we were sure it was intentional. possibly the idea of man vs. god in the light of life and death because later on the protagonist was mistaken as a statue of a kami as well.

in the post-dialogue session, the playwright said they do not believe in a singular kami yet they do believe that there are higher beings or powers; ultimately they themselves do not know what they actually believe in.

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