2021.10.1 Fri - 10.24 Sun

Theater, Visual Arts

Nagara Wada & yang02


'Couvade' (2019), Shitatame, Direction: Nagara Wada, Set: Aoi Hayashi, Photo by Yuki Moriya

Why we, non-mothers, simulate pregnancy

The current state of affairs around pregnancy and childbirth in Japan is not promising. Despite a declining birthrate and aging population, Japan has made little progress in creating a culture that is conducive to childbearing and childrearing. Meanwhile, those who choose not to have children continue to face societal pressure. Theater director Nagara Wada approaches this stagnant situation by reviving an unconventional custom called couvade. For this work, Wada recreates a piece first staged in 2019 with media artist and stage production newcomer yang02 as her collaborator.

According to the dictionary, couvade is a “custom in some cultures in which a man takes to his bed and goes through certain rituals when his child is being born, as though he were physically affected by the birth.” By engaging with this ancient and also theatrical custom, the performers, both men and women who have never given birth, will simulate and liberate the experience of pregnancy and childbirth, considered only possible for mothers. Notably, teenagers are cast as performers for this iteration through an open call. With the participation of young leaders of the next generation, and through collaboration with yang02, who has maintained a physical approach to his technologically rooted practice, the work is updated to reflect the current times and poses new questions around childbirth from a fresh perspective.

10.16 (Sat) 13:00 / 17:00 ★
10.17 (Sun) 13:00 ♡ / 17:00

★Post-show Talk
♡Childcare Service (Please contact the Kyoto Experiment Office for more information.)

Duration: 90 min (TBC)

Doors open 30 min. prior to the performance.

Advance Tickets
Adults:  ¥3,000
Youth (25 and under), Students:  ¥2,500
High School Students & Younger:  ¥1,000
Pair (advance only):  ¥5,500
Day Tickets
 Advance Ticket Price +¥500 (High School Students & Younger: ¥1,000)
Unreserved seating

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Nagara Wada


Nagara Wada
Photo by Yuki Moriya

Wada established shitatame in February 2011 and started working as a theater director based in Kyoto. In her practice, she creates theater that uses language and the body to zoom in on the vast amount of details that we miss in our daily lives, as if stringing together a series of failed attempts to grasp something. She collaborates with artists from such other fields as visual art and photography. In 2015, she won Best Work at the fifth edition of the Telling a Story by Creating from a Play Script competition. In 2018, she won the Audience Award at the Komaba Agora Directors Concours. From 2019, she has been involved with the cartographical research project Our Freehand Atlas. She is a Saison Fellow I from 2021.



Photo by Daisuke Omori

Born in Kanagawa Prefecture in 1984, yang02 graduated with a master’s degree in Information Design (Media Art) from Tama Art University in 2009. His works show how information technology can substitute human actions in the form of autonomous devices. Through digital media, his practice inquires into human physicality and the independence of one’s actions or expression. His works SENSELESS DRAWING BOT and Avatars, both created in collaboration with So Kanno, were awarded, respectively, the New Face Award at the 15th Japan Media Arts Festival in 2012 and the Excellence Award at the 21st Japan Media Arts Festival in 2018. Recent solo exhibitions include _prayground (2019, rin art association, Gunma) and group exhibitions include 20th DOMANI: The Art of Tomorrow (2018, The National Art Center, Tokyo), Vanishing Mesh (2017, Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media [YCAM]) and Aichi Triennale (2016, Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art).