Oriza Hirata and Hiroshi Ishiguro Laboratory (Osaka University and ATR Hiroshi Ishiguro Lab)

Android-human Theater Sayonara (Good-bye)

What is the boundary between human and robot? What does life and death mean to us and to robots…?

The two masterminds behind this work are Oriza Hirata, founder of the company “Seinendan” and one of the leading figures in the world of theatre with his Theory of Contemporary Colloquial Theatre, and leading robot researcher Hiroshi Ishiguro, creator of the “Geminoid”, a robot uncannily similar to a human being. These two internationally active geniuses have teamed up to develop a Robot-human Theater project at Osaka University, and will be presenting their work for the first time in Kyoto. It is the story of a young girl facing death and an android who endlessly reads poetry. While the android calmly reads poems by Shuntaro Tanikawa, Arthur Rimbaud and Bokusui Wakayama, an entirely new relationship between humans and robots is represented. The co-starring of an android and a human makes spectators, even if for a brief moment, start doubting which of the two seems more human-like, and the strange feeling that perhaps the robot is more human than humans arises. This piece raises the following question to the audience: “If androids are more human than humans, what are human beings?” It is a shocking play which shows the critical point of convergence between science and theatre and which entirely renovates the image of robots.

20min. + talk

Oriza Hirata

Playwright, director, artistic director of Komaba Agora Theatre, and founder of the theatre company “Seinendan”. In 1982 he created “Seinendan” and since the 1990s he has been a very in¯uential £gure in the world of theatre with his Theory of Contemporary Colloquial Theatre. In 1995 he was granted the 39th Kishida Kunio Drama Award with Tokyo Notes and in 2003 he received the Grand Prix at the 2nd Asahi Performing Arts Award with a Japan-Korea performance of Across the River in May. He also won the Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award in 2006. In recent years, he has been staging several international co-productions in countries such as France, Belgium and China. At present, Hirata is a special advisor to the Japanese cabinet, professor at the Osaka University Center for the Study of Communication-Design, visiting professor and special assistant to the President of Shikoku Gakuin University, manager of Fujimi Culture Hall KIRARI FUJIMI in Saitama Prefecture, and member of the Editorial Board for Japanese Primary School Textbooks at Sanseido Editorial House. He is also a board member of the Japan Foundation for Regional Art-Activities, the Japan Performing Arts Foundation, the Japanese Society for Theatre Research, Japan Playwrights Association, and Tokyo Arts Council, as well as chairman for the Japanese Committee of the BeSeTo International Theater Festival.

Text, DirectionOriza Hirata
Technical AdvisorHiroshi Ishiguro (Osaka University and ATR Hiroshi Ishiguro Lab)
CastBryerly Long (Seinendan)
Android’s Motion and VoiceMinako Inoue (Seinendan)
Stage ManagerSo Ozaki
Stage DesignItaru Sugiyama
LightingTamotsu Iwaki
CostumeAya Masakane
Assistant DirectorKenichi Tani
Production CoodinatorMasashi Nomura, Kana Tsutsumi
Robot’s DirectorTakenobu Chikaraishi (Osaka University, Hiroshi Ishiguro Laboratory), Kohei Ogawa (ATR Hiroshi Ishiguro Lab)
Co-produced byOsaka University Hiroshi Ishiguro Laboratory, ATR Hiroshi Ishiguro Lab, Agora Planning Ltd. Seinendan
Sound CollaborationFujitsu Ten
Presented byKyoto Experiment