chelfitsch & Teppei Kaneuji
People, objects, time, space, and language appear in unknown forms…
Is it possible to create theater not only for the people watching at one moment in time? Can we use theater to present a world in which people and objects are completely equal, rather than trapped in their usual subservient relationship?
Devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, the city of Rikuzentakata in Iwate Prefecture is now undergoing immense reconstruction to elevate the area as a countermeasure against future tsunami waves and restore the lifestyles that the residents lost. However, the use of local rocks to raise the land more than ten meters (33 feet) higher than it was before has led to severe damage on surrounding mountains.
Visiting the area in 2017 and witnessing the landscape that had been so rapidly and artificially changed, Toshiki Okada started to conceive a new work in which he would raise doubts about the so-called criteria or measures that humans use. As his collaborator, Okada welcomes Teppei Kaneuji, the artist who has expanded the possibilities of his practice by voraciously incorporating theatrical perspectives into his main methodology of collage. The resulting work also integrates the “EIZO-Theater” that chelfitsch has developed since last year, attempting to take yet another approach to language and the body of the actors. What is the landscape that emerges when we deviate from anthropocentrism?
Eraser Mountain is the very latest in chelfitsch’s ongoing endeavors to update theater.
- South Hall, ROHM Theatre Kyoto
- Performed in Japanese with English surtitles
Born in 1973 in Yokohama and now based in Kumamoto, Toshiki Okada is a theater artist, novelist, and head of the theater company chelfitsch. His work has attracted attention at home and abroad for its attempts to overturn theater conventions. In 2005, his play Five Days in March won the prestigious Kishida Kunio Drama Award. In July that year, he was a finalist for the Toyota Choreography Award. He made his debut as a novelist in 2007 with the collection of short stories The End of the Special Time We Were Allowed, winning the Oe Kenzaburo Prize the following year. He has served as a judge for the Kishida Kunio Drama Award since 2012. In 2013, he published his first book on theatrology. In 2014, a collection of his play texts was published by Kawade Shobo. Since 2016, he has undertaken a commission from the Münchner Kammerspiele, one of the foremost public theaters in Germany, to direct work for its repertoire across four consecutive seasons. He staged Pratthana – A Portrait of Possession, adapted from a novel by Thai author Uthis Haemamool, in Bangkok in August 2018 and then at the Festival d’Automne à Paris in December.
The theater company chelfitsch was founded in 1997 by Toshiki Okada, who writes and directs all of its productions. Acclaimed for its approach whereby it explores the relationship between a highly particular vernacular and physical movement, it has attracted much attention in both Japan and abroad as a group at the forefront of contemporary theater. Its slovenly, “noisy” physicality, which seems at times to exaggerate ordinary gestures and not to do so at others, has been likened to dance. The company made its debut overseas in 2007 when it presented Five Days in March at the Kunstenfestivaldesarts, widely regarded as one of the most important festivals in the European performing arts scene, in Brussels, Belgium. It has since staged its work in a total of 70 cities in Asia, Europe, and North America. In 2011, Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner, and the Farewell Speech received the critics’ award from the Association québécoise des critiques de théâtre in Montreal, Canada.
In more recent years, the company has collaborated on international co-productions with major festivals and theaters around the world, including Current Location (2012), Ground and Floor (2013), Super Premium Soft Double Vanilla Rich (2014), Time’s Journey Through a Room (2016), and Five Days in March – Re-creation (2017). It is constantly updating its methodologies and exploring new means expression beyond conventional dramaturgy. In 2018, it created “Beach, Eyelids, and Curtains: chelfitsch’s EIZO-Theater” at the Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto, simultaneously exhibiting and staging a theatrical space through video imagery.
Born in 1978 in Kyoto, where he remains based, Teppei Kaneuji studied at the Royal College of Art, London, as an exchange student in 2001 while attending Kyoto City University of Arts. He then completed an MA in sculpture at Kyoto City University of Arts, where he currently works as an associate professor. Employing a collage-like approach in his practice, Kaneuji makes his work out of the everyday objects he collects. Across a wide range of media such as sculpture, painting, video, and photography, he searches for sculptural “systems” that manifest the relationship between images and materiality. In addition to exhibitions in Japan and overseas including the solo shows “Teppei Kaneuji’s Mercator Membrane” (Marugame Genichiro-Inokuma Museum of Contemporary Art, 2016), “Cubed Liquid, Metallic Memory” (Kyoto Art Center, 2015), “Towering Something” (Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, 2013), and “Teppei Kaneuji Exhibition: Melting City / Empty Forest” (Yokohama Museum of Art, 2009), Kaneuji’s output also encompasses stage set and book cover designs. Alongside the stage designs for We Can’t Understand Each Other Like Household Appliances (Owlspot Theater, 2011) and Wakatta-san’s Cookie (2015–2016) for the KAAT Kids Program 2015, his previous theater work includes tower (THEATER) (2017), in which he adapted his own video piece into a stage performance.
|Playwright and Director||Toshiki Okada|
|Cast||Izumi Aoyagi, Mari Ando, Yuri Itabashi, Takuya Harada, Makoto Yazawa, Yo Yoshida, Leon Kou Yonekawa|
|Costume||Kyoko Fujitani (FAIFAI)|
|Lighting Director||Masayoshi Takada (RYU)|
|Sound Director||Raku Nakahara (LUFTZUG)|
|Video Designer||Shimpei Yamada|
|Technical Director||Koro Suzuki|
|Stage Manager||Chikage Yuyama|
|Assistant Director||Nagara Wada|
|Production Manager||Tomoya Takeda (ROHM Theatre Kyoto), Kanako Yamasaki|
|Producer||Tamiko Ouki (precog)|
|Associate Producer||Miyuki Tanaka|
|Publicity Design||Shota Yamauchi|
|Co-produced by||[Eraser Mountain] Kyoto Experiment, Wiener Festwochen, Festival d’Automne à Paris, Künstlerhaus Mousonturm Frankfurt [Eraser Forest] 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa|
|Planning and Production Management by||precog co.,LTD|
|In co-operation with||CONNELING STUDY / YAMABUKI FACTORY, Steep Slope Studio, Kyoto City University of Arts|
|Kyoto Art Center Artists-in-Studios program Supported by||The Agency for Cultural Affairs Government of Japan through the Japan Arts Council|
|Presented by||Kyoto Experiment|