|Kominato Railways that runs through canola flowers fields. photo:Japan Times|
It was just a few months ago when I saw a Yubiwa Hotel’s performance for the first time. And now, I became a big fan of it. Its latest title, “But I was so in love”, or あんなに愛しあったのに---中房総小湊鐵道編 was one of the most impressive performances that I‘ve ever seen. I still remember some of the scenes played at Ichihara Art×Mix, an art triennale that has just launched at Ichihara in Chiba prefecture this year.
Yubiwa Hotel is the name of performing arts company that Shirotama Hitsujiya has been leading. Her way of playmaking is unique. She thinks that stages should not always be at theatres, and practically, she has used the seashore, a factory, a book store, a tennis court as alternative acting places and made the most of the uniqueness of the spaces for her playmaking.
This time, Hitsujiya used local trains as her stage. It was really interesting! When I visited Ichihara Art×Mix, it was in the middle of spring and the sites were incredibly picturesque. Fields were covered with tons of yellow canola flowers and pink cherry blossoms. “This must be real Shangri-la!” I almost shouted. The performance was taken place on the trains of Kominato Railway that run through this mesmerizing countryside.
|photo: Chiba Nippou|
“Welcome aboard on Kominato Railway today!” As the train departed on time, a conductress announced.
“Now, let me see your train ticket, please.” The following moment when she tried to check passengers’ tickets, she found a woman falling down on the floor.
“Passenger? Passenger? OMG! She is dead!!!”
|photo: Chiba Nippou|
Something scary happened just in front of all of us passengers (=audience) on the train and we were strongly drawn into the act. The drama went on not only on the train. At Satomi station, musicians got on the train and started playing. In canola flowers field stretching outside of the windows, people were dancing. The story developed beyond our imagination and it took our mind past and future unexpectedly. Finally, the borders between a fictional world and a real world, actors and audience and dead and alive were getting vague. That’s exactly Hitsujiya’s magic.
When the train got to the terminal station, I felt so sad because I knew that’s the end of the journey and also the end of the story. I wished I had been in the story as long as I could.
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