"Last Geisha"  最後の芸者たち

2022|Performance|

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The 3rd performance of Hydroblast’s "Last Geisha”

Written and directed by Shingo Ota
Performed by Kyoko Takenaka, Terunobu Osaki, Shingo Ota 
Music composed and performed by Kazuhisa Uchihashi

◆Tokyo : September 10 (Sat.) and 11 (Sun.), 2022
◆Osaka : September 18 (Sun.) and 19 (Mon.), 2022 ( "Welcome to the Stage in the Backstreets
2022)
◆Hyogo: September 24 (Sat.) and 25 (Sun.), 2022 (Toyooka Theater Festival 2022 Fringe
[Selection])

 

A performance work inspired by geisha culture.

Geishas entertain guests with their polished dance and singing. Unfortunately, they are disappearing from many parts of Japan as a profession, But at the same time, they are seen as conveying Japanese hospitality and aesthetic sensibilities.

This work is an attempt to observe this seemingly obvious form of "hospitality" through the actors’ movements.
Since last fall, we have been interviewing active geishas and practicing the art.
We have been creating this work while challenging issues such as cultural heritage,
entertainment system hierarchy, biological gender and gender identity.
Finally, it will be performed in September this year!

・・・

Director Statement;

 

On June 26, 2022, I was shaken when I read an indictment on the geisha industry by a former“Maiko" (geisha apprentice) in Kyoto.
I was in the process of creating this performance, "Last Geisha" and was in the process
of researching and immersing myself in the geisha culture in various parts of Japan.
The impetus for my creation came from my encounter with the Last Geisha of Kinosaki Hot
Springs”, Hidemi, who not only worked as a geisha for many years but also has been involved in teaching younger generations of geisha.
However, the geisha culture at Kinosaki Onsen, where Hidemi worked, has been dying out for more than 40 years. Similarly, the geisha culture was about to be destroyed in Togura-
Kamiyamada Onsen in Nagano Prefecture, where I was born and raised.
Why has this once prevalent culture continue to disappear?
In the course of my research, I wanted to know the answer to this question. I eventually came to a conclusion that I would rather use my body than use a pen or camera as a medium for recording and thinking. Hence, I began training as a geisha. By using my body as a camera to closely reflect the thoughts of those who are working, the industry can adapt with the modern times.
It also often reflects my discomfort with sexism, long working hours, food waste, conventional dance, sexual harassment, power abuse, and the collusion between the advertising and tourism industries.

But this is not all about the negative aspects.

There is a kind geisha who gave up her chair for me (an apprentice) in a room where there were only a limited number of chairs.
There is also a geisha who wants to manage her finances, boldly challenging the agent who
gets a cut from her earnings without her knowledge.
There is also a geisha who interrupted a performance and made the customer leave due to his unwanted sexual advances toward her fellow geisha.
There is also a male geisha who works as a female geisha.
There is also a geisha who collects discarded kimonos and upcycles them.
I have come to believe that beauty is not found in the form, the model, the compensation ,or
even the profession of geisha, but in the way people live their lives.
I am not comfortable with the art work itself becoming a direct indictment or ideology.

I believe in the function of performing arts and documentaries as a mirror to look at society
critically.
Dance as a medium that holds the memory of the times.
On the other hand, this dance sometimes comes at a high price, and in the enclosed space of the geisha entertainment, it is squandered in order to maintain authority and appearances. I put into this work my complex feelings toward geisha culture, which cannot be described in a simple way.
Why has this once prevalent culture continue to disappear?
We would like to explore the answer to this question with you and explore the future of geisha culture.
We sincerely look forward to seeing you all at the theater.

Shingo Ota (Hydroblast head)

・・・

 

Tokyo

September 10 (Sat.) and 11 (Sun.), 2022   15:00/17:00/19:00

@plan-B

Monarch Nakano B1, 4-26-20 Yayoi-cho, Nakano-ku, Tokyo

Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line "Nakanofujimicho" 7- min. walk

Keio Bus: 1- min. walk from "Fuji High School" bus stop, bound for Shibuya or Shinjuku Station West Exit from JR Nakano Station South Exit.

 

Advance tickets : Adults 3,000 yen/Students 2,000 yen/Free for high school students and younger

 + 500 yen at the door

 

▷Pass Market https://passmarket.yahoo.co.jp/event/show/detail/02y2j33mdwh21.html

 

Performers: Kyoko Takenaka, Terunobu Osaki [10(Sat)]|Shingo Ota [11(Sun)], Kazuhisa Uchihashi

Organizer: Hydroblast

 

Osaka 

 "Welcome to the Stage in the Backstreets 2022”

 

September 18(Sun) 19:00, and 19(Sun) 17:00

@3U 4F

1-4-20 Oginochaya, Nishinari-ku, Osaka (former Mansion Sanyu)

3- min. walk from JR Shin-Imamiya Station

6- min. walk from "Dobutsuen-mae" of Osaka Municipal Subway Sakaisuji Line

2,000 yen (as a reservation ticket for one performance of "Welcome to the Stage in the Back Alley 2022")

 

▷Welcome to the Stage in the Backstreets 2022 

https://rojibuta.wordpress.com/ 

★On sale from the end of August to the beginning of September

Performed by: Kyoko Takenaka, Shingo Ota, Kazuhisa Uchihashi

Organizer: Hydroblast

 

Hyogo 

"Toyooka Theater Festival 2022 Fringe [Selection] "

 

September 24(Sat) 17:00/19:00, 25(Sun) 12:00

@Kinosaki International Art Center Studio 1

1062 Yushima, Kinosaki-cho, Toyooka-shi, Hyogo

15- min. walk from JR Kinosaki Onsen Station

 

Advance tickets: Adults 3,000 yen / Students 2,000 yen / Free for high school students and younger

 + 500 yen at the door

▷Pass Market

 https://passmarket.yahoo.co.jp/event/show/detail/02r4x3bfiwh21.html

 

▷Toyooka Theater Festival 2022 official ticket sales system horai 

https://ticket.horai.sv/programDetails?id=a02b3b6a-9086-4260-9c63-97af40fcaf8e

(advance registration required, application required)

 

Performed by: Kyoko Takenaka, Shingo Ota, Kazuhisa Uchihashi

Organizer: Hydroblast / Toyooka Theater Festival Executive Committee

 

 

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Tickets do not have seat numbers 

Preschool children are not allowed to enter.

Please contact Hydroblast at least one day prior to the show if you require assistance. 

The performance will last approximately 50 minutes.

The performance lasts approximately 50 minutes. Doors open 15 minutes before the performance.

There will be a talk after the performance (approx. 30 min.)


 

Guest speakers

 

24(Sat)17:00 Hidemi (artist advisor for this work), Yuichiro Yoshida (Program director of Kinosaki International Art Center)

 

25(Sun) 14:00 Hidemi (artist advisor for this piece), Shiori Kinoshita (Freshman at College of Arts, Culture and Tourism)

 

 

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 *Twitter @hydroblast_JP

 *Instagram @hydroblast.asia

 *facebook @HydroBrust

 

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Hydroblast 

Hydroblast is a unit that plans and produces theater, performance and video works. Headed by Shingo Ota, a film director and actor.


 

Shingo Ota

Born in 1985, Nagano Prefecture. Ota graduated from Waseda University School of Humanities and Social Sciences of Waseda University, where he studied philosophy and narratology. “Graduation” received an award at Image Forum Festival 2010. His first full-length documentary film “The End of the Special Time We Were Allowed” (2013) was presented at Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival 2013 and distributed in 12 countries over the world. Other works include, “Fragile” (2014) with direction and acting, a short film “Sunrise Vibration” (2021), a documentary film “Imagination” (2021) and TV series “Food Trucker Minami Minegishi” (8 episodes broadcasted from July 12th). Since his first appearance on stage for “Five days in March” by chelfitsch in Hong Kong (2010), he continues his career as an actor. He has appeared in stage works like “Crazy Honey” produced by PARCO (2011) and “Unfulfilled Ghost and Monster” produced by KAAT (2021) and in TV series “To Give a Dream” (WOWOW, 2015) and “Tokyo Kaiki Sake” (TV Tokyo, 2021).


 

Kyoko Takenaka

Moved to France in 2011 and received the French National Actor’s Certificate in 2016 from the French National High School of Drama (first Japanese to do so). Takenaka appeared in many French national public theater plays in Paris.

 In 2017, she resumed her career in Japan, where her one-woman show, “The Problem of the Fairy,” written and directed by Satoko Ichihara, was performed in New York. In 2020, she received a French National Diploma in Theatre Education.

She gives lectures and workshops on theater education and actor harassment issues. Major recent performances include "Madame Butterfly" and "Madame Chrysantheme" written and directed by Satoko Ichihara. She also wrote the screenplay for the film "Modern version, At Kinosaki", co-produced with Shingo Ota.

https://mill-co-run.com


 

Terunobu Osaki

Born in Tokyo in 1984, he is a dancer who began dancing at the age of 30. Studied under Mika Kurosawa. He has performed in works by Kurosawa and Yasuko Yogoshi. He aims to perform cool and passionate dances, while valuing the sense of communion with the place. 


 

Kazuhisa Uchihashi

Guitar, daxophone player, leader of improvisation trio Altered States. For over 30 years, he has been the stage music director of the Ishinha Theater Company. In 1995, he began improvisational workshops in Kobe, actively creating opportunities for musicians to interact with each other and encourage friendly rivalry. From 1996 to 2007, the music festival, Festival Beyond Innocence, has been held every year since 1996. In parallel with these activities, he actively worked on songs with UA, Haruomi Hosono, Quruli, Tabito Nanao, Ichiko Aoba, Salyu and many singers. He preaches the necessity of exchange between improvisational musicians and pop musicians. In recent years, he has composed music for six works by Toshiki Okada for chelfitsch (Munich, Yokohama, Hamburg). From 2002 to 2007, he established the NPO Beyond Innocence and operates the alternative space BRIDGE in Osaka. Currently based in Berlin and Tokyo.His works erase the boundary between improvisation and composition.

 

https://innocentrecord.com


 

Geisha instruction: Hidemi

Collaborator: Kyoko Takenaka

Advisor: Terunobu Osaki

Stage Manager: Daijiro Kawakami, Marie Moriyama

Sound: Takeshi Inarimori, Ryo Yoshida

Lighting: Kana Watanabe

Advertising Art: Aya Matsumoto

Advertising Art Direction: Kyoko Takenaka

Production Design: Moemi Nagi

 

In Cooperation with Kinosaki International Art Center (Toyooka City), plan-B

 

Supported by: The Saison Foundation, Japan Arts Fund, Regional Culture Award Tax Accountant’s Fund, [Tokyo Performance], Arts Council Tokyo (Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture)

 

Presented by: Hydroblast  [Hyogo Performance] Hydroblast/ Toyooka Theater Festival Executive Committee
 

<Notice Concerning New Coronavirus Infections>

 

The organizer will take the utmost precautions to prevent the spread of infection. 

The schedule of the event may be changed depending on the spread of the infection.

 We ask for your cooperation in  wearing masks, disinfecting your hands, your health condition, and your contact information when you come to the theater. 

 

In addition, the Toyooka Theater Festival Executive Committee will comply with the policies and work-specific guidelines established by the national and local governments for the "Toyooka Theater Festival 2022," and will take thorough measures to prevent infectious diseases in order to ensure a safe theater festival.

 

Hydroblast https://www.hydroblast.asia

Toyooka Theater Festival 2022 https://toyooka-theaterfestival.jp

∽∽∽∽∽∽∽∽∽∽∽∽∽∽∽

Contact: info@hydroblast.asia

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