Gentokai ~ The projection of snow and stars ~
In Northern Japan, there is a small town called Nishiwaga-machi in Iwate prefecture. With population around 5,000 people, the town is surrounded by magnificent, untouched nature which changes its landscape dramatically through seasons. In winter, the town is covered by heavy snow, and you can see warm steam coming out from natural hot springs. It was that time we arrived in Nishiwaga-machi to create a performance piece for Snow Theatre Festival. Gingaku, the project team aimed to invigorate this small town with aging and decreasing population issues, called young artists and students from big cities and provided them 10-day stay of creating and performing opportunity at Ginga Hall Theatre,
located in the heart of town.
About my work "Gentokai"
I gathered fellow theatre students for this Festival, and we together created a half impro and half scripted play based on the tales and poems of Kenji Miyazawa, a famous writer and poet from Iwate prefecture. As it was my first stage-directing, I experimented with devising process and we came up with some movements, sounds and touch inspired by his words, rhythms, and imaginative stories.
Because the theatre hall is named as Ginga, which means Milky Way, and that surrounded by heavy snow, I picked up two stories of him under the theme of snow and stars. During the stay, I was really impressed how nature in there can be so pure and divine that is almost scary, and that sense of awe could never be felt and expressed If I was reading Kenji's extraordinary depiction of nature in Tokyo.
The performance was successful, because Kenji is very popular among people in town, (having the fact that he's from the same region),
a local newspaper interviewed us about the play.
The project had other exciting and interactive events of all kinds of art at the same time, in collaboration with local elders and the whole festival involved a lot of people from both outside and inside the town.
I was also amazed by their hospitality, rich history, culture and tradition in Nishiwaga. I wouldn't have known this beautiful town and people If there was no call for young artists for this festival.
In sum, the inter-generational and inter-regional exchange of arts and culture filled me with new discoveries and people's warmth. The festival created a community,
just like a warm natural hot spring gushes in cold winter snow.