As recommended by The New Yorker:
“This all-female troupe crosses two kinds of Japanese strangeness: Butoh extremity and infantilized pop. In party dresses and corpse-white makeup, they grimace and grin, scratch themselves and scarf down tofu. “A Bowl of Summer” draws on the Japanese Obon Festival, a kind of summer picnic with the dead. There’s a giant melon head with flashing red eyes, and plastic bags full of water hanging from the ceiling. One moment the girls look like backup dancers for a hard-rock band, the next they’re in the throes of death.” -Brian Seibert
Founded in 2000 and based in Osaka, this butoh-based all female troupe seeks to uncover new, original physical expression with a pop sensibility. Their choreography is born out of carefully observing elements from the physical memory of modern life and bringing them into new light. The group has gained popularity in Japan for embodying their name – the pure freshness of a bright blue sunny sky brimming full of pleasant dreams.
Performance Space 122 brings these Butoh rebels to New York for their first full engagement as part of the Japan Society’s “Turning Japanese” festival, The 2007 New York City-wide celebration commemorating the Japan Society’s centennial.
Inspired by the traditional Japanese Obon Festival, “A Bowl of Summer (Natsu no Utsuwa)” explores the universe created when life and death mingle with each other in the summer. During the summer Obon festival, the Japanese welcome their deceased ancestors back to the world, and after spending several days together, send them off to the other world. It is believed that they encounter not only the dead who have been resting peacefully in their graves, but also ghosts who still have attachments to our world, or those who have transformed into insects and other animals.
Read about A Bowl of Summer in “Poetry in Motion”from Oct 9th’s Star Ledger.
photos by Kaori Ho
Presented in association with The Japan Society and The CAVE New York Butoh Festival; supported by the Cultural Affairs Agency of Japan, and The Japan Foundation.
October 18-21, 2007