Presented by the OzAsia Festival
Reviewed Friday 1st October 2010
Venue: Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre
Season: 7:30pm Saturday 2nd October 2010
Tickets: Adult $25/Conc $20/Student $15
Bookings: BASS 131 246 or http://www.bass.net
In 2008 we saw this group present Chika, a powerful work about Chika Honda, one of a group of Japanese tourists who was imprisoned for ten years for importing heroin, a crime she that continually insisted did not commit. This year they have returned with another very moving work that explores the history of Japanese migrants since the late 1800s who are now buried in remote Australian cemeteries.
The production takes the form of a kuyo, a Japanese ceremony for the dead, offering respect, honour and calming their spirits. Mayu Kanamori and Vic McEwan sit at one side of the stage, telling the story of four years of research into Japanese graves and the discovery of sites, some of which even the locals were unaware. Their story is illuminated by the photographs taken by Kanamori, projected onto a large screen at the rear, along with videos by Shigeaki Iwai and Darrin Baker. An exhibition of more of her photographs, in the Space Theatre foyer, accompanies this production. McEwan is also the sound designer and Keith Tucker’s lighting design is an important factor in creating the mood for this reverential and rewarding piece.
On the opposite side of the stage Satsuki Odamura plays the koto and the bass koto and classical trained ballet dancer, Wakako Asano, periodically enters the stage to add her graceful movements to the performance. They inject a wonderful calmness and increase the level of spirituality, a quality that has been prominent in so many of the works in this Festival. Some of the music used in this performance was composed by Odamura and the work included her improvisations.
This was a memorable and moving piece, of great beauty, that brought the audience into another part of, often overlooked, Australian history and made us aware of yet another group of migrants who have contributed to the identity of this country. There is one more performance, so be quick.
Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Editor, Glam Adelaide.