Published on November 16, 2007
One of Japan's leading dance theatre companies, Monochrome Circus, returns to Bangkok next week with a double-bill. As part of their ongoing Asian tour, the company brings "The Waterhouse Project", which comprises "Monster" and "Kizahashi-Edge".
A solo performance by dancer and choreographer Yuka Saeki, "Monster" is inspired by the works of British philosopher and novelist Francis Bacon, as well as Hungarian wordsmith Agota Kristof. Accompanied by Daito Manabe's ingenious music and Takayaki Fujimoto's nifty lighting design, the veteran dancer will release some demons that have been lurking within her - and our - bodies and souls.
Then, in "Kizahashi-Edge", we'll see 150 knives, a square table, and two dancers, Yuka Saeki and Yuki Goda, in a performance dealing with the themes of suppression, pain, and the fight to reclaim our soul from this frustrated situation. Also featuring Fujimoto's LED illumination, the piece is directed and designed by the company's leader Kosei Sakamoto.
Last in Bangkok in 2004, Monochrome Circus introduces themselves as follows: "From the social and philosophical point of view, our field of expression is not only limited to the stage. With reconstructing a social relationship with another field outside from dance, we start dancing outside and various places in and outside of Japan."
They don't want to limit recognition about, and appreciation of, dance to "stage freaks". Their creativity consists of three dimensions.
"One is communicational work with audiences and spaces. Since 1996, we continued the series of works focusing on reciprocal action with an audience and places.
"Another is 'contact' improvisation. This idea about dance has not been accepted so widely in Japan. We conducted workshops and improvisational works in various places.
"Last is stage pieces. Opposite from outside pieces, our stage works are always sincerely trying to reflect urban Japanese life and society. It brings sometimes violent expressions."
Back in July 2004, the Kyoto-based Monochrome Circus proved these points and mesmerised Bangkok audiences with "Refined Colours", a contemporary dance on the theme of travel. In it, four dancers and one Thai collaborator employed "contact" techniques in their movements to explore the theme of travel amidst the pre-recorded soundscape of Bangkok.
A vibrant part of the work was state-of-the-art LED (light-emitting diode) lamps filling up the performing space. This relatively new stage lighting technology not only produces millions of hues, but also allows countless possibilities for the unrivalled creativity of Dumb Type's Fujimoto, the show's co-director.
It's also noteworthy that this magnificent stage technology punctuated and supported the performance, yet rarely stole the focus away from the human dancers.
With an impressive touring itinerary both inside and outside Japan, the company also performed at the Bangkok Fringe Festival 2002 at Patravadi Theatre. Collaborating with many families, and artists, and art organisers, including Silpathorn Award-winning dancer and choreographer Manop Meejamrat, their works have been staged hundreds of times worldwide.
'Monster' and 'Kizahashi-Edge' by Monochrome Circus will be performed at 8pm on Thursday and November 23 at Patravadi Theatre. Tickets are Bt500 (Bt200 for students). Special deal:
buy five tickets and get one free, and, if you book today, tickets are Bt400. For reservations,
call (02) 412 7287-8 or see www.patravaditheatre.com.
The writer can be contacted at pawit.m@ chula.ac.th.