This May, the Japanese audience will have an opportunity to watch an extraordinary musical performance: Polish and Japanese actors will perform together on the stage of Tokyo’s Theatre X-Cai and in two temples in Tokyo and Kyoto to present the show ‘Polish-Japanese Dziady / Soreisai 祖 霊 際’.
The artists refer to the ancient Slavic rite of Dziady (Forefathers’ Eve) and the Japanese Obon festival, both honouring the spirits of the dead, in an attempt to find a common sensitivity that Poles and Japanese share in communing with their ancestors. The performance is based on the second part of the famous Romantic drama Forefathers’ Eve by Adam Mickiewicz. This four-part dramatic work is a grand work of Polish literature and Poland’s great contribution to world theatre. Parts II and IV refer to pre-Christian rituals of calling the spirits of the dead. They reflect folk belief in the unity of the visible and invisible worlds, the possibility of their mutual interference and represent an affirmation of a simple, intuitive moral code.
Inspired by Jerzy Grotowski’s Forefathers’ Eve (1961) and Włodzimierz Staniewski’s and Gardzienice Theatre’s Gusła (Sorcery, trans. AW; 1981), Polish-Japanese Dziady / Soreisai 祖霊際 is a theatre event combining a country dance / town dance and the Japanese Obon Festival. Ruling supreme are music, the atmosphere of a dance and, most importantly, the power of women, which has so far been overlooked in Forefathers’ Eve. Sorcerer (Guślarz) is as much Leader of the Dance as he is Priest. However, he is watched over by a woman and a band. Will he succumb to their power? Built around music, with fascinating images and a fast-paced montage of scenes, the performance can be understood by and appeal to all audiences.
The performance has been directed by former Polish ambassador in Japan and the Japanese theatre expert Jadwiga Rodowicz-Czechowska. Polish actors, dancers and musicians taking part in the performance include Maniucha Bikont, Piotr Zgorzelski and Marcin Lorenz. Japanese art in the show is represented by nō actor Kanji Shimizu and Polish-Japanese dancer Hana Umeda.
The project is carried out with the support of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute and the Polish Institute in Tokyo.
Schedule of Performances:
21st May 2019 7:00 pm Theatre X-Cai, Ryogoku City Core, 2-10-14 Ryogoku, Sumida-ku, Tokyo
23rd May 2019 2:00 pm Saitokuji Temple, 1-20-19, Ryusen, Asakusa, Tokyo
25th May 2019 2:00 pm Tokushōji Temple, Shimogyo-ku, Tominokoji, Shijo, 600-8051, Kyoto
Sources: culture.pl, partners’ promotional materials, originally written in Polish by AW, 16 May 2019, translated by AW, 17 May 2019