The day before the opening of the large-scale art exhibition ‘Celebration’ in Kyoto’s Nijo Castle, one of the most important theatre scenes of Japan’s old capital will host the Japanese premiere of a much more intimate event: Janek Turkowski’s performance ‘Margarete’ which will be shown from 17th May at the Rohm Theatre.
The author of the performance, Janek Turkowski, was praised for creating an intimate, homely atmosphere in the theatre, in which he tells an almost forgotten story. His ‘videotale’ has already been shown at over twenty festivals in Poland and abroad, including the Dublin Theatre Festival and the Under the Radar Festival in New York, receiving many enthusiastic reviews.
The narrator of the performance, who is Turkowski himself, presents the story of a woman he encountered in a very unusual way: by discovering an old cardboard box with several reels of 8mm film featuring a stranger living near the border of East Germany. Based on this footage, he reconstructs the life of Margarete Ruhbe, for this is her name, and tells the story of his search for his protagonist.
Presenting the performance on Kyoto’s major scene was possible thanks to the partners from the Rohm Theatre, who were interested in participating in the celebration of the 100th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between Poland and Japan. In May 2019, Margarete will be presented there as part of the Polish week in Kyoto, alongside the Celebration exhibition and several other events, including performances and lectures.
The choice of Janek Turkowski’s show as the event opening Polish cultural programme is not a coincidence. The motto of the celebrations of the anniversary of establishing Polish-Japanese diplomatic relations is ichi-go ichi-e, which can be translated as ‘once-in-a-lifetime encounter’. The performance, which has been described as a ‘friendly meeting’, relates directly to this motto. The distance between the narrator and the audience is shortened to the minimum. The author will invite his audience to tea, while they sit on the carpet, and encourage them to feel at home, creating in this cosy atmosphere of a Polish-style living room a unique opportunity for a dialogue between two different cultures of meeting and remembrance.
Director, scriptwriter, manager and performer Janek Turkowski is also a member of the programming team at the Kana Theatre Centre in Szczecin, Poland. From 2007 to 2016 he has served as the arts curator for the KONTRAPUNKT Festival held in Szczecin. He is interested in the concepts of time and narration as well as the roots of storytelling. His recent work includes It’s Happening in Norwich, Klosterhof and Smalfilm, all produced in collaboration with Iwona Nowacka.
Presented by Rohm Theatre Kyoto (Kyoto City Music Arts and Culture Promotion Foundation), Kyoto City.
Supported by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan through the Japan Arts Council.
In collaboration with the Polish Institute in Tokyo.
Schedule of Performances:
17th May 2019 7:00 pm
18th May 2019 1:00 pm, 5:00 pm
19th May 2019 1:00 pm, 5:00 pm
20th May 2019 3:00 pm, 7:00 pm
22nd May 2019 7:00 pm
23rd May 2019 7:00 pm
24th May 2019 3:00 pm, 7:00 pm
Source: press materials, originally written in Polish by EC&AW, translated by AW, 1 May 2019