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Bharat Rang Mahotsav 2010 Special

Japanese Play Kiosk Impresses

A Review by Joya John

Ando Tomoko in Kiosk

The play Kiosk by Japanese theater group ARICA was a wonderful experience for theater fans. The play was staged as part of the ongoing annual festival of the National School of Drama(2010).

 

ARICA specializes in the dynamic use of  human body movement accompanied by live music and  electronic images. The play is minimalistic in its use of dialogue and attempts to show the repetitive nature of human movements through the work of a female employee at a kiosk. The solo performer Ando Tomoko, performs a series of activities that constitute the daily routine of work at a kiosk. Ordinary tasks like opening and laying out newspapers for the stands are performed through a series of complex movements accompanied by classical music. The activity of unpacking cartons is again accomplished through a series of complex maneuvers punctured by a staccato dialogue which soon reaches an incantatory quality through a voiceover.

 

One gets the sense that the director Fujita Yasuki does not want to suggest the dehumanizing effect of these activities. Though Ando Tomoko accomplishes a series of tasks with an almost painful dexterity, there is nothing to suggest a critique of what these series of tasks does to the individual. There is no attempt to show an interiority of the character that would highlight her angst. All we learn is that this aging employee had once trained to be a dancer but is now reduced to using dance like movements to accomplish mundane tasks.

 

All in all this play presented a fascinating treatment of a tradition of Beckettian absurd theater.