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Nuhikun (Directions to Servants)
by A Laboratory of Theatre Play BAN'YU-INRYOKU (Japan)
Programme Details and Trailer
Programme Details and Trailer
About Artists
About Artists
Creative and Production Team
Creative and Production Team
Ticketing and Enquiries
Ticketing and Enquiries
Feature Article
Feature Article
Guide to Screenings
Guide to Screenings
Screenings
Screenings
Pre-show Talk
Pre-show Talk
Poster Exhibition
Poster Exhibition

When servants become master of the house –

a play on subversion and absurdity by the iconoclastic Terayama Shuji

 

Terayama Shuji based Nuhikun on Jonathan Swift’s satirical essay Directions to Servants.  The play is set in a mansion filled with deviant servants without the presence of a master.  When the servants become the master of the house, the ending is unexpected.  Nuhikun exposes the audience to a sadomasochistic universe combining elements of surrealism, dream work and Brecht-like theatrics of defamiliarisation.  Accompanied by fantastic machines, rock music and operatic echoes, this production has amazed audiences with the avant-garde director’s world of wonder with eye-popping visual bravura.

 

Since its premiere in Tokyo in 1978 by Tenjo Sajiki, Nuhikun has been performed over 100 times and toured more than 30 cities in the world.  The revival version by J.A. Seazer with A Laboratory of Theatre Play BAN'YU-INRYOKU perfectly demonstrates Terayama’s unique staging of experimental theatre and astonishing directing in the use of layered language and visual imagery.

 

In Japanese with Chinese and English surtitles

 

Meet-the-artist session after the performance on 13 December

 

The running time of the performance is approximately 2 hours without intermission.  Latecomers will only be admitted at a suitable break.

 

This programme contains nudity scenes, adult content and loud noise.

 

Recommended for ages 15 and above.

 

Supported by

 

   

Terayama Shuji   (Playwright / Director)

Born and raised in Aomori Prefecture in Japan in 1935, Terayama Shuji was an avant-garde poet, dramatist, writer, film director and photographer.  Terayama was one of the leading artists of the new avant-garde Japanese theatre movement in the 1970s, and his most significant theatrical activity began with the establishment of the experimental theatre troupe Tenjo Sajiki in 1967.  The productions of Tenjo Sajiki including Jashumon, Blindman’s Letter, Knock, Shintokumara, etc. won critical acclaim and were invited to tour internationally.

 

On the cinematic front, Terayama was a revolutionary pioneer.  He frequently placed autobiographical influences within his surreal and fragmented films while his films and dramas were often interconnected, forming an eerie and imaginary world filled with dreams of erotic fantasy and escape.  Terayama passed away in May 1983 and is today among the gone-but-never-forgotten cultural icons.

 

 

J.A. Seazer   (Revival Director / Music)

With the late Terayama Shuji, J.A. Seazer co-directed almost all the theatre pieces at Tenjo Sajiki and composed music for the troupe’s productions.  Since he founded A Laboratory of Theatre Play BAN’YU-INRYOKU in 1983, he has directed and composed music for almost all the troupe’s plays.  Seazer has created music for the Japanese Government Pavilion at Aichi Expo in 2005 and his music composition for overseas performance SUNA was awarded the Fringe First Award in Edinburgh in 1986.

 

 

A Laboratory of Theatre Play BAN’YU-INRYOKU

After the founder Terayama passed away in 1983, Tenjo Sajiki dissolved.  As one of the key figures of the group, J.A. Seazer, formed A Laboratory of Theatre Play BAN’YU-INRYOKU with most of the company members in the same year. 

 

At first, the group mainly adapted and historicized Terayama’s methodology with new works, represented the historical shift from Tenjo Sajiki.  The productions provide a pragmatic view of the Terayama legacy and represent the ideological position of their avant-garde legacy, for the staging of the ‘open’ methodology of Terayama. 

 

With the aim of carrying on the tradition of Tenjo Sajiki in its performance of Terayama’s work, the group decides to revive the significant productions of Terayama afterwards.  A Laboratory of Theatre Play BAN’YU-INRYOKU is active in Japan and has toured in United Kingdom and Brazil.

 

Original Playwright: Jonathan Swift
Playwright / Director: Terayama Shuji
Revival Director / Music: J.A. Seazer
Co-Director / Performer: Takata Keitoku
Scenography / Costume /Make up Design: Kotake Nobutaka
Sound Design: Ozaki Hiroyuki

Lighting Design:

 

Masamura Sanami

Yamazaki Kayo

Performers:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inoo Rie

Kobayashi Keita

Kinoshita Mizuho

Tobinage Kiyoshi

Mori Yoko

Imamura Hiroshi

Tachikawa Ryo

Yamada Sakurako

Miyoshi Kabuto

Mitsumata Haruka

Okaniwa Hideyuki

Soda Akihiro

Sugimura Seiko

Kato Kazuma

Karasawa Hiroshi

Tobita Daisuke

Miki Shoya

 

DATE
VENUE
PRICE
13.12.2019 (Fri) - 14.12.2019 (Sat)
20:15
Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre
location
$480, $380, $280, $180
DATE
13.12.2019 (Fri) - 14.12.2019 (Sat)
20:15
PRICE
$480, $380, $280, $180

Tickets available from 27 September onwards at all URBTIX outlets, on internet, mobile app and credit card telephone booking.

 

Discount Scheme

Half-price tickets available for senior citizens aged 60 and above, people with disabilities and the minder, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) recipients. (Limited tickets for CSSA recipients available on a first-come-first-served basis.)

10% off for each purchase of 4-9 standard tickets; 15% off for 10-19 standard tickets; 20% off for 20 or more standard tickets.

Programme Enquiries:2268 7325
Ticketing Enquiries:3761 6661
Credit Card Telephone Booking:2111 5999
Internet Booking:www.urbtix.hk
 

The presenter reserves the right to change the programme and substitute artists.
The programme does not represent the views of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.

Two or Three Things I Know About Terayama Shuji

Text: IP Yuk-Yiu

Translated by: KCL Language Consultancy Limited

 

OneA Woman with Two Heads

In September 1999, the Hong Kong Arts Centre presented a retrospective on Terayama Shuji.   The event not only featured screenings of his film classics but also, more importantly, arranged a live performance of three of his film works: Laura, The Trial and A Woman with Two Heads.   By “film performance”, we usually refer to works that fuse film and live performance together with improvisation elements.   Film performance might be a marginal practice within the conventional paradigm of film art, but it in fact shares a deep historical relationship with early cinema as well as other pre-cinematic forms, such as the magic lantern. 

 

Twenty years have passed since then, and I still have a vivid memory of the show that night.   There was that naked man who got kicked out in Laura – it was both absurd and subversive.   At the end of The Trial, the audience went up to hammer nails onto the screen one by one, transforming a film screening into a ritual of crime and punishment.    Then, not to be left out of course was the beautiful and mournful shadow play in A Woman with Two Heads.   That night was a one-of-kind cinematic experience that has stayed with me to this day. 

 

Among Terayama's many experimental films, I consider the live version of A Woman with Two Heads his most poetic and powerful work.   The silver screen separated fiction and reality, objects and shadows, emotions and desires; the staggered crossover of truths and lies was nothing short of jaw-dropping.   I regard Terayama as one of the few artists who can truly integrate the language of the theatre and film into a unique and innovative aesthetics.   This certainly has to do with his background as a theatre director.   The fall of the wall at the end of Pastoral: To Die in the Country creates a sudden change in space and a division of history.   Similarly, the film's opening scene features a game of hide and seek in a graveyard, with the unyielding space highlighting the abruptness and forlornness in the disorder of time. 

 

A game of hide and seek

I am "it"

I cover my eyes in the darkness under the staircase

And so years passed in the world outside while I covered my eyes

"Ready?" I ask in my high-pitched, unchanged voice

"Ready", came the hoarse reply of an adult

 

‘The Imperial Rescript of Surrender – The Mystery That Is Me, Terayama Shuji’

 

 

TwoMount Osore

On the ride down the mountain, I received a message from a Japanese friend who told me to find some salt at once and throw it on my body, since he knew I just visited Mount Osore in Aomori Prefecture, northeastern Japan.   As its name suggests, Mount Osore, or Mount Dread, is a strange realm filled with odd mountains, and is a famous spiritual mountain in Japan.   The salt is for driving away evil spirits and ghosts. 

 

When the average Japanese hears the name 'Mount Osore', their thoughts immediately turn to stories of the supernatural, but more often than not, they would give you a questioning look and ask why you want to go there, of all places.   According to legends, Mount Osore is a crossing between this world and the spiritual realm, and is thus a renowned location for communicating with the deceased on the “Other Shore”.   Once a month, during the period when the mountain is open to the public, the area is packed with all kinds of people looking to communicate with the dead through spiritual mediums. 

 

Mount Osore also serves as the main setting for Terayama's feature-length film Pastoral: To Die in the Country.    Most of the shots of the hometown were filmed in the areas around Mount Osore: the lake, the desolate temple, the sulphur hills emitting steam, and the small, beautiful windmills planted in the ground – that is, all those strange and bewildering scenery that appeared in the film.   Stepping into Mount Osore was like entering the world of Pastoral: To Die in the Country.    Its scenery made me understand that, in Terayama's world, the subject and the object can be mirrors of each other.   So it is not difficult to understand the true meaning behind this famous quote from Terayama, "My profession is being Terayama Shuji.  ”

 

That evening I sat in Mount Osore's temple as a monk gave a sermon.   I did not understand Japanese, and could only aimlessly look around.   As my thoughts started to drift away, I realized with a jolt that I was sitting in the very temple hall that appeared at the end of the film where the female protagonist raped the young boy.   The sense of being there in that moment made it difficult for me to distinguish between what was real and what was not.   I have no idea if Mount Osore is a crossing between this world and the spiritual realm, but I am certain that it serves as a side door that can lead us to the world of Terayama. 

 

 

ThreeJ.A. Seazer

Terayama is without a doubt a cross-disciplinary wicked genius with incredible skills, but his works were also the result of creative collaboration with different partners, including his ex-wife and producer Kyoko Kujo, cinematographer Tatsuo Suzuki, actresses Keiko Niitaka and Yoko Ran and more.   Musician J.A. Seazer, characterised by his flowing locks, is among one of the most important members of this group. 

 

Terayama's works, be they feature-length films, short films or theatre, are all characterised by a strong musical touch, so much so that rather than merely as an important element of expression, music could become the thrust that ran throughout a work.   Shintokumaru, Grass Labyrinth, and Throw Away Your Books, Rally in the Streets are obvious examples, and J.A. Seazer happened to be the soul behind the music in Terayama's oeuvre. 

 

J.A. Seazer's music is hard to classify as he blends different cultures and genres with traditional and modern styles.   It is a mixture of avant-garde, psychedelic, folk, rock 'n' roll, traditional Japanese music, and musicals – one might say it is a music refined from the fusion of old and new, Japanese and Western.   But J.A. Seazer was not just a close music partner to Terayama; after the latter's death in 1983 and the dissolution of his theatre troupe Tenjo Sajiki, he formed the theatre group A Laboratory of Theatre Play BAN'YU-INRYOKU with the dual purpose of continuing his own creative pursuit and inheriting Terayama's theatre aesthetics and practices, thus promoting his works to the audience. 

 

One night, I walked into an underground music venue in Shibuya in Tokyo – a small bar that could house around a hundred people.   I stood in the second row, just three metres from the centre of the stage.   The seats in front were already filled with silver-haired senior folks.   Then into this tiny space thick with smoke, J.A. Seazer, with his long, grey locks, entered with his band.   With the first strike of a chord, everybody – from the old folks in front of me to the middle-aged uncles and aunties, and to the youngsters next to me – started headbanging together.   I could not help but find this a little bizarre, to the point of being comical, but I also felt deeply touched.   On their old, wrinkled faces, in the midst of their violently shaking heads, I seemed to see their youthful looks and passion from way back when.   As I recall it now, a collage of images of youth, the 1960s student movements in Japan, and all that is happening around us right now crosses my mind, and I can only let out a fainted sigh.   

 

 

IP Yuk-Yiu is an experimental filmmaker, media artist, art educator and independent curator.   His works, ranging from experimental films, live performances, media installations to video games, have been showcased extensively at major international venues and festivals, including European Media Art Festival, New York Film Festival (views from the avant-garde), the Image Festival, FILE Festival, VideoBrasil, Transmediale, NTT InterCommunication Center [ICC] and WRO media art Bienniale.   He is the founder of the art.ware project, an independent curatorial initiative focusing on the promotion of new media art in Hong Kong.   IP has over fifteen years of curatorial experience in film, video and media art.    Currently he is Associate Professor at the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong.    His recent works explore hybrid creative forms that are informed by cinema, video games and contemporary media art practices. 

Text: Nikodem Karolak (INLANDIMENSIONS Director and Overseas Manager of A Laboratory of Theatre Play BAN'YU INRYOKU)

 

Pastoral: To Die in the Country (aka Pastoral Hide and Seek)

“In the moment of match-strike, with fog on the sea – how could any homeland be worth throwing away my life?” writes Terayama in one of his most famous tanka poems.  Pastoral Hide and Seek is considered Terayama’s most personal work – a film in which the artist comes to terms with his own childhood, as well as proof that the reconstruction of history comes dangerously close to falsification.  This is a pseudo-autobiographical story a boy’s unsuccessful or imaginary escape from an authoritarian mother and a neighbor.  Set in a picturesque area, the film is deeply immersed in the spiritualistic world of the legends and traditions of the Aomori Prefecture, which Terayama considered his homeland.  There, on top of Mount Osore, the worlds of the living and the dead intermingle through blind shamans.  In the final moments, the adult protagonist comes face-to-face with a younger version of himself.  For Terayama, the creative process is a never-ending game that he plays against himself: the eponymous pastoral hide-and-seek.

 

 

Grass Labyrinth

A surreal journey into the depths of the subconscious of a young boy who is trying to find the words to a song that his mother used to sing to him when he was a child.  The title refers to a novel about ghosts by the famous Japanese writer Izumi Kyoka. Combining lyricism with eroticism, Grass Labyrinth was released in France in the Private Collection boxset alongside the works of Walerian Borowczyk and Just Jaeckin.

 

 

Fruits of Passion

Another Japanese–French co-production for Terayama following Grass Labyrinth. Loosely based on Pauline Réage’s novel Retour à Roissy (a continuation of the infamous Story of O), it revolves around themes of sadomasochistic fantasies and practices that the Japanese director developed earlier in his stage plays (Directions to Servants, La Marie-Vision and Jashumon), with references to Antoine Artaud’s theory of the theater of cruelty.  The action is moved to Shanghai in the second half of the 1920s, a time of territorial concessions and political chaos.  Sir Stephen (Klaus Kinski) locks up the adoring O (Isabelle Illiers) in a Chinese brothel, demanding proof of her total obedience and submission and exposing her to a series of degrading sexual acts, which she accepts with total subservience, like a sort of object. Terayama’s decadent empire of the senses is embellished by the baroque aesthetics of Chinese costumes and the psychedelic music of J.A. Seazer.

 

 

Throw Away Your Books, Rally in the Streets

Terayama’s full-length debut, filmed at a time of student protests and unrest.  The story of Eimei, a young boy growing up in a dysfunctional family who is trying to escape the slums of Tokyo.  His fate is intertwined with images from the lives of hippies, street actors, musicians and liberated youth burning American flags, rebelling against the political order and indulging in pot and sex.  The film is an example of media-crossing, i.e. a marriage of many different genres: a video clip, a musical film, a poem, a documentary and a theatrical street performance without a consistent, linear plot.  “We have to learn to read the streets,” says Terayama, calling for revolution through art, using the power of imagination, in a country that was trapped like a lizard in a Coke can.

 

 

Terayama: Performance

“I am a declared opponent of confining art to one genre.” Terayama once said.  A great example of this was his acclaimed happening Nokku (Stuk puk, 1975), a series of performances that took place in various parts of Tokyo.  A theater in which there are no actors and a theater where everyone is an actor, a theater without a theater building and a theater where every place is a theatrical space, a theater without spectators and a theater where everyone plays the role of spectator, street theater, theater by post and telephone, theater in hidden rooms and, finally, theater that crosses the threshold into homes.  The audience will experience something like this during special live screenings of the Japanese artist’s two best-known short films, Laura and The Trial, where the boundary between truth and fiction is completely blurred.  And so we meet in the cinema again, this time without knowing what’s going to happen—someone next to us might suddenly put their hand on our knee or unexpectedly pop out of the screen, and sometimes we’ll have to grab a hammer and take matters into our own hands. Henriku Morisaki-Terayama, a former Tenjo Sajiki actor and the artist’s step-brother and heir to his artistic estate, will be our special guest.

DATE
VENUE
PRICE
23.11.2019 (Sat)
14:00, 16:45, 20:30
24.11.2019 (Sun)
19:30
Theatre, Hong Kong City Hall
location
$60
DATE
23.11.2019 (Sat)
14:00, 16:45, 20:30
24.11.2019 (Sun)
19:30
PRICE
$60

Kaleidoscope on the Screen  

Terayama Shuji’s diverse creative projects were often interconnected: his films and dramas intertwined to form an eerie and imaginary world filled with dreams of erotic fantasy and escape.  He frequently made autobiographical inferences within his surreal films.

Kaleidoscope on Screen will showcase the avant-garde director’s 4 feature films and 2 short experimental short films with live performance to depict Terayama Shuji’s world of wonder.

 

Screening Schedule

23 November 2019 (Sat) 2pm

 Pastoral: To Die in the Country

 Japan|1974|Colour|104’

  4:45pm

Grass Labyrinth

 Japan|1979|Colour|50’

 Fruits of Passion#

 Japan, France|1981|Colour|83’

  8:30pm

Throw Away Your Books, Rally in the Streets

 Japan|1971|Colour|137’

24 November 2019 (Sun) 7:30pm

 Experimental Short Films

 Laura

 Japan|1974|Colour|9’

 The Trial (without dialogue)

 Japan|1975|Colour|34’

 Live performance: Terayama Henrikku


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unless otherwise stated, all films are in Japanese with English subtitles

# In Japanese, English and French with English subtitles

All films are limited to persons aged 18 and above only

Post-screening talk after the screening on 24 November

 

Speakers

Andrew Chan (Artistic Director of Alice Theatre Laboratory)

Kee To (Screen Writer, Film Critics, Founding member of Hong Kong Screenwriters' Guild and Hong Kong Film Critics Society)

Nikodem Karolak (INLANDIMENSIONS Director and Overseas Manager of A Laboratory of Theatre Play BAN'YU-INRYOKU)

Terayama Henrikku (Former Tenjo Sajiki Actor, Step-brother and Heir to artistic estate of Terayama Shuji)

 

Conducted in Cantonese, English and Japanese with Cantonese simultaneous interpretation.
 

Tickets available from 27 September onwards at all URBTIX outlets, on internet, mobile app and credit card telephone booking.

 

Discount Scheme

Half-price tickets available for senior citizens aged 60 and above, people with disabilities and the minder, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) recipients. (Limited tickets for CSSA recipients available on a first-come-first-served basis.)

10% off for each purchase of 4-10 standard tickets; 20% off for 11 or more standard tickets.

 

Programme Enquiries:2268 7325
Ticketing Enquiries:3761 6661
Credit Card Telephone Booking:2111 5999
Internet Booking:www.urbtix.hk
 

The presenter reserves the right to change the programme and substitute artists.
The programme does not represent the views of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.

DATE
VENUE
PRICE
28.11.2019 (Thu)
19:30
AC2, 4/F, Administration Building, Hong Kong Cultural Centre
location
Free Admission
DATE
28.11.2019 (Thu)
19:30
PRICE
Free Admission

 

Topic:

The Kaleidoscopic World of Terayama Shuji

Date:

28.11.2019 (Thur) 19:30

Venue:

AC2, 4/F, Administration Building, Hong Kong Cultural Centre

Speakers:

 

Andrew Chan (Artistic Director of Alice Theatre Laboratory)

Cheung Lik Kwan (Scholar of Cultural Studies)

Matthew Cheng (Cultural Critics)

 

Conducted in Cantonese.  Free admission.  

Online registration starts from 24 October at 10am.

DATE
VENUE
PRICE
13.12.2019 (Fri) - 14.12.2019 (Sat)
Level 2, Foyer of Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre
Free Admission
DATE
13.12.2019 (Fri) - 14.12.2019 (Sat)
PRICE
Free Admission

Poster Exhibition of Works by Terayama Shuji X Tenjo Sajiki

Date: 13-14.12.2019 (Fri - Sat)
Venue: Level 2, Foyer of Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre

 

Free Admission to ticket holders of Nuhikun (Directions to Servants) 30 minutes before the performance.

Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre
  • date13.12.2019 (Fri) - 14.12.2019 (Sat) 20:15
  • price$480, $380, $280, $180
BUY TICKET
House Programme
DATE
VENUE
PRICE
13.12.2019 (Fri) - 14.12.2019 (Sat)
20:15
Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre
location
$480, $380, $280, $180
DATE
13.12.2019 (Fri) - 14.12.2019 (Sat)
20:15
PRICE
$480, $380, $280, $180