Maribor, 2. June (STA) – The Maribor Puppet Theatre will on 8 June host a Japanese-Slovenian co-production about the thin line between life and death entitled “Audition for Life”. The performance by the Slovenian Betontanc group and the Japanese The Original Tempo is based on a Japanese story, “The Spider’s Thread”.
The two groups of performers met as the Slovenian dance group held a one-month residence in Japan in April. The communication with the Japanese multimedia group was problematic at first, but this prompted them to create a show, which is a result of what was “lost in translation”, according to Matjaž Pograjc, who together with Masahiro Kinoshita directed the play.
The story “The Spider’s Thread” by Ryunosuke Akutagawa is a story about Buddha who tries to save a criminal called Kandata from hell because he made one good deed in his life – he spared a tiny spider’s life.
The authors of the play therefore wonder what is that thing in a person that makes them worthy of their existence on this world.
Pograjc found a Slovenian equivalent to the Japanese story in “Pekarna Mišmaš” (Bakery Mišmaš) by Svetlana Makarovič, a fairytale about baker Mišmaš, who makes the best bread with the help of little mice who turn into courtiers during the night. “It is a moral story which transforms into a higher form through the characters that appear in it.”
“Audition for Life” is the fifth international co-production for the Betontanc group and according to actress Katarina Stegnar it is also the most challenging.
Apart from Stegnar, the show features Slovenians actors Ivan Peternelj and Branko Potočan, and Japanese Yuka Hyoudo and Shuichi Sakaguchi.
The duo Silence is in charge of the musical part of the play, while accordion player Marko Brdnik and guitarist Katsunori Takayama also contributed to it.
Stegnar said that the dualism of heaven and hell in the play enabled her to transpose her feelings. “I often felt caught up in the hell of miscommunication, in hell of completely different relations. But I must also say that heaven is boring and I definitely don’t want to go there.”
Hyoudo agreed that the creative process was exhausting but said that she enjoyed it very much. She thinks it is essential that performers try to create something despite the differences among them.
After the premiere in Maribor next Saturday, the play will be staged one more time as part of the European Capital of Culture (EPK) on Sunday, while it will also be on in Ljubljana’s Stara elektrarna between 11 and 15 June.
The premiere in Japan will most likely take place at the beginning of next year, while the staging of the play at several important Japanese theatres is also planned. They project is a part of Maribor’s stint as culture capital.