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Digesting an "Out of Place Feeling"
Ground, Seagull from Berlin, Manjushage and Grandma Girl

Yukie Mase
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences

The 2011 autumn research meeting of the Japan Drama Academic Society was held with the convention theme of "disasters and theater," with an attempt to consider the vantage point of what theater takes in regards to disasters (December 3-4, Waseda University Collaborative Research Center for Theater and Film Arts). In questions at several panels and presentations, I heard the words of "out of place feeling" over and over again. Without getting toward a point of convergence, the discussions were in fact, extremely interesting. Over the issue of disasters, multiple differing viewpoints came into conflict with each other, but without turning our eyes away from this conflict itself, I once again felt that there was nothing else but to continue bringing the issue to a head and to raise awareness. In the first place, in this half a year, it has not been possible to escape developing this "out of place feeling" whatever one's level of livelihood. I am constantly tired of the switches in patterns of thinking with limitless emotions, but I wonder whether I cannot continue to have self-awareness in some way or another, in a form where this tired feeling is not in a state of inertia.

One of the opening performances of the F/T11 Festival Tokyo was Ground, which was directed by Norimizu Ameya (September 16-17, Yumenoshima Park Multipurpose Colosseum). Before an audience of people living in Japan in 2011, who have come to feel fear of touching the ground, the performers walked in a state that was close to barefoot on the Colosseum and dug up the earth with their bare hands. Furthermore, a future map with no Japan, which bore a close resemblance to Japan Sinks, was projected on a screen made to look like the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Kubrick's eerie mystery took on a sense of reality at the ending by combining the bones of the animals that had been used by anthropoids as weapons to beat to death their rivals, with the 2001 spaceship flown by humans that have developed nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, in the performance of Seagull from Berlin by Yoko Tawada and Aki Takase, performed at Waseda University (November 22, Waseda University Ono Memorial Auditorium), with a duet by the recitation of Tawada and the piano/recitation of Takase that made use of a non-continuous rhythm, an image was spun of Japan in the year 2017 from Tawada's recitation of an Island of the Undead. This is a Japan where a decline in the power supply has meant the lives of the people have drastically changed. This is Japan where the movement of people has become exceedingly slow with the popularity of "fantasy brain games." At the points where the strange rhythmic duet increases hearing sensitivity, a different image of Japan in the near future rises up with a sense of reality like déjà vu. Both of these productions were challenging and stimulating pieces that elicited a radical background of an "out of place feeling."

On the other hand, Manjushage, a work of Chie Atoh (September 30 - October 5, P Company) and Grandma Girl, Satoko Yokohama (Distribution: Little More), were pieces that upon recognizing an "out of place feeling" with an "out of place feeling," rather than these being in opposition to each other, there was a conspicuous freshness, like innovative transcendence. Manjushage was a short piece of 30 minutes that introduced only two men, but the presentation of a unique worldview sharing the time and space of "here and now" by systems of thought that differed, with the possibility of "mutual understanding" and "bouncing ideas off of one and another" by the two of them who shared no memories of perspectives was even vividly shocking. Even if "you" is in eternally in other people, this does not manifest itself as a foreign substance that should be removed. Grandma Girl is a piece of film, but dares itself to come into contact with this theater review. This is because this piece has a feeling that has been created inside the theater of "audience seats that are not safe" in a sense of Shuuji Terayama. In addition to Yokohama's piece, I watched German + Rain and Ultra Miracle Love Story, but even though I felt extremely heavy after watching these for the first time, for some reason on other, these did not leave my mind, and with each passing day, I wanted to see them one more time. These did not only involve sitting in seats calmly, but I think I can also say I developed a feeling of wanting to "be involved" in my own way with the worlds of these pieces. In a style of unprecedented dislocation of completely loving married life with a "woman that throws open with firmness the doors when using the toilet in the morning," in an instant the strength in one's shoulders exits.

While having an awareness of an "out of place feeling," I fix my attention on this "out of place feeling" from another angle and this distances me even further. Each time I encounter this expression, I welcome the twelfth month of the lunar year in 2011, when I feel I can try and hold my head high a little bit.

Yukie Mase
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Graduated from School of Letters, Arts and Sciences II, Waseda University majoring in literary art. Started current position after completing her doctorate at the Graduate School of Letters, Arts and Sciences, Waseda University and the Faculty of Literature, Lumière University Lyon 2. Majors in Western theatre texts with a focus on France and production. Wrote From Novels to Drama-Jean Giraudoux Changes in Narration(Waseda University Press), and major essays such as Fujita and Giraudoux--Surrounding Unknown《Chance Encounter》 (Comparative Literature Annual No.47).