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Tokyo Culture Creation Project
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From November 5 to December 28, 2014
Antigone Dead People, Small Wooden Shoe, dracom
December 27, 19:00 open, 19:30 start
December 28, 19:00 open, 19:30 start
Adv 2,500 yen, Door 3,000 yen
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Antigone Dead People

Pre-recorded Antigone of our times in the absence of the prophet

Small Wooden Shoe, a (mostly) theatre company based in Toronto whose activities’ keywords are “faith,” “obedience,” “generosity,” “rigour,” “risk,” “big,” “cheap” and “theatre,” has created an Antigone of our times in the absence of the prophet, which premiered at The Tranzac Club, Toronto’s unofficial home of experimental music, in 2012. All the characters are dead from the beginning, and as long as they are not aware of the fact that they are dead, they enact their drama through pre-recorded speech. Emerging sound artist and composer Christopher Willes does the audio, and the writer is Evan Webber, whose Little Iliad and its sequel, Ajax, which connect Sophocles’ Trojan War plays, U.S. Military PTSD therapy and Skype via Afganistan, have drawn international attention. “The endless, reiterative confrontation between a corrupt but practical state and the idealist individual is represented as a kind of karaoke track” (Webber). It is an Antigone played by ghosts who have been performing the same story already for more than 2,000 years. Long since dislocated and instumentalized, their tragedy now means something very different from Sophocles’ version first performed around 441 B.C.. Here, the ghosts begin to wonder what would happen if they could perform it differently. Small Wooden Shoe’s artistic director Jacob Zimmer asserts, “The ideal might be a standing community of collaborators who work on projects together for months or years and also, if needed, create a play in twenty minutes to be performed that night.” Now the company creates a Japanese version of the play in an one-week collaboration period with dracom, the Osaka-based performance group led by Jun Tsutsui that have long been working with the experimental employment of pre-recorded speech. A world premiere. Performed in English/Japanese and surtitled in Japanese/English. Consider the play’s hard subject in a soft ballroom environment, just like in Brecht’s “smoker’s theatre” — though of course smoking in the seating area isn’t permitted!


Written by: Evan Webber | Directed by: Jacob Zimmer with Frank Cox-O’Connell | Co-directed by: Jun Tsutsui | Performers: Banri Kitano (dead Antigone), Hiroki Murayama (dead Creon), Frank Cox-O’Connell (dead Polynixes), Yo Yoshida (dead Haemon), Natsumi Kamada (dead Ismene), Hiroyuki Kozaka (dead guard), Evan Webber (dead professional mourner), Keiko Yamaguchi (dead professional mourner’s dead apprentice) | Voices: *see the Toronto cast | Stage manager: So Ozaki | Sound: Christopher Willes | Scenography: Trevor Schwellnus | Costumes: Vanessa Fischer | Masks: Sherri Hay | Management: Ame Henderson, Sachiko Uchiyama | Translation: Manami Hara, Tomoyuki Arai | Surtitles: Tomoyuki Arai | Staff: Kensuke Kojima | Co-production: Small Wooden Shoe and dracom in association with EW & FCO | Documentation: Kenta Matsuo (video), Tomoyuki Arai (sound), Hideto Maezawa (photo)

Premiere: October 18, 2012 at Tranzac, Toronto | Cast: Maev Beaty (dead Antigone), Philip Shepherd (dead Creon), Liz Peterson (dead Ismene), Frank Cox-O'Connell (dead Haemon), Sean Dixon (dead Polynixes), Sky Gilbert (dead professional mourner), Lindsey Clark (dead professional mourner’s dead apprentice), Antonio Cayonne (dead guard) | In collaboration with: Leora Morris, Trevor Schwellnus, Christopher Willes, Matt Smith, Vanessa Fischer, Marcie Januska, JP Robichaud | Production by Small Wooden Shoe in association with Theatreworks Productions. With help from Theatre Passe Muraille, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and The Theatre Centre. The original production was supported by the Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, Toronto Arts Council.

Jacob Zimmer profile

Director, writer, dramaturge and performer. Born in Cape Breton and growing up in Halifax, he now lives in Toronto. Studied theatre at Simon Fraser University’s School for the Contemporary Arts and was an intern with The Wooster Group and studied Viewpoints, Composition and Suzuki with Anne Bogart and the SITI Company in New York. Jacob received the 2008 Ken McDougall Award for emerging directors. Along with founding Small Wooden Shoe, Jacob works in dance as a dramaturge with Dancemakers and in an on-going collaboration with choreographer Ame Henderson / Public Recordings. He was the inaugural Toronto Fringe Research Chair looking into “Populism we can stand behind.”

Small Wooden Shoe logo

Founded in 2001 by Jacob Zimmer in Halifax and now based in Toronto, Small Wooden Shoe is a (mostly) theatre company that comprises collaborators from diverse backgrounds and swings between the intimate and the epic. The name comes from the tools that French workers would use to jam the machinery when on strike (their “sabot” — small wooden shoes — gave English the word “sabotage”). Believing that good ideas are entertaining, their work has included a large-scale reading of Brecht newly translated by themselves (Life of Galileo for Tracy Wright), challenging readings combined with songs that are easy to sing (Difficult Plays and Simple Songs), live-to-tape variety shows (The Fun Palace Radio Variety Show), a direct conversation with audience in a kitchen about coal miners’ movement in the early 20th century (Sedition — or Kindness Makes Me Cry Like Nothing Else), a theatrical lecture about scientific revolutions (Dedicated to the Revolutions), a massive whole-day “UnConference” without panels and lectures, Christmas concerts, online think tanks, public meetings, workshops, keynote lectures and publications, all of which they consider to be part of the same larger project that is Small Wooden Shoe.

Jun Tsutsui profile

Jun Tsutsui

Playwright, director and performer. MA at Osaka University of Arts in 1997. Received the Performing Arts Award of Kyoto Arts Center for his direction of dracom’s Moreuta in 2007. Selected as a Saison Fellow, a recipient of The Saison Foundation’s scholarship/grant program for artists in the fields of contemporary theatre and dance, in 2014. In addition to writing and directing for dracom’s performances, he has been directing for other productions, groups and projects such as Theatre Project 2008 (a reading performance of a play by Korean playwright Sung Ki woong), Takatsuki Senior Theatre Company, Toenkai, We dance, Dance Fanfare Kyoto, and Dance Box’s research project “About Dances in Shin-Nagata,” as well as performing in works by Zan Yamashita, Masataka Matsuda / Marebito-no-kai, Kitamari / KIKIKIKIKIKI, Yukichi Matsumoto / Ishinha and Yoshiro Hatori.

dracom logo

A performance collective founded in 1992 mainly by students of Osaka University of Arts as Dramatic Company and renamed itself as dracom in 1998. Led by playwright/director Jun Tsutsui, they present a full performance annually, which they call “Saiten [Festival].” Among their past “Saiten” works are a 20-hour performance Green that made a full use of the length of time for which they rented the venue (2003), Tokushu Hamlet [A feature on Hamlet] that collaged information found on the Internet with a search term “hamlet” (2004), Moreuta [Leaking Song] that created estranging sensations by staggering recorded speeches and performers’ silent movements (2007), Hakarazumo [Unintentionally], a story of groups of young people who try to apply the rules of a sports to a different sports (2008), Jiken-Bo [Book/Mother of Incident] inspired by a murder of a mother in Aizu-Wakamatsu (Fukushima Prefecture) and the Oresteia trilogy by Aeschylus (2010, an Emerging Artists program in Festival/Tokyo), gutter (2011) based on Sophocles’ Ajax and a true story of an old man who tried to kill himself but only fell into a gutter in front of his house, and Hobo no Tei [Scurrying Away] (in OSAKA, Kitakagaya) that was shown in a camping tent to 10 to 15 people (2013).

Small Wooden Shoe Sedition, or Kindness Makes Me Cry Like Nothing Else by Small Wooden Shoe (2012)
dracom Hobo no Tei (in OSAKA, Kitakagaya) by dracom (2013)

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