The winner of SePT’s 2019 Theatre Tram Next Generation Vol. 12 competition, Akira Yamazaki’s warui-shibai (Bad Theatre) company will present its latest work, Me at the Zoo, a play that explores humans’ underlying brutality.
Launched in 2008, this annual open competition aims to foster promising young dramatists and their theatre companies. The winner is offered SePT’s full support to stage a work in its 225-seat Theatre Tram. Among previous winners are companies prominent in today’s theatre scene in Japan, such as Faifai, Fukaiproduce Hagoromo, Tegami-za, Takuro Suzuki, Kaimaku Pennant Race, to R mansion and Dorobo Taisaku Light.
Now, as the program’s 12th winner, the playwright, director and actor Akira Yamazaki and his warui-shibai (Bad Theatre) company present their latest work, “Me at the Zoo,” at Theatre Tram for five days from Dec. 4–8.
Since Yamazaki founded the company in Kyoto in 2004, it has regularly presented works there as well as in Osaka and Tokyo. In 2012 his Dada no Katamari-desu was nominated for the 56th annual Kishida Drama Award, and in 2017 he won the OMS Drama Award with his Mero Mero-tachi .
For its 15th anniversary production, warui-shibai presents Me at the Zoo, a variation on its highly-acclaimed Dada no Katamari-desu with an on-stage band adding to the provocative, high-energy action.
In addition, Yamazaki has enlisted several young actors and actresses active in a wide range of fields to join his company’s cast. In particular, these include the in-demand Mikoto Hibi, well-known since her role in this year’s hit TV drama “A 3rd-grade Class at School – All Taken Hostage”; prominent stage actor and animation voice actor, Yuki Fujiwara; the popular actress Reiko Tanaka, who debuted in the Daigo Matsui movie “Ice to Amaoto”; and Kantaro Kubo, a movie, TV and radio actor who is also a leading member of younger theatre-goers’ popular Tokyo-based Cromemolybdan theatre company.
“Despair in the past, hope in the future; all that exists at the moment is envy.”
A sleepy town’s only feature is its zoo on top of a mountain.
Then one night all the people and animals disappear from the zoo.
Yet still, eight years later, the listless townspeople still talk about “our zoo” and dream about a bright future when their hard times are over.
“Me at the Zoo”
“Me at the Zoo” is the title of the first-ever video on YouTube. The 18-second work was uploaded on April 23,
2005 by the site’s co-founder, Jawed Karim (using the online name “jawed”), and recorded by his high-school friend Yakov Lapitsky.
The company’s name doesn’t really mean “bad theatre,” its English translation, since it is actually an abbreviation of “Waruikedo shibai (wo) sasete kudasai” (“Excuse us, but let us do theatre”).
Led from the outset by the playwright and director Akira Yamazaki, it debuted with a street performance in Kyoto on Dec. 24 2004, afterwards becoming popular around the Kansai region before moving to Tokyo.
The company’s forte is conjuring up super-imaginative worlds filled with provocative dialog and almost fanatical body movements. In addition, edgy but catchy music typically adds to the power of their performances in line with warui-shibai’s motto to create “unique, individual and contemporary theater for today’s audiences.”
Cast & Creative
Written & directed by Akira Yamazaki
Music by Taro Okada
Cast: Mikoto Hibi, Yuki Fujiwara, Reiko Tanaka, Kantaro Kubo
Yuzuki Nakanishi, Mika Ushio, Naoki Azuma, Hanaka Hatanaka, Jumpei Ueta, Akira Yamazaki
Band member:Marche Ⅱ(Drums), Rikiya Kanazawa(Bass), Taro Okada(Guitar), Shoko Yamamoto(Trombone）, Late Kuroda(Piano/Keyboard)
Message from Akira Yamazaki (playwright, director and actor)
I really feel it’s a great honor to be chosen as the 2019 Theatre Tram Next Generation winner.
In the famous first YouTube video, “Me at the Zoo,” a young man standing in front of an elephant enclosure just says how “cool” their long trunks are. I use that as a basic image in this new play and try to describe most people’s (but not my own) beastly desires they cleverly hide from view.
I also use my company’s signature live music to the maximum and for our first performance at Theatre Tram I’ve added a roster of colorful and powerful guest actors. So, even though lots of high-culture productions are presented at Theatre Tram, we’ll be staging a light and provocative work as only we can.
I think to say any more would detract from people’s anticipation and then their surprise — so please come to Theatre Tram in December and see our new play Me at the Zoo for yourself.
no images were found
◆=Cameras will be installed in the audience area for recording purposes.
A childcare service is normally available for performances staged at Setagaya Public Theatre and Theatre Tram for which advance tickets are sold.
|Charge:||¥2,200 per child|
|Eligibility:||Children aged over 6 months and up to 9 years of age|
|Applications:||Tel. 03-5432-1526 Setagaya Public Theatre
You may reserve childcare services up to noon of the day 3 days before the desired reservation time, but when the number of children registered reaches capacity, applications will closed. So please make your reservation well in advance. Also, please consult with the theatre regarding children with special needs.
|Subcontractor:||Kids’ Room Tinker bell Sancha|
Both Setagaya Public Theatre and Theatre Tram are equipped with wheelchair spaces to allow visitors to watch performances from their wheelchairs. However, as capacity is limited, use of wheelchair spaces is by reservation only.
|Charge:||10% discount on the corresponding area ticket charge (plus up to one attendant free of charge)|
|Applications:||Tel. 03-5432-1515 Theatre Ticket Centre|
Wheelchair spaces may be reserved up to 19:00 on the day before the desired date, but when the number of reservations reaches capacity, applications will be closed. So please make your reservation well in advance.