There was definitely a common theme in today’s theatrical productions, with half of them based around alternative realities constructed in the minds of traffic accident victims in their dying seconds. Of course, there is every chance that I wildly misinterpreted what little I understood of these complex storylines, and that they were instead redemptive fables, based around the life cycle of a butterfly, or something. I’m sure that all was explained in the program, but given that it would have taken me between now and Christmas to decipher it, that wasn’t much help.
The narrative of the other plays in today’s pageant ranged from a story about using children to develop military technology, to the pain caused by racketeering. But again, these outlines come with the caveat that my ‘understanding’ owed far more to an ability to predict a logical narrative structure based around a handful of words and conjectures, rather than any innate understanding of what on earth was going on. Overall, my personal conclusion from this weekend’s festivities were that, judging from these performances, the future of modern Japanese theatre appears to be in a very rude state of health, although the overriding sense of menace and disparity in most of the pieces (I counted one ‘happy’ ending) seems to indicate a morbid fascination with the dark and the desolate. Of course whether that is due to the plays themselves or merely to the images that I conjured in my head is another question entirely.