Alternative Theatre on the Cutting Edge with ALATA
Japan's traditional performance arts are surprisingly well known beyond its borders, with the visual spectacle of the likes of kabuki losing none of its appeal in translation, yet the equally dynamic world of contemporary theatre is relatively unknown. Now the Alternative Theatre in East Tokyo's Yurakucho district just to the south-west of Nihombashi is aiming to address this with a new entertainment concept that bridges the modern with the classical, and in doing so might actually find much more in common than you might expect.
The state of the art Alternative Theatre opens to the public this July, and in the intimate space visitors will be lost in immersive 360 degree project mapping. Like a contemporary take on the hanamichi, "flower road" of kabuki theatre that intersects the seating bringing the actors into the audience, in the form of raised platforms and a fly system so that the actors can soar over the audience's heads. For their first spectacular the theatre gives creative freedom to the young star of chanbara, traditional Japanese swordplay, Yuki Saotome, and fresh talent of the street dance scene Elina for a kinetic performance that sees a 16th century samurai warrior transplanted to futuristic Tokyo in 2020.
Entirely non-verbal in its storytelling, the production takes quintessentially Japanese settings and traditional techniques but presents them so that Japanese culture can be enjoyed across borders and language barriers. It is a path well-trodden by artist and musician Mili who lends her borderless musical talents to the production, and whose phenomenally popular rhythm game Deemo and YouTube presence has won her fans all over the globe without compromising her distinctly Japanese popular culture tastes.
See the new face of Japanese theatre for yourself from July 7th with tickets available online now.