Breaking chain of hierarchy and routine in ‘Package’

TEHRAN, Jan. 22 (MNA) – Theatergoers from Tehran gathered at Vahdat Hall on Sun. night to watch ‘Package’ directed by the Japanese choreographer Shusaku Takeuchi, as part of the competition section of 36th Fajr Theater Festival.

Fajr Theater Festival seems to always leave a room for a production from Japan, or at least produced by a Japanese artist, which transcends the traditional, ordinary concepts of theater and crosses over the rigid limitations of language in order to create a performance that is at once both understandable and confusing to the audience around the world.

Last year, it was a dazzling performance by Tokyo-based video projection dance group ‘Siro-A’, “a fusion of video projection, dance and comedy…a mixed entertainment show,” according to its director, Mr. Cocoona.

The 34th edition of the festival in 2016 hosted ‘Shadow Game’ by Dazzle Company and directed by Tatsuya Hasegawa, which enjoyed its first international exposure to an enthusiastic reception from the Iranian audience. ‘Shadow Game’ was no traditional play, it was all hip hop and street dance, electronic music, role-playing video game and a charming, anime-like story. 

This year, the physical theater piece named ‘Package’ directed by the Japanese choreographer Shusaku Takeuchi but representing Germany, was perhaps more subtle in its flight of imagination, but did not shy away from taking steps into the realm of dance theater with surrealist characters, a nightmarish vision of a giant spider parading around the stage, or the perfected dancing moves among the flying stacks of paper and documents, leaving the audience astonished and delighted on the edge of their seats.

‘Package’ was created by Shusaku Takeuchi for his group Bodytorium in the Netherlands in 1993. He has been touring with it around the world for all these 23 years, and each time, adapting the performance to the setting of the given location.

On the stage of Vahdat Hall in downtown Tehran, the performance made use of a number of white, ordinary tables that the actors kept rearranging as the show progressed, a ceiling-to-floor screen that rattled and made noises, lots of stacks of paper that were thrown over head during the intense dance moves, and a group of musicians placed on a higher platform, creating loud, jarring, blood-curdling and hair-raising music, to turn the setting for the daily life of office workers into a fantastic nightmarish vision where nothing made sense but everything had a sinister and eerie air about it.

What starts as ordinary, the mundane, the programmed, is thrown into rebellion, chaos, change; challenging the hierarchy and setting yourself free “like a dolphin”. Dancing erratically and out of control. Discarding limiting rules and throwing the routine out of the window, or in this case, flying across the stage.

The performance asks a simple, but a very important question: Once the link in the chain of hierarchy breaks free, “what are the limits of human fantasy? And who’ll join in?”

The 36th edition of Fajr Theater Festival is currently underway in Tehran from 18-29 January, 2018. 

News Code 131508

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