Lost in Translation

After watching the show, I realized after all of the adjustments and changes to create a kyōgen cyber performance, there are aspects of theatre that just can’t be re-created to fit the digital world. Watching the Shigeyama family perform Tachiubai only made me wish even more that Robert Torigoe and I were in the same space working off of each other’s energy and rhythm for Mango. Their energy, timing, and play with each other was so much fun to witness. Their performance worked very well on film because they were all in the same space, and we got to see and hear their natural rhythm. In addition, being able to see their full bodies really accentuated the physical comedy and definitely added to the story! After watching Tachiubai, I was instantly proud of what we created and impressed with the work because it is incredibly hard to translate theatre online. During the rehearsal process, I heard myself fill Kennedy theatre with my voice in an attempt to do my best to portray a powerful yamabushi, I sweated profusely as I squatted “in the tree” and even iced my ankles after long sessions of squatting grateful my reality matched the character’s reality so that I didn’t have to hide how difficult it was. After all of that, I wondered, will any of this translate? I longed to be in the same building as my scene partner, the crew, and the audience as we all breathe together. I will say that one of the best things that came out of our kyōgen cyber performance is the ability to share it with family and friends beyond the island. This experience is so unique and deserves to be shared! Even though I wasn’t necessarily in the same space as people when I watched the show, the chat was active and family and friends from the continent texted and congratulated me on the show. For the first time, my parents were able to see my work “live” at UH. What a treat to see audience comments and questions during the show and being able to respond and answer in real-time. The day will come where we all can experience theatre in person again. In the meantime, my immediate theatre community grows as we continue to watch shows online with people from all over the world.

– Christine Chang, Mango Yamabushi & Mask Confusion

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