Edinburgh Fringe 2022 
Interview

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tarinainanika
The Same Boat 
& Tokyo Fugue

tarinainanika is a Osaka-based theatre company showcasing two digital production as part of C Venues Digital Portal at the 2022 Edinburgh Fringe Festival; The Same Boat & Tokyo Fugue.

Hi Tania how does it feel to be heading to Edinburgh Fringe C Venues, C digital this summer?

Brilliant. Although it would be better to be heading there in person.

 

Are there any nerves about sharing your show during your debut fringe?

Since we’re participating digitally the main worry is whether we’ve done enough to spread the word and make the most of this opportunity.

 

What does Edinburgh Fringe mean to you?

It’s the bustling centre of the bustling world of European performance. 

 

You trained and began your theatre career’s in London, how much has did you time and experience in the UK help prepare you for your creative journey?

We trained at the International School of Corporeal Mime and began our theatre careers with the Theatre de l’Ange Fou. Both the school and the company are run by Steven Wasson and Corinne Soum. Every moment of our many years with them was gold dust. They nurtured in us the passion, the persistence, the technical skill and so much else that has been vital to our creative journey. It was a total apprenticeship which shaped who we are as artists and as people. 

 

Later in July you are going to have a performance of your Work-in-progress Rey Camoy, what can you tell me about this?

There are six of us on stage. We all play characters from the paintings and life of a Japanese artist called Rey Camoy (1928 - 1985). The world of his paintings is dark but the humanity shines through clearly. We hope to capture both the darkness and the light. 

 

Can you tell me how Tokyo Fugue and The Same Boat came about, where did the inspiration for your show come from?

Tokyo Fugue started with nothing but the idea to make a show for 3 people (til then we had mainly made duets). As we improvised and played around with the possibilities of three bodies on stage, various themes emerged. One was metropolitan life. We were struck by the sight of people asleep on the trains in Tokyo. In this vast metropolis - where there’s so much to do and so many places to go - how come so many people are falling asleep? Another theme was fugue. This came from the idea of daily routine. Every day people get on the same train and go to the same place at the same time. Are we just going around in circles? And we associated this with the Yamanote train line, which is a loop line going round and round and round the city.

 

For The Same Boat we started by asking the performers what they wanted to do on stage. Each of the five actors created a solo scene based on their current sources of inspiration and frustration. From there we considered what the other actors could do during each solo. How could they reinforce the drama, or provide a counterpoint to it. 

 

What would you say have been the most valuable lessons you have taken from creating these shows and what have you discovered about yourself during this whole process?

Every time I make a show I get a little bit clearer about what matters most to me and what I want to see on stage. In other words what I find beautiful, touching and important. And I get a little clearer about what it takes to express these things. I realise more and more the importance of paying attention to the technical details, asking questions such as: what is the ideal rhythm for this action, when should it speed up or slow down, and by how much? The deeper you dig - with all the exasperation and dead-ends that implies - the more likely that the passion will seep through. 

 

What does this show say about you as a writer/performer?

That we want our shows to express the things we (and all the actors) care about. 

That we believe beauty can take many forms.

That we’re a little bit crazy. 

Tokyo Fugue

"Its partly our personalities as well as the influence of our teachers - who were constantly inviting us to create, not just recreate."

Have you always had a passion for physical theatre and how did tarinainanika come about?

My case and Kentaro’s are very different. He wanted to be an actor from a very young age. I only discovered a passion for theatre in my mid-20s. I was at that time a management consultant working in London. By chance one day I picked up a flyer for a workshop in Corporeal Mime, little knowing it would change my life. 8 years later, Kentaro and I moved from London to Tokyo and set up our own company, which we named after our first piece, tarinainanika. It roughly translates as “that missing something”. Every show we make is a search for “that missing something”. 

 

What would be the best way you could describe Corporeal Mime?

A stylised form of theatre based on the expressive power of the body. 

 

How important is the collaboration between you both when creating new works?

We both have input to almost every aspect of our shows. There are some areas we each tend to spend more time on. For instance in Tokyo Fugue the soundtrack was my department, and the video editing was Kentaro’s. But even in those areas we still use one another to bounce ideas around and give feedback.

 

Has your style and the approach to your writing and performing changed much since you started out?

Our style of acting and directing is constantly evolving. It’s partly our personalities as well as the influence of our teachers - who were constantly inviting us to create, not just recreate.  And of course we’re influenced by our environment and the people we’re working with.  

 

Was it always your intention as physical theatre makers to set up you the Osaka School of Corporeal Mime and Performing Arts?

Yes. We see ourselves as a link on the chain of Corporeal Mime history. We were lucky enough to receive the teaching of Steven Wasson and Corinne Soum, who in turn were taught by Etienne Decroux, the founder of Corporeal Mime. It’s very important to us now to continue the tradition and nurture the next generation. 

 

Do you have any advice, tips or suggestions you would offer anyone thinking about getting into physical theatre?

Come to Osaka and study with us at the Flying Carpet Factory! 

 

And finally, what do you want your fringe audiences to take away from Tokyo Fugue and The Same Boat?

I’d like people to come out of our shows with their hearts throbbing and their souls yearning for beauty.