It was wonderful to have an opportunity to revisit my childhood love for folktales in this production. I remember watching “Manga Japanese folktales” on TV every Saturday and I also read everything available at my elementary school library.
I also developed an obsession for European fairy tales around the same time and I became aware of the differences between the stories from the east and the west. They were equally fascinating and I loved them both dearly. But they were very very different. As a child I remember associating those differences with certain smells.
Japanese folktales smelt like moss and green tea and sometimes like an incense. Whereas, Grimm fairly tales smelt like earth and blood.
Japanese folktales are unique in that they often have no clear endings or the morals to go with the stories. But they carry the sentiment of the hardships the characters lived through or most significantly, the sense of awe people shared for the nature surrounding them.
Japanese folktales are about the people or the beings (creatures) who were at one with the nature. It is about the world where everything had life and spirit. It was the time when people found gods in everything.
With “Yama”, I had a privilege to perform in two of the national gardens of beauty in Yamagata prefecture. I only hope to bring the same kind of liveliness to a blackbox theatre in Shinjuku so the audience can imagine the grand landscape of Yamagata as the stories unfold.