Fujikura's Metamorphosis of a Living Room: WP in Vienna

Fujikura's Metamorphosis of a Living Room: WP in Vienna

At the invitation of the Wiener Festwochen, director Toshiki Okada and composer Dai Fujikura, both world-renowned in their respective disciplines, are working together for the first time, exploring a new form of musical theatre. In it, they pursue the idea of allowing the spoken language and music to take to the stage as independent and idiosyncratic protagonists. For Metamorphosis of a Living Room, six Japanese actors from Okada’s company chelfitsch and seven musicians of the Klangforum Wien share the stage. They tell the story of a family facing eviction. Little by little, the music and scenic actions blend together, opening possibilities for the emergence of an entirely new experience. All manner of narration, the entire anthropocentric world, dissolve in sound.

About Metamorphosis of a Living Room

Music theatre, or shall we say music and theatre? I have thus far written three operas, but this is the first time I have written a musical theatre piece. However, it is not the same as what is normally meant by the term ´music theatre`. From the age of three until I was ten, I was in a theatre group where I learned about acting and made theatre with actors who ranged from children to adults. This happened every week and brought back a lot of memories for me when I was watching the rehearsals every day with the group of actors led by Okada. Needless to say, the actors involved in this music theatre are first-rate. Due to the pandemic, I was working from my home in London while the actors rehearsed in Tokyo. We collaborated in such a way that I sometimes composed while watching the actors rehearse under Okada’s direction. Then, when they were going through the scene again, I could play that freshly composed demo from London via the internet, synchronizing the music with the actors in Tokyo. The actors reacted to the music as they heard it for the first time. The music I sent from my room in London reached Tokyo in just 0,5 seconds with CD quality or even higher resolution. Okada and I collaborated peacefully and creatively. I reacted to his script and his direction to the actors, and his script also reacted to the music I composed, reflecting his direction as well. This is the true meaning of 50/50 collaboration.

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World premiere of Metamorphosis of a Living Room

Press quotes

"The characters speak, as is so often the case with Okada, not about what depresses or troubles them; rather, seemingly everyday topics are dealt in terse sentences and long pauses. The unsaid always resonates here. It is no coincidence the Japanese theatre maker is sometimes compared with Samuel Beckett – the classic of existential bush-beating. Fujikuara’s composition fits this principle perfectly, as the musicians accompany, underline, and comment on the performance with pointedly-placed sounds and repeated clusters. Where there is talk of heavy rain, we hear a sequence of sounds that resembles a downpour. A real-estate owner and apartment manager’s voices become distorted and tinny, like Darth Vader, like delegates sent from the Death Star."
Nachtkritik, 14.05.2023

"Fujikura underscores with fitting atmosphere Okada’s central stylistic device, that sees his actors perform slow, absurd movements to their texts in a way that is reminiscent of Butoh theatre (the Japanese “dance of darkness”). The recluse’s great inner turmoil finds correspondence in the dissonant tonal sequences that wander over the instruments, the heavy rain and excitement resound in a rapid pizzicato, and the uncanny guest announces himself through chords typical of cinematic suspense. All of this to which the colourful-costumed Hikikomoris at the end of the stage their texts with drawling, long pauses as if from another world. "
Süddeutsche Zeitung, 21.05.2023

World premiere of Metamorphosis of a Living Room

"The Klangforum Wien’s musicians sit far in front of the action, place clear accents, and provide the soundtrack. Rain is portrayed with pizzicato power, bass clarinet and contrabassoon provide a threatening Wagnerian rumble, and meditative strings at times recall the US avant-gardist Morton Feldman."
HAZ, Neue Presse, 23.05.2023

Photos: Martin Kaufhold
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