Kuro Tanino Came to Paris with Two Plays
As part of the Paris Autumn Festival, Kuro Tanino, former psychiatrist turned director, has put on a memorable performance in the Théâtre de Gennevilliers with two major plays, one set in a hot springs inn and the other in a restaurant.
With his minute attention to detail and his surprising, immersive sets, Tanino’s theater is realist at first glance, before his colourful characters are engulfed in sensual, disturbing, burlesque or hellish paths that open up before them.
From 20th-24th September, The Dark Master has been dazzling audiences by stimulating their senses; sight, of course, but also smell, as the aromas of a restaurant are recreated on stage. In this very restaurant, a young chimney sweep is offered the position of chef and the latter then disappears, though he is actually observing his new protege in secret. The usual customers come by, including the previous chef’s favourite prostitute and a peculiar Chinese character who is more interested in the restaurant’s economic potential than the dishes served. Tanino tangentially raises the question of the dispossession of heritage and power relations. He deals with both noise and silence with the same ease and disorientates the audience by offering what appears to be a classic opening but which then proves to be a more disturbing one. He creates a vivid presentation of the very essence of our modern society and its paradoxes.
His second play, Avidya, No Lights Inn, was also being shown at the Théâtre de Gennevilliers from 25th-29th September. In this play, the arrival of two visitors from Tokyo disrupted the peace and quiet of the occupants of an inn deep in the Japanese countryside. Unsettled by this, an old woman, two geishas, a blind man and a sansuke (a man who helps with bathing, massage and grooming, and who also helps women with their desire to have children) all express their fears and desires relating to this modernity which is in stark contrast with their peaceful sense of tradition. The break in tranquillity is only extended with the announcement that the inn is to be demolished to make way for the Shinkansen: it’s a brutal allegory of the notion of erasing the past.
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