Picture: Hans-Peter Krüger
Five performers give insights into the life and works of the well-known Japanese author Ryunosuke Akutagawa (»Rashōmon«) and, incidentally, into Japan and its culture through Butoh as the "Dance of Darkness".
The piece based on Akutagawa's autobiographical novel is a translation of the Japanese language into body movement. Akutagawa was known in Japan at the beginning of the 20th century, later he also received international fame through the film adaptation of his novel "Rashōmon". His sharp-edged and concise language style is taken up by 4RUDE with the classical techniques of Japanese Nō-Theatre and the body expression of modern Japanese Butoh as "Dance of Darkness" as well as music composed especially for the piece. www.4rude.com
Ryunosuke Akutagawa had been worried all his life about inheriting his mother's mental illness. This and his veneration of the French poet Beaudelaire with his freedom from social constraints, as well as his knowledge of modern European art through Japan's opening to Europe, Europe's culture and colonial politics, were the triggers of psychological fears that drove Akutagawa to early death. His inner constitution is expressed in the sentence: "He lived day after day in the murky darkness, leaning on a dull sword as a walking stick".
Butoh breaks with tradition, which sees dance as an "art of movement" and can rather be defined as an "art of presenting the existence of the body". In relation to music, as with other forms of contemporary expressive dance, the focus is not on the rhythm of the music, but on the feeling that the music awakens.
4RUDE refer in their work to the Butoh of Tatsumi Hijikata and the concept of the "Dance of Darkness", because "Butoh is like a dead body standing upright with all its strength". By resorting to this original understanding of Butoh, something is ventured that rarely occurs in the European developments of this art form: the showing of narrations and imaginary spaces that nobody wants to see. One could say that in European Butoh "darkness" is often omitted, neglected. We, on the other hand, want to illuminate precisely this dark side and thus approach the reality of human existence even more closely.