After performance talk with Toshiki Okada
31 October 2013
Toshiki Okada was born in Yokohama in 1973 and formed the theatre company chelfitsch in 1997. Since then he has written and directed all the company’s productions, practicing a distinctive methodology for creating plays, and has come to be known for his use of hyper-colloquial Japanese and unique choreography. In 2005, his play Five Days in March won the prestigious 49th Kishida Drama Award, and Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner and the Farewell Speech, was a finalist at the Toyota Choreography Awards 2005. In February 2007 his collection of novels The End of the Special Time We Were Allowed debuted and was awarded the Kenzaburo Oe Prize.
In recent years, he has widely drawn attention not only from the theater world and the contemporary dance scene, but also from those in fine arts and literature. He has been invited to numerous art centers, museums and festivals such as Nam June Paik Art Center (Seoul), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), The National Museum of Art (Osaka) and Mori Museum of Art (Tokyo), and Yokohama Triennale. In March 2008, he presented Freetime, a piece co-produced by Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Brussels), Wiener Festwochen (Vienna), and Festival d’Automne (Paris). He has been on the jury for the Kishida Kunio Drama Award since 2012.
In October 2009, Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner, and the Farewell Speech was premiered in Berlin, in co-production with Hebbel Am Ufer (Berlin) and it was performed in 13 cities inside and outside Japan. While his stories and plays continue to be published in Japan, his works have also been translated into many languages and published abroad.
The theatre company chelfitsch was named after a deliberate mispronunciation of the English word “selfish”. The company began to refine its textual aesthetic as one of colloquial language representing contemporary youth culture. With Five Days in March, which premiered in 2004 and won the prestigious Kunio Kishida Award for Best Script, the company began to juxtapose a noisy choreography derived from everyday mannerisms with the text. The company’s international debut took place in 2007 when Five Days in March was first invited to the Kunstenfestivaldesarts. chelfitsch’s works have been presented to great acclaim at leading international theatre festivals and venues throughout Europe, North America and Asia. In 2011, Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner, and the Farewell Speech won the critics’ award from the Association québécoise des critiques de théâtre for the 2010-2011 season.
creditsChaired by Giorgos Mitropoulos, journalist