Our experiences with Les Misérables at Ricca Ricca*Festa 2017
Our group in the Asian TYA Network program were given the opportunity to experience Les Miserables, as a speaking theater piece by only 2 artists speaking in Japanese using objects in the theater co-produced by Arts Community Organization ACO Okinawa.
It was meant for audiences from age 9+ for the duration of 80 minutes for Japanese audience. As international audience, not understanding the language was an issue to fully appreciate this piece. Some of the participants are not familiar with the study despite Les Mis being a very popular literature that have been interpreted in many different languages and performing arts forms. They therefore did not follow the story at all.
This is the synopsis of the theater play:
“People’s aspiration and wishes plead to us across time
Unmissable masterpiece – Les Misérables
This ambitious production tells the story of Victor Hugo’s masterpiece Les Misérables as an object theatre with only 2 performers. A renowned Italian director Davide Doro (compagnia RODISIO), who has established a deep relationship with ricca ricca*festa through the company’s productions La Festa (2012) and Story of a Family (2011) and directing the co-production The Wolf and the Goat (2011, 2012, 2015), works with Japanese performers in Okinawa and the created work will premiere at the festival.
Davide Doro portrays the aspiration, love and life of nameless people who never give up living and fight against power and society with his own perspective.
The vivid images of people in Les Misérables will be drawn out with universality and modern-day relevance thought Doro’s new interpretation and direction, and would strongly appeals to the heart of audiences living in today’s world.”
Our learning points are that the actors are very good but there are points where they can do better.
The words are very repetitive, it cause boredom at points. The use of fake oil and objects telling the stories hiding in the soil was creative. I personally would like to see more actors on stage to give a better variety of the characters in the story as this story is rich with many strong characters. The two artists did a good job but did not embody all the different characters clearly enough. Overall, it is a good learning experience for us from Cambodia that small objects can be used as prop, décor, and tools to tell stories effectively without using too many people on stage.
It would be very interesting for us to see more words based/speaking theaters in the future.