Few weeks ago, Mark and I went to see Hanafuda Denki by Ryuzanji company, from Japan, as part of Victoria Fringe Festival. Hanafuda Denki – The Tale Of Playing Cards is written by Japanese avant-garde writer Shuji Terayama and first performed in 1967. In short, it’s a Japanese Nightmare Before Christmas—set in a funeral house, almost everyone in the show is dead. It was hilarious, fascinating and a fantastical kind of Threepenny Opera. We loved it so much I saw it twice and Mark saw it three times. We started following Ryuzanji Company on Twitter and Facebook. I bought their T-shirt and I even offered to help out with promotion should they come to Victoria again. We became huge fans.
When I bought the T-shirt, I got the opportunity to talk with Yumi, one of the actors in the troupe. I asked her many questions. Their show was so tight, I figured they must have been playing for a long time. She said they have played Hanafuda before but this is their second run as they tweaked this show for the World Tour. She said, “We still have meeting after each show. There is always a room for improvement.”
One of the reasons I loved them so much was that their performance was in the state of the art. Two shows I saw were word-for-word, movement-for-movement, exactly the same. Both performances were so strong, and they talk and move with such confidence, it grabs you from your seat and sucks you into their world of the dead. They were pros.
Even after they left Victoria, I was reading their Japanese blog to see how they are doing at the Vancouver Fringe festival. In one of their blog posts, they wrote about traveling theatre. “That’s what performers used to do. They traveled town to town, performing their arts… ”
Following Ryuzanji’s activities, I felt a weird desire. It’s similar to what I feel when I go to local fairs and see the carnies. The urge to leave my job and family and join the circus?
Of course, I’m old enough to know travelling all the time won’t be as fun as it seems. It will drive me crazy not to have a permanent home. To live out of a suitcase. Heck, I know people who do that in my industry. And I don’t envy them.
What I’m feeling is an irresponsible wanderlust. An escape from the ordinary life. An excitement of a non-routine. To live a little on the edge.
I think it’s a sign I’ve been here a little too long. Time to plan some trips. Find a circus. Escape to the big top and have an adventure.