ART AVENUE  友永詔三の造形

 『卑弥呼幻想』 NY公演 ニューヨークタイムズ紙評
               THE NEWYORK TIMES,                                             SUNDAY,DECEMBER 20, 1987
    Dance:Japanese Legend,‘Himiko, 'by Tomonaga
                                 By JENNIFER DUNNING

AKIMITSU TOMONAGA  had a good idea in Himiko; “A Legendary Fantasy From Japan, ”which  was presented  on  Friday at the Kampo Cultural Center , 31  Bond Street. The hourlong spectacle told, through a blend of clssical and modern techniques,  the story of the shamanic  Queen Himiko,  who unified the  Yamatai kingdom of ancient Japan.     Mr.Tomonaga used elements of bunraku, the Japanese classical puppet theater.  There  was music  played on traditional instruments, among them flute, lute and drum.  But this was billed  as performance art  and there was synthesizer music and lighting effects that drew upon thetechnology of the 1980's.

 Following a torchjight procession from  Washington Square Park  to the theatre, “Himiko”opened magically enough. Two bunraku-attendants stood at  the sides of the stage waiting  to the sound of a flute. There  was  a  sudden clack of a wooden clapper and the front curtain fell with a heavy thud  to be whisked out in the dark  through  the audience  by  the  two scurrying attendants. Fuzzy white birds zoomed overhead. Treees glowed on the stage and a large white bird looking like a downy vulture was carried by  attendants from tree. His  pecking increased the glow. The bird flew off. A red flower glowed between branches then fell.  Its leaves dropped one by one,  and the tiny totemic figure  of  a woman appeared  from its center.  All of this is achieved through the judicious work of the attendants  but it is  genuinely  mysterious.  According to the program, the spectacle proceeds from the birth of  Himiko to her training  to be  a shaman and finally  to her birth  as  a queen and her departure from  a world now bathed  in white  and filled with peace.  But the subsquent scenes  are a matter of larger and larger figures of the woman appearing in what might also be a ritual of the passing of time in the four seasons.

  There are some effective passages, including a starange solo for a splay legged woman  who costumes and;  annihilates  fire, and  a storm of snowy feathers.  And the story itself should have been magical. The Kampo stage was intimate, through the effect wassomewhat dissipated by the uncomfata-ble  and  possibly  dangerous  overcrowding of the theater.    There were a number of inegenously  conceived stage  effects that has the quality of a chiled's  account of  a fairly tale.  But “Himiko” too often  had the  crude look of a cartoon and little of the purity that makes classical storytelling  so compelling.  Mr.Tomonaga  a  puppet designer  and  sculpter created and directed“Himiko,”which was set to birth-of-a-galaxy music by Reijiri Koroku,The lighting was designed by Shuji Kawamoto with Takeo Fujii  serving  as lightinng engineer. The cast included  Keiko Ishikawa, Takako Ohazama and Yoshie Ogura. “Himiko”was producedby Maekawa visual Center and the Kampo Cultural Center.