Alfa was supposed to play guest performances at the most important puppetry festival in Ilda, Japan, but it was canceled due to the covid, and the shows were moved to nearby towns.
One of the best Japanese puppeteers working with string marionettes Koichi Iimuro, who had a guest performance at Skupa’s Pilsen this year, came to see the performance in Kyoto. The visitors could play with Czech puppets after each performance.
Alfa will play about 40 performances in Japan. The puppeteers will travel to Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, and Sapporo, as well as exotic places like Oshima island.
Alfa’s most recent trip will be to one of the centers of bunraku theatre – Minami Awaji. The local technique and the Awaji Joruri school are famous all around the world. Alfa will perform on the stage of the local bunraku masters, Czech actors will meet their Japanese colleagues, and there will also be a joint presentation of Czech and Japanese puppetry techniques.
Alfa planned an interesting program in another puppet center – Toramaru on the Shikoku island. Apart from the performance, the workshop featuring the operation with Czech marionettes, and the workshop dealing with the making of Czech marionettes for children and their parents, Alfa will take part in the public discussion with Czech and Japanese promoters, festival directors, and puppeteers on the ways of cooperation and the impact of covid on puppeteering in the Czech Republic and Japan today.
In Osaka, the Czech puppeteers will play Zorro!!! and will visit the bunraku mecca, the Bunraku National Theatre Osaka, which has great relations with Alfa.
Czech citizens living in Japan will be able to watch a performance at the Czech Embassy in Tokyo.
Alfa prepared Zorro!!! in Japanese and combines Japanese, Spanish, and Czech expressions. Thanks to a very good translation produced by the PUK Theatre in Tokyo, an Alfa’s partner, the audiences understand the plot and jokes and respond very well. The Japanese version is being adapted during the tour as well, according to the audience’s reactions.
The tour was prepared by the Alfa Theatre in association with the PUK Theatre in Tokyo and with the support of the Tokyo Art Council and Cultural Agency of Japan. The tour was supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic and the Czech Embassy in Japan.
The Alfa Theatre will return to the Czech Republic on 25 September and will get back to its normal operation for the viewers in Pilsen and the Czech Republic.
text: Jakub Hora
photographs: Alfa Theatre