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Theatre review: Japanese production distills everyday ritual of caring for the bedridden

Published on Jan 19, 2014 10:05 AM
Performer Shuzo Kudo and a volunteer from the audience (in pink hoodie) at a performance of Zeitgeber. -- PHOTO: SHAWN BRYON DANKER

When Japanese director Takuya Murakawa asks for a volunteer from the audience on Friday, the opening night of Zeitgeber, he is visibly surprised by the dozen hands that pop up all over the room.

Speaking through a translator, he grins: "I didn't think you would be so quick to decide."

Murakawa was requesting for a volunteer from the audience to play the role of the severely disabled "Mr Fujii", a bedridden character who can communicate with only his eyes.

For the next hour at National Museum Gallery Theatre, a young woman inhabits the role of Mr Fujii. Performer Shuzo Kudo mimes the acts of cleaning her, dressing her, feeding her and moving her from bed to wheelchair and room to room in this very still but moving piece about the nature of caregiving.

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