Off Stage

In the grip of Deathlock

From left: Jaenny Chandra, Ma Yanling and Mario Chan are three of the six Singapore dancers who will be in director Junnosuke Tada's production.
From left: Jaenny Chandra, Ma Yanling and Mario Chan are three of the six Singapore dancers who will be in director Junnosuke Tada's production.PHOTO: LAW KIAN YAN
Jaenny Chandra, Ma Yanling and Mario Chan are three of the six Singapore dancers who will be in director Junnosuke Tada's (above) production.
Jaenny Chandra, Ma Yanling and Mario Chan are three of the six Singapore dancers who will be in director Junnosuke Tada's (above) production.PHOTO: RYUICHIRO SUZUKI

Japanese theatre director Junnosuke Tada, 39, together with collaborator Kitamari, will work with six Singapore and two Japanese dancers to present Re/Play Dance Edit here.

The contemporary dance theatre piece was first staged in 2011 by Tada and his group, Tokyo Deathlock. The work explores the concept of "re-production" and repetition of bodily movement.

The show is a collaboration between Singapore company TheatreWorks and Japanese dance producer Offsite Dance Project.

Why did you name your company Tokyo Deathlock?

The not-so-serious reason is that I'm a pro-wrestling fan and the deathlock is a wrestling technique. The wrestler who is in a deathlock would not be able to release himself from his rival.

  • BOOK IT / RE/PLAY DANCE EDIT

  • WHERE: 72-13 Mohamed Sultan Road

    WHEN: Feb 17 to 20, 8pm

    ADMISSION: $18

    INFO: Call 6737-7213 or go to replay2016.wordpress.com

The serious reason is that in the company's initial years, I was working on plays where the main topic was death. Death is a phenomenon every human being will face one day. In the end, everyone dies and so we struggle to live more happily and peacefully.

Where do you get inspiration from?

I get a lot of inspiration from daily life in Japan.

After the 2011 earthquake and Fukushima nuclear disaster, I found it interesting that people became very aware of things that they had never thought about before.

On the other hand, there were also people who kept their original attitudes, without thinking about things seriously. I wonder what people are thinking about.

What topic are you currently obsessed with?

I'm working on a new project in Japan that explores what will happen after the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

I feel that Japanese society is making effort beyond its capacity, economically or otherwise. After the Olympics end, there might be a bad crash which I think will cause some effect on society.

Do you have stories about something funny that has happened on stage?

In 2006, when we staged an early version of Re/Play Dance Edit, some audience members shouted: "This is not theatre! Go home!" and they left the theatre halfway.

As an artist, I was disappointed that they were denying my work but, at the same time, it was funny because Japanese audiences are usually shy and do not usually show such a strong reaction.

If you were not an artist, what would you be?

I would be a musician. From my secondary school days until I was 25, I was in a band and played bass guitar and guitar. It was called Kubrick because all of us liked (American film director) Stanley Kubrick.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 02, 2016, with the headline 'In the grip of Deathlock'. Print Edition | Subscribe