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Transcultural Performance Practice

in the 21st Century

Lynne Bradley
Submitted in requirement for the
award of Doctor of Philosophy in
Creative Industries
2017

Queensland University of Technology


Creative Industries Faculty

Principal Supervisor: Professor Paul Makeham


Associate Supervisor: Sean Mee
PHOTO 1 (cover image): GAIA (Zen Zen Zo). Lynne Bradley and Dale Thorburn. Photo: Simon Woods (2009).
PHOTO 2 (above): Lynne Bradley and Maro Akaji. Backstage Katari Gusa (Dairakudakan). Photo: Mark Hill (2007).
ABSTRACT
This practice‑led research PhD proposes the rubric of Cultural Translation as a useful
language and methodology for engaging with innovative transcultural performance
grounded in ethical practice. This investigation is situated in my work as a director
and actor‑trainer, and draws on the decade‑long collaboration between Australian
contemporary performance company Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre1 and Japanese
Butoh2 company Dairakudakan (大 駱 駝 艦). My journey into the field of transcultural
training and performance originated during five years living, studying and performing
in Japan as an artist in my twenties. The enthusiasm I developed for both traditional and
contemporary Japanese culture during this period has led to a lifelong engagement
with Japan, its performing arts and a number of key artists and companies, most notably
Maro Akaji (麿 赤児) and Dairakudakan. Throughout my career as an actor‑trainer,
director and researcher I have pursued praxis which has tackled questions of Cultural
Translation; the ethics of cultural exchange and difference; and their relationship to
artistic innovation.

The research has been conducted through an iterative approach comprising three
creative practice cycles: 1. Butoh Training (Japan and Australia, 2014‑2015); 2. Creative
Development (Japan and Australia, 2015); and 3. Rehearsals and Performance Season of
In the Company of Shadows (Australia, 2016). The first two cycles functioned as a space
for creative experimentation, data collection, evaluation and reflection, leading into
the final performance presentation. This has been dovetailed with a theoretical inquiry
which has informed and been informed by the developing artistic work. The resultant
findings include a Cultural Translation of Maro’s Method of Butoh training and devising.
The study has drawn on theory surrounding Interculturalism, Cultural Translation and
Innovation Research in order to articulate principles and a pragmatic model for effective
transcultural performance praxis.

This doctoral project comprises two interlinked examinable outcomes; the production,
In the Company of Shadows (see video), and this written exegesis. Together these
represent the combined dimensions of critical and creative practice that constitute this
research project. The creative practice component is weighted at 40% and the exegesis
is weighted at 60%.

1 I co‑founded Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre in 1992 with Simon Woods


2 Butoh (舞踏) is variously written in English as “Butoh”, “butoh” and “butō”. I will use the most common usage, Butoh.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
MY ENORMOUS THANKS AND GRATITUDE TO:
• My supervisors, Professor Paul Makeham and Sean Mee, for guiding me through the
process with wisdom, good humour and rigour.

• All the artists who contributed to this project for their ongoing generosity, support
and faith in the work.

• Maro Akaji, Yuyama Daiichiro and the members of Dairakudakan for welcoming me
into their family and generously sharing their knowledge and skills with me.

• My parents, Allan and Trish, for their unconditional love and support throughout this
and many other life journeys.

• And finally, my three irrepressible boys, Simon, Zak and Kai, for their ongoing
encouragement and inspiration.

STATEMENT OF ORIGINAL
AUTHORSHIP
The work contained in this document has not previously been submitted for a degree at
this or any other higher education institution. To the best of my knowledge and belief,
the document contains no material previously published or written by another person
except where due reference is made.

QUT Verified Signature

Signed:

Name: LYNNE BRADLEY

Date: 23rd February 2017.

PHOTO 3:  In the Company of Shadows. Jordan Gilmore, Nevin Howell, Gina Limpus, James Kendall, Kate
Murphy, Travis Weiner. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

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KEY WORDS
The following is a list of key words that appear within this document or are associated with
the topic. These words have been listed, in alphabetical order, for cataloguing purposes:
Acculturation Igata (鋳型) Physical Theatre
Butoh (舞踏) Innovation Practice‑led Research
Cross‑Cultural Interculturalism Temputenshiki (天賦典式)
Cultural Translation Japan Transcultural
Chūtai (宙体) Miburi/Teburi (身振り手振り) Transculturation

READING THIS DOCUMENT


All images embedded in this exegesis represent examples
of Zen Zen Zo’s performance
or training practice influenced by Butoh. Throughout this Practice‑Led Research PhD the
goal has been to consistently integrate the practice and research in every component
of the study, including the written work. For this reason the photographic images of my
practice are embedded in this document, speaking to the ideas and experiences as I
refer to them.3 See 7.1 for the full photographic credits. Similarly, my voice as “artist” is
represented through the inclusion of excerpts from my Artist’s Journal. To denote this
change of voice, a more informal font (Cordin Condensed) and writing style has been adopted.

The written exegesis is also accompanied by a full‑length video of the final 2016
production, In the Company of Shadows. As an immersive and intimate theatre
experience, the work is not able to be fully replicated in a digital medium, but instead
serves as an archival reference point for the production.

Japanese names will be written in the traditional format of family name first, followed by
the person’s given names. All non‑English words, other than personal and place names,
will be signified by the use of italics. Key Japanese words will also be written in Kanji4
the first time they are cited. Both these choices represent examples of what Lawrence
Venuti (1995) terms “foreignisation” – a translation strategy designed to acknowledge,
rather than erase, the foreign.

The translation of written sources, interviews, and conversations from Japanese to


English has been conducted variously by myself, Andrew Gebert, Rebecca Gowen, Kish
Rundle and the two Dairakduakan translators – Yuyama Daiichiro and Miyamoto Seiya.

3 The visual design and layout of this document was realised through a partnership with Zen Zen Zo’s long‑term
graphic designer, Rachel Rolfe. This enabled the company’s aesthetics to be authentically captured using design
principles developed over years of collaboration.
4 Kanji (漢字) are the adopted Chinese characters used in the modern Japanese writing system. As ideographs,
they often contain meaning that points to the semantic roots of the word or concept.

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CONTENTS
ABSTRACT  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  i
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  ii
STATEMENT OF ORIGINAL AUTHORSHIP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  ii
KEY WORDS  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  iii
READING THIS DOCUMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  iii
TABLE OF CONTENTS  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  iv

1. INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
1.1 Background: An Artist’s Reflections  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
1.2 Research Question . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7

2. CONTEXTUAL REVIEW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8


2.1 Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9
2.2 Dairakudakan (大 駱 駝 艦) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
2.3 Butoh (舞踏)  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  19
2.3.1 Butoh in Australia  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
2.3.2 Maro’s Method  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  24
2.3.3 Key Concepts and “Interpretants” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  26
2.3.3.1 Ma (間) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  27
2.3.3.2 Shadow Archetype . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  30
2.3.3.3 Carnival Theory and the Grotesque Body . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  31
2.4 Innovation  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  34
2.4.1 Definition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  34
2.4.2 Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  36
2.5 Interculturalism  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  41
2.5.1 Transculturation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  45
2.6 Translation Theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  47
2.6.1 Translation Studies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  47
2.6.1.1 Equivalence: Nida and Kade . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  48
2.6.1.2 Domestication vs. Foreignisation: Schleiermacher and Venuti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  49
2.6.1.3 The Afterlife: Benjamin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  50
2.6.1.4 Intralingual, Interlingual, Intersemiotic Translation: Jakobson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  50
2.6.1.5 Skopos Theory: Reiss and Vermeer  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  51
2.6.2 Cultural Translation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  52
2.6.2.1 Homi Bhabha: Cultural Theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  52
2.6.2.2 Resistance and Untranslatability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  53
2.6.2.3 Translator’s Visibility  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  54
2.6.2.4 The Poet’s Version  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  55
2.6.2.5 Interpretants   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  56
2.6.2.6 Clifford Geertz: Cultural Anthropology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  57
2.6.2.7 Thick Description  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  57
2.6.2.8 Embedded Practice and Deep Hanging Out  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  58
2.6.2.9 Cultural Translation Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  58

3. METHODOLOGY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  60
3.1 Practice‑Led Research . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  60
3.1.1 Praxis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  61

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3.2 Research Strategies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  63
3.2.1 Action Research . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  63
3.2.2 Reflective Practice  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  64
3.2.3 Collaboration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  66
3.3 Data Collection Methods  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  69
3.3.1 Semi‑Structured Interviews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  69
3.3.2 Artist’s Journal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  71
3.3.3 Collaborators’ Accounts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  72
3.3.4 Videos and Photographs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  73
3.4 Data Analysis Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  74
3.5 Ethical Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  75

4. CREATIVE PRACTICE  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  76


4.1 PROJECT DESIGN: CREATIVE PRACTICE CYCLES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  77
4.2 CREATIVE PRACTICE CYCLE 1: BUTOH TRAINING (2014) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  79
4.2.1 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  79
4.2.2 Observation and Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  80
4.2.2.1 Lost in Translation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  81
4.2.2.2 Found in Translation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  83
4.2.2.3 Maro’s Method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  85
4.2.3 Experimentation and Synthesis  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  95
4.2.3.1 The Role of Imitation  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  95
4.2.3.2 Formal vs. Dynamic Equivalence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  96
4.2.3.3 Skopos Theory  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  97
4.2.3.4 Foreignisation vs. Domestication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  98
4.2.3.5 The Conundrum of the Untranslatable . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  98
4.2.4 Cycles of Divergent Thinking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  100
4.2.5 Convergence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  106
4.3 CREATIVE PRACTICE CYCLE 2: CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT (2015)  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  107
4.3.1 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  107
4.3.1.1 In the Company of Shadows . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  108
4.3.1.2 Selecting the Team . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  108
4.3.2 Observation and Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  111
4.3.2.1 Loss and Gain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  111
4.3.2.2 Dairakudakan’s Process of Creation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  112
4.3.3 Experimentation and Synthesis  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  116
4.3.3.1 The Emergent Concept . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  116
4.3.4 Cycles of Divergent Thinking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  119
4.3.4.1 Butoh and Text: To Speak the Unspeakable . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  120
4.3.5 Convergence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  123
4.4 CREATIVE PRACTICE CYCLE 3: IN THE COMPANY OF SHADOWS (2016)  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  128
4.4.1 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  129
4.4.2 Observation and Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  131
4.4.3 Experimentation and Synthesis  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  134
4.4.3.1 FORM: Immersive Theatre  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  135
4.4.3.2 PURPOSE: The Skopos of Maro’s Method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  136
4.4.3.3 CONTENT: Cubomania and Montage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  138
4.4.3.4 LAYERS: Design and Music . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  141
4.4.4 Cycles of Divergent Thinking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  151

v
4.4.4.1 Imagineer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  151
4.4.4.2 Boyzzz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  156
4.4.4.3 The Collaboration with Yuyama Daiichiro  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  161
4.4.5 Convergence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  166

5. FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS: CULTURAL TRANSLATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  168


5.1 Cultural Translation: A New Paradigm  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  169
5.2 Innovation and Transculturation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  171
5.3 Visibility of the Translator  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  175
5.4 Equivalence and Untranslatability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  177
5.5 Skopos Theory  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  180
5.6 Poet’s Version Translation and Interpretants  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  182
5.7 Hybridity and the Third Space . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  184
5.8 Embedded Practice: Deep Hanging Out and Entanglement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  186
5.9 Transcultural Competencies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  193
5.10 The Transcultural Embrace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  195
5.11 Maro’s Method: Lost and Found in Translation  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  196
5.12 Conclusion   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  194

6. REFERENCE LIST  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  201


7. APPENDIX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  216
7.1 List of Photographs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  216
7.2 List of Figures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  222
7.3 Key Artist Biographies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  223
7.4 Media Reviews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  227
7.5 Production Score . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  229
7.6 Artist’s Journal Excerpts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  231
7.7 Zen Zen Zo’s Creative Development Dramaturgical Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  233
7.8 Creative Development: In the Company of Shadows  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  234
7.8.1 Dramaturgical Maps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  234
7.8.2 Dream Poems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  238
7.8.3 Dream Journal Excerpts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  239
7.8.4 Here There Be Dragons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  240
7.9 Interview Transcripts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  242
7.9.1 Maro Akaji 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  242
7.9.2 Maro Akaji 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  244
7.9.3 Yuyama Daiichiro  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  247
7.9.4 Bill Haycock  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  252
7.9.5 David Walters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  262
7.9.6 Wayne Jennings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  268
7.9.7 Steph Kehoe and Helen Smith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  271
7.9.8 Helen Smith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  282
7.9.9 Jeremy Neideck  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  285
7.10 Videos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  292
7.10.1 Full Production Video . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  292
7.10.2 Creative Development Video 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  292
7.10.3 Creative Development Video 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  292

vi
1. INTRODUCTION
1.1 BACKGROUND: AN ARTIST’S REFLECTIONS
During the 1993 International Theatre Olympics in Toga,5 which I attended whilst living
in Japan, I heard a lecture by Suzuki Tadashi in which he claimed “International cultural
exchange is impossible – therefore we must try.” Subsequently, a large part of my artistic
career has been dedicated to exploring the contentious terrain of intercultural training
and performance. This path has been motivated by a deep desire to see beyond my own
cultural context, which Anne Bogart believes is a political imperative in the growing era
of globalisation (2007, 16).

5 Toga village is one of the homes of SCOT (Suzuki Company of Toga) and where Suzuki’s annual Festival of Toga
is held each summer. It is located in Toyama prefecture on the island of Honshu, Japan.

PHOTO 4: Maro Akaji. Backstage Yuhi no Utage (Dairakudakan). Photo: Yamamoto Ryo (2005).

1
FOUND IN TRANSLATION

The journey which has culminated in this practice‑led PhD started in Japan in 1990 at
a critical turning point in my life. As writer Julia Quinn identifies: “In every life there is
a turning point. A moment so tremendous, so sharp and clear that one feels as if one’s
been hit in the chest, all the breath knocked out, and one knows, absolutely knows
without the merest hint of a shadow of a doubt that one’s life will never be the same.”
(2004, 1) That moment for me occurred whilst watching a production by the Japanese
Butoh company Dairakudakan, titled Kaiin no Uma (The Sea‑Dappled Horse):

Today I went to see a show at the Minamiza Kabuki Theatre in downtown Kyoto. I went
expecting to see traditional Japanese theatre. But what I saw and heard when the lights
came up was unlike anything I have ever witnessed before – twenty five semi‑naked
bodies painted white with shaved heads or masses of wild hair, convulsing in a trance‑like
state with eyes rolled up, to a cacophony of strange sounds and music. Each dancer
was joined by thick shipping rope clenched between their teeth and pinned in crucifix
positions to a black diorama. Lengths of tattered red material spilled from their mouths
to the floor like fountains of blood. As they slowly convulsed forward I saw the series
of imprints their bodies had left upon the walls, like the nuclear shadows left behind
in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As the show unfolded there was a parade of surreal and
shocking images, grotesque figures, and inexplicable encounters. It was like being
inside a Salvador Dali painting or witnessing first‑hand a Rabelaisian Carnival. I don’t
know what it was (dance? theatre? performance art?) but I feel COMPELLED TO DO IT!
(Artist’s Journal, 1990)

PHOTO 5: The Sea‑Dappled Horse. Dairakudakan. Photos: Yamazaki Hiroto (2001).

By the time the lights went down on Kaiin no Uma I had made the decision to pursue this
breathtaking art form, whatever it was called. It took another few months before I was
able to identify the performance style as “Butoh” and locate a teacher working in Kyoto
– Katsura Kan. Throughout 1991 I trained twice weekly, before returning to Australia to
write my Honours thesis on the Western avant‑garde influences upon Butoh. As Butoh
was a new form to Queensland (at the time only Tess de Quincey and Cheryl Hazelwood
were practicing and teaching Butoh in Australia) I staged a 40‑minute performance
entitled Never the Elephant (a loose translation of “Zen Zen Zo”)6 to demonstrate the

6 Never the Elephant was performed for the first time on 29th October 1992, at the Avalon Theatre in St Lucia
(Brisbane) as part of an Honours degree at the University of Queensland. It was remounted in December 1992 for
a full season at the Cement Box Theatre and as such became Zen Zen Zo’s first full production.

2
1. INTRODUCTION

ideas in my dissertation. The show took on a life of its own and before I knew it I had
started a performance company – Zen Zen Zo. One could say, therefore, that Zen Zen
Zo was born out of an ecstatic encounter with Dairakudakan.

Before leaving Japan at the end of 1991 I embarked on a study tour around Japan,
determined to interview as many of the significant Butoh dancers and choreographers
as possible in preparation for my Honours dissertation. I was lucky enough to talk with
Ohno Kazuo (co‑founder of the Butoh movement)7 and his son Ohno Yoshito, Toru
Iwashita (founding member of the internationally renowned company Sankai Juku),
Katsura Kan and Yurabe Masami (both originally from the Kyoto‑based group Byakkosha)
and finally Maro Akaji, leader of Dairakudakan. Maro was well known in Japan as an actor
who worked across film, TV and theatre, in addition to being one of the “first wave” Butoh
dancers. He is credited with bringing a more “theatrical” dimension to Butoh, adding
large‑scale spectacle, music and costumes in the 1970 and 80s to what had previously
been a very sparse form, an innovation to the genre that has garnered criticism from
both inside and outside the Butoh movement (see 2.2). My initial meeting with Maro, like
my first experience watching Dairakudakan’s Kaiin no Uma, was a riveting experience:

I finally interviewed Maro yesterday. It was 11am when I arrived at the theatre and he was
sitting drinking whisky and chain smoking. It was a pretty traumatic start because he
began by asking why I wanted to interview him. I explained that I planned to write a thesis
about Butoh. He roared with laughter and yelled, “Then you will fail!” I nearly ran screaming
from the room, but luckily I summoned enough courage to ask why. His response? “It is
impossible to write about Butoh. It is impossible to talk about Butoh. You must just DO
Butoh.”8 He then proceeded to talk for two hours about Butoh. (Artist’s Journal, 1991)

And thus began our relationship, one which to this day is entangled with terror, delight
and contradiction.

PHOTO 6: Maro Akaji and Lynne Bradley. Hakuba, Japan. Photo: Shinfune Yoko (2014).

7 The other founder of Butoh, Hijikata Tatsumi, passed away in 1986 of cirrhosis of the liver.
8 Personal Interview with Maro Akaji on 14th December 1991.

3
FOUND IN TRANSLATION

Back in Brisbane a year later, my graduating Honours degree performance, Never the
Elephant, became Zen Zen Zo’s inaugural production. Zen Zen Zo, co‑founded with film
director and producer Simon Woods, went on to locate itself over the next two decades
at the forefront of the physical theatre movement and quickly gained a reputation for
staging provocative, experimental productions with a primary focus on site‑specific,
cross‑form, cross‑cultural work. A survey of the popular press that has tracked Zen Zen
Zo’s history sees the word “innovative” cited approximately 100 times in reviews and
articles (Zen Files 2014). Zane Trow, former Artistic Director of Sydney’s Performance
Space and later the Brisbane Powerhouse, wrote:

Zen Zen Zo is a leading physical theatre company in Queensland and an excellent example
of contemporary Australian performance. Their work is both rigorous and accessible. They
have established a strong reputation internationally. Around this they have grown a set of
partnerships that offer much in the extension of contemporary live art and new ideas
about cultural practice to new audiences. (2000, 1)

PHOTO 7 (from left): The Cult of Dionysus (Brisbane Festival). Peter Lamb. Photo: Christabelle Baranay (1996);
Zeitgeist (Edinburgh Fringe). Harriet Devlin, Helen Smith, Mark Hill. Photo: Lynne Bradley (2009);
Cabaret (Zen Zen Zo/QPAC/PowerArts). Harriet Devlin, Krystal Hart, Sandro Colarelli, James Kendall,
Dale Thorburn. Photo: Justine Walpole.

To date the company has produced 35 mainstage productions, many of which have
gone on to tour nationally and internationally, and 55 youth productions as part of the
Training Centre activities (partnering with schools and universities in Australia and Asia).9

The formal partnership between Zen Zen Zo and Dairakudakan began after a professional
development trip to Japan in 2007 to train and perform with Dairakudakan at their
annual Summer Camp. This resulted in an invitation to return the following year with
the whole company. As of 2016, the collaboration has involved Zen Zen Zo participating
in a total of six Dairakudakan productions in Japan – Katari Gusa (The  Tale of Grass,
9 A more extensive history of Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre is offered in the Contextual Review (see 2.1).

4
1. INTRODUCTION

2007), Yuhi no Utage (Sunset Banquet, 2008), Hoshi no Itonami (The Star’s Life,  2010),
Yakusoku no Natsu (The Promise of Summer, 2012), Crazy Camel (2014) and Natsu no Inori
(A Summer’s Prayer, 2015). In addition, Dairakudakan members have worked on three
Zen Zen Zo productions – GAIA (2009), 2012: Apocalypse (Brisbane Festival 2011), and
In the Company of Shadows (2016). As such this partnership is the longest standing cross‐
cultural collaboration between an Australian and Japanese performing arts company to
date, and provides a current example of deeply “entangled” transcultural arts practice
(see 4.2.2.1). From the outset I was conscious of my position of privilege, coming from
the dominant globally hegemonic culture, and therefore determined to acknowledge
this throughout the collaboration as part of my ethically-motivated process.

PHOTO 8: Posters from Dairakudakan performances in Hakuba, Japan involving Zen Zen Zo members.
From left: Yuhi no Utage (Sunset Banquet, 2008); Hoshi no Itonami (The Star’s Life, 2010); Yakusoku no Natsu
(The Promise of Summer, 2012).

As an artist working at the coalface of cross‑cultural and transcultural10 performance and


exchange I have stayed abreast of the contentious debate around Interculturalism over
the past thirty years. Part of the motivation for beginning this research investigation
sprang from the critiques offered by scholars, from the theoretical standpoints
of Post‑colonialism and Interculturalism, of companies and artists engaging in
cross‑cultural performance practice. Whilst concerns around ethical practice are well
founded, especially in an increasingly postmodern era, I was curious to note that some
artists engaged in long‑term innovative and experimental practices across cultures (like
Zen Zen Zo) were also targeted and accused of “acculturation” (Gilbert and Lo 2001, 81).
Despite what appeared to be a genuine attempt to engage with the cultural context
from which they were artistically borrowing, these companies were still implicated
in debates around Orientalism and cultural misappropriation. My intuitive feeling, as
an artist working with similar practices, was that the initial attraction and subsequent
“acculturation” phase represented an early, and potentially necessary, stage of the

10 See 2.5 for definitions of cross‑cultural, transcultural and intercultural.

5
FOUND IN TRANSLATION

innovation process. During this phase the artist begins by imitating that which is admired
and attempts to find a new way to translate its usefulness into their own cultural space.
It was my belief that, with time and continued engagement, this would lead in most
instances to a more ethically‑sensitive process of “transculturation” (see 2.5.1).

I set out, therefore to utilise the long‑term relationship between Dairakudakan and Zen
Zen Zo as the context for the study, and chose Maro’s Method of Butoh as the subject
for the investigation. As a training and devising methodology which I had admired for
a number of years (and found very useful in my work in Japan), I was intrigued to see if I
could culturally transfer Maro’s Method into Zen Zen Zo’s work and, simultaneously, the
Australian cultural space in order to make it available to other Australian artists.

Whilst undertaking this research investigation I discovered Cultural Translation theory,


which unexpectedly provided me with an immensely useful language to describe this
process. As the inquiry progressed, the focus turned increasingly towards Cultural
Translation as a means to articulate and implement the twin and entwined processes of
innovation and transculturation, and provide a best‑practice model of ethically‑driven
cross‑cultural performance work. In an increasingly transcultural era the need to
encourage, rather than discourage, “international cultural exchange” (as Suzuki termed
it) became the driving imperative behind this practice‑led research PhD.

PHOTO 9: Lynne Bradley and Family and Matsuda Atsushi, Muku Naomi, Yuyama Daiichiro, Muramatsu Takuya.
Dairakudakan Kochuten Studio in Tōkyō. Photo: Simon Woods (2012).

6
1. INTRODUCTION

1.2 RESEARCH QUESTION


This study began with a basic model of transculturation to track my performance
practice in the context of the creative collaboration between Dairakudakan and Zen
Zen Zo. It then slowly wove its way towards the more complex cluster of theories that
surround Cultural Translation. Finally, the research question emerged through the three
iterations of creative practice in the following formulation:

How can Cultural Translation theory be utilised


by performance practitioners to articulate and
implement transcultural practice that remains both
innovative and ethically‑driven?

Drawing on the decade‑long relationship between Zen Zen Zo and


Dairakudakan as the context for this investigation, I determined to examine
three different modes of transcultural practice by Zen Zen Zo: training,
devising and performance. This gave rise to the following sub‑question:

How can Maro’s Method of Butoh training and


devising be utilised to create new contemporary
performance work?

As innovation was revealed to be an integral component of transulturation, the


innovation process became an adjunct focus of this study. For this reason the following
sub‑question emerged:

How do the twin and entwined processes of


innovation and transculturation speak to one
another in the context of performance practice
that takes place across cultures?

7
2. CONTEXTUAL REVIEW
This chapter contextualises the creative practice at the
centre of this research project by providing a critical
commentary of Zen Zen Zo, Dairakudakan and
Butoh as well as briefly introducing Maro’s
Method. It then offers an analysis of the
research underpinning Innovation,
Interculturalism, Transculturation
and Cultural Translation as the
key theoretical frameworks
for this investigation.

PHOTO 10: In the Company of Shadows.


Travis Weiner, Yuyama Daiichiro, Gina Limpus.
Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

8
2. CONTEXTUAL REVIEW

2.1 ZEN ZEN ZO PHYSICAL THEATRE


Zen Zen Zo was founded in 1992 by film director Simon Woods and me. The company
adopted the full title “Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre” in 1994, after encountering the
work of DV8 Physical Theatre, while based in Japan between 1993‑1995. The company’s
significant legacy includes being part of the first‑wave of physical theatre in Australia,
and subsequently introducing various contemporary performance styles and training
pedagogies encountered overseas (including Butoh and the Viewpoints) to Queensland
for the first time. Further, the company experimented with site‑specific, promenade and
intimate theatre modalities from the mid‑90s, being largely responsible for introducing
these forms to Queensland.11 Zen Zen Zo was acknowledged in the inaugural Brisbane
Festival (1996) for its innovative work by being one of only three local companies
programmed that year by John Kotzas, in the role of the Executive Producer, to represent
the best of Brisbane’s emerging artists (Nemeth 1996, 22; Brown 1996, 45).12

PHOTO 11: Local Companies Featured in the inaugural Brisbane Festival (Matrix Theatre, Kooemba Jdarra,
Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre). The Brisbane News. Photo: Leah Broadfoot (1996).

11 In a personal meeting with Anywhere Theatre Festival founder and Artistic Director Paul Osuch in 2011 he
claimed that the festival’s inception was in part inspired by the early site‑specific works of Zen Zen Zo he’d seen
before relocating overseas.
12 The other companies selected were Matrix Theatre (run by Michael Futcher and Helen Howard) and Kooemba
Jdarra (with Wesley Enoch at the helm as Artistic Director). Tony Gould was the Artistic Director of the first
Brisbane Festival, with John Kotzas as Executive Producer. Seamus Mee and Deb Murphy acted in the roles of
Community Program producers (See Photo 10).

9
FOUND IN TRANSLATION

Zen Zen Zo was also one of the first companies working in the field of devised theatre,
having been introduced to the devising technique of Composition whilst working with
Anne Bogart and the SITI Company in Japan and America from 1993 onwards. As such
Zen Zen Zo features in Deirdre Heddon and Jane Milling’s seminal book Devising
Performance: A Critical History (2006).

The company’s performances (35 mainstage productions and 55 youth productions


to date) have been awarded with a dozen Matilda Awards, numerous smaller awards
for best production, direction, choreography, design, acting, as well as Helpmann and
Total Theatre Award (Edinburgh Fringe) nominations. The majority of productions have
attracted sell‑out seasons and therefore been supported by major sponsors including
PowerArts, who acknowledged Zen Zen Zo as “one of Queensland’s leading performing
arts innovators” whose “productions are always intensely original and creative, while
remaining hugely entertaining and popular” (2010, 1). Identified as a major contributor
to the performing arts in Queensland by the government, Zen Zen Zo received s2m
infrastructural funding for a decade as well as numerous project grants from both
federal and state funding organisations.13

PHOTO 12 (from left): Zeitgeist. Ellen Rijs. Photo: Simon Woods (2008); GAIA. Mark Hill. Photo: Simon Woods (2009).

Dedicated to the development of young people in the arts, in the past twenty years
Zen Zen Zo’s Training Centre launched a highly respected course in arts innovation
and creative leadership (Internship Program: 2004‑2014); an international Summer
School specialising in the Suzuki Method, Butoh and Viewpoints (Stomping Ground:
1998‑present); a weekly‑class program through which many of Queensland’s
well‑known actors began their careers (The Actor’s Dojo: 1992‑present); and a Schools
Program which provides ongoing support to the education sector in Queensland, New
South Wales and Victoria (1998‑present).

13 “s2m funding” was established by Arts Queensland for “small to medium arts organisations” and Zen Zen Zo was
a recipient between 2004‑2014.

10
2. CONTEXTUAL REVIEW

Zen Zen Zo also engaged during this time in several significant long‑term partnerships
with other arts companies and organisations, including QPAC14 (which subsidised
six full performance seasons since 1996 as well as invited Zen Zen Zo to be their first
Company‑in‑Residence in 2003‑4), Strut and Fret Production House (who produced
many of Zen Zen Zo’s early tours), the Brisbane Powerhouse (where Zen Zen Zo was a
Resident Company from 2013‑2015), the ESF15 Foundation (which co‑produced seven
productions in Hong Kong between 2002‑2012), and Dairakudakan (since 2007).

The following section comprises an account of the critical writings pertaining to the
company’s activities over the past 25 years. The performance work and training practice
have both been extensively documented in the media with numerous articles and
reviews throughout this period. The majority of these are compiled in a self‑published
book entitled The Zen Files: A History of Zen Zen Zo through Reviews, Articles and
Interviews (Zen Zen Zo, 2014). This compilation offers a selection of theatre critics’ and
other practitioners’ perspectives on the company’s artistic journey since 1992, and also
incidentally traces Australian responses to cross‑cultural and transcultural practice
during this period. Popular media headlines capture both the press’ fascination with
the company and the reputation Zen Zen Zo held for producing boundary‑pushing,
edgy, innovative physical theatre in a cross‑cultural context: “The Trance of a Thousand
Butohs” (Brown 1996); “Raw, Compelling Zen Provokes the Senses” (Smith 1996); “Partial
Nudity and Raw Eggs” (Baldwin 1996); “Zen and the Art of Body Maintenance” (Aldred
1999); “Wizards of Oz” (Newman 2000); “Original Sin” (Sorensen 2005); “Dance, Sport?”
(Stewart 2008); “They Got Game” (McAlister 2008); “Now and Zen” (Van Helton 2008);
and “Dance Theatre Troupe Pushes Boundaries” (Hall 2011). A number of journalists in
the early years of Zen Zen Zo’s existence fell into Orientalist modes of presenting the
company’s work and others showed their ignorance around Asian dance‑theatre forms
and the bourgeoning field of physical theatre by misrepresenting Zen Zen Zo’s work
as “Noh” or “Suzuki”16 versions of classic plays. However, more informed critiques were
offered by scholars such as Martin Buzacott and Veronica Kelly, who reviewed every
Zen Zen Zo production for the first decade in The Australian. On the company’s first
full‑length Butoh‑inspired dance‑theatre work, Unleashed, Kelly wrote:

Unleashed reaffirms Lynne Bradley and Simon Woods’ inspirational origins in the postwar
Japanese “dance of darkness” and shows the company’s commitment to exploration of
physically based performance idioms … [Barbe’s] Steel Ribbons is a powerful statement

14 Queensland Performing Arts Centre, located at Southbank in Brisbane.


15 English Schools Foundation is the overarching body that administers a number of the key international schools
in Hong Kong.
16 Noh (能) is a classical form of Japanese dance‑theatre which originated in the 14th Century. The Suzuki Method
was created by Suzuki Tadashi and his company (SCOT) in the ‘60s and ‘70s and remains a significant form of
actor training around the world. It draws from both traditional Japanese performance styles (such as Noh) and
the martial arts (most notably Kendo 剣道). It is sometimes mistakenly interpreted as a “style” of performance.

11
FOUND IN TRANSLATION

about the chains of gender and the agony of women’s confinement in self‑mutilating
versions of femininity. In Bradley’s own Unleashed, by contrast, saturnalian sexual rites
congeal the performers into quasi‑human composite bodies. The show will entrance
newcomers to the disciplined yet tonally flexible intercultural performance form. (1996)

Kelly continues (in a review of The Marriage of Figaro – the controversial co‑production
between Zen Zen Zo and the Queensland Conservatorium of Music for the 1997 STAGE
X Festival which utilised high‑art opera and low‑art clowning to explore the power
relationships inherent in the story):

But wait, whence this gaggle of red‑nose clowns who subvert, infiltrate, capture and take
over the stately comedy? … This is a richly inventive work … a triumphantly successful
product of Stage X’s looking at what’s out there and alchemizing something inventive,
hybrid and funny out of them which seduces audience fractions to encounter different
art forms. It dares, and it wins. (1997)

Courier Mail opera reviewer Patricia Kelly, on the other hand, appeared deeply offended
by this take on Mozart’s classic opera and called it “cultural trash” and “a waste of tax
payers’ money” and complained that it “subverted the art form and must never happen
again” (1997). Her review in turn sparked a heated debate in The Courier Mail’s Letters
to the Editor section and later in the Ignite Theatre Journal with Wesley Enoch (1997)
writing a response to Kelly entitled “Youth’s Reply: Let the dinosaurs die singing from
their pulpits or let them live in the real world with us.”

PHOTO 13 (from left): The Marriage of Figaro (Stage X Festival). Scott Witt, Lewis Jones, Caroline Chown, Jason
Klarwein. Photo: Christabelle Baranay (1997); Unleashed (Adelaide Fringe). Chris Beckey. Photo: Christabelle
Baranay (2000); Macbeth: As Told by the Weird Sisters. Chris Beckey. Photo: Christabelle Baranay (1999).

Later works were similarly controversial and polarised the press, with Zeitgeist receiving
seven 5‑star reviews in Edinburgh whilst at the Fringe Festival and being short‑listed
for a Total Theatre Award, and at the same time attracting a 1‑star review from the more
traditional The Times:

12
2. CONTEXTUAL REVIEW

These lascivious exhibitionists shriek, throw eggs, feign death and prance about with a
demonic collective energy that would be admirable were it not so base. Chintzy, loud
and full‑on, Zeitgeist (at C Venue) has garnered a few five‑star reviews. Are some palates
so jaded that this jaunty, grotesque junk is the best available pick‑me‑up? (Hutera 2009)

Audiences have been less divided, with largely sold‑out seasons throughout the
company’s two plus decades of work both at home and on tour.

PHOTO 14 (from left): Zeitgeist (Adelaide Fringe). Mark Hill. Photo: Jenny Coyne (2009); Zeitgeist. Fleur Nobel,
Tora Hylands, Ellen Rijs, Mark Hill. Photo: Sara Moss (2008). Zeitgeist. Photo: Simon Woods (2009).

Zen Zen Zo performance and training activities have also attracted some limited scholarly
attention, particularly in the context of the emerging genre of physical theatre in the
‘90s and the intercultural performance debate. In Devising Performance: A Critical History
(2006), Deirdre Heddon and Jane Milling give a comprehensive overview of Zen Zen Zo’s
history, philosophical underpinnings, engagement with intercultural theatre practice,
and the burgeoning area of devised performance. They explore the complexities of
these practices for artists currently working across cultures and conclude:

By representing Asian cultural practice as ‘other’, the mainstream Australian press


occluded both the extent to which Australia is a Pacific Rim economy and culture, as
well as the experience of many Australasian Australians, whose creative practice and
lived experience bridges such an apparent cultural divide. The politics and tensions of
this engagement between cultures are played out in many of Zen Zen Zo’s works, most
recently Wicked Bodies (2006, 175).

They finish by theorising that Zen Zen Zo, like other current physical theatre companies,
foregrounds a “contemporary physical devising body [which] has become the site of
conflicting identities” that reveal the “cultural complexity of bodies subject to different
training regimes” (176).

In an article in Australasian Drama Studies Judy Pippen (1998) explored the corporeal
origins of the company’s work against that of fellow Brisbane physical theatre company

13
FOUND IN TRANSLATION

Frank Productions. Through an analysis of the training traditions of the Suzuki Method and
Butoh utilised by both companies, Pippen traces the aesthetic outcomes in terms of Zen
Zen Zo and Frank Production’s performances. Further, she compares the philosophical
approaches to tradition and innovation which distinguish the diverse artistic positions
of both companies. She concludes by acknowledging the “unique and significant
contribution” Zen Zen Zo and Frank Productions have made to exploring cross‑cultural
forms in Queensland and points to the appeal of the work to local audiences (1998, 33).

Gilbert and Lo (2001, 2006) have also noted Zen Zen Zo’s popularity through a more
critical lens, framing the attention as follows:

Zen Zen Zo has something of a cult following among Brisbane audiences and has excited
reviewers with its wanton physicality and its flagrant subversion of middle‑class aesthetics.
Commentary about the company’s performative uses of the body abounds, with more
than one critic delighted in Zen Zen Zo’s apparent ability to demonstrate that ‘voyeurism
can be an art form’ … Local reviewers are keen to claim proxy ownership of whatever
product results. ‘Brisbane’s own Zen Zen Zo’ is seen to reinterpret the avant‑garde for a
younger audience by meshing Japanese forms with elements of Western popular culture
… [They] function to confirm that the city’s arts scene is funky, vibrant, young and daring
as well as mature, sophisticated and cultured. (2006, 163‑164).

Gilbert and Lo go on to interpret this as “willed localism” on the part of the media and,
utilising a postcolonial lens, frame the work of Zen Zen Zo as Orientalist, claiming that
Zen Zen Zo’s training methodologies cultivate “raw and primitive energies”. For Gilbert
and Lo, quoting the work of Ali Behad, Zen Zen Zo’s “performance of oriental savagery”
therefore reinscribes the Orient as a site of alterity. In another postcolonial critique of
Zen Zen Zo’s The Tempest by post‑graduate student Natalie Lazaroo (2009), she claims
the production’s attempt to foreground marginality through the use of Butoh backfires:

The performance makes its postcolonial attempt by illuminating the struggle between the
oppressor and the oppressed, aiming to bring the marginalized characters of Caliban and
Ariel to the centre and challenge the hegemony. This attempt is made especially through
the use of the company’s take on Japanese Butoh and Mikhail Bakhtin’s carnival theories
as methods of inversion, and perhaps the performance’s most notable contribution to the
performance history of The Tempest is through the creation of a Butoh Caliban. Through
my analysis of the performance’s use of music and visual metaphors, however, I argue
that the performance’s postcolonial claim is problematic; while there has indeed been an
effort to offer a postcolonial perspective on The Tempest, the performance risks crossing
over into neocolonial territory, thus failing to fulfil its political objective. (2009, 380)

For me as an artist these critiques have sparked a desire to explore the field of intercultural
performance at more depth from the position of a practice‑led researcher. Finding a
language to articulate the experiences and processes of cross‑cultural exchange over
the past three decades became a driving imperative behind the creative practice and
theoretical enquiry.

14
2. CONTEXTUAL REVIEW

2.2 DAIRAKUDAKAN (大 駱 駝 艦)
Dairakudakan is arguably the oldest and largest Butoh group in the world, currently
comprising around twenty members, and has been hailed as “the most important
proponent of [Butoh founder] Hijikata’s Ankoku Butoh” (Viala and Masson‑Sekine 1998,
100). Dairakudakan was formed in Tōkyō 1972 by Maro Akaji, an actor who at the time of
meeting Butoh pioneer Hijikata Tatsumi was working with Kara Juro in the underground
theatre company they co‑founded, called Jōkyō Gekijō (Situation Theatre). Maro recalls
his early association with Hijikata:

I lived with Hijikata for about three years from 1965. I was nineteen and he was in his
mid‑thirties. I came to live at his house like a stray cat. At my first meeting with him I had
a strong sense of my own past, my roots. He was a country person living in Tōkyō, and I
was from Nara, which was just a quiet town, but it was the end of the Silk Route, so it was
somewhere very special. (in Hoffman and Holborn 1987, 76)

PHOTO 15: Maro Akaji and Hijikata Tatsumi


(Tōkyō). Photo: Miyauchi Fumio (1960s).

Maro had been born in Nara in 1943 and experienced a difficult early childhood with
his father, a Japanese soldier in the Second World War, dying in 1945 on Tinian Island
(near Guam in the Philippine Sea). The exact circumstances of his death are unknown.
However he is believed to have died from sickness or starvation whilst hiding in a
cave from the Allied Forces at the end of the war. In a conversation with Dairakudakan
Associate Producer, Yamamoto Ryo, she claimed that Maro’s father was in fact the captain
of a Japanese battleship. This is one reason why “Dairakudakan” is translated as “Great
Camel Battleship” (when the literal meaning is simply “Big Camel Ship/Vehicle”), and
Maro is often referred to as the “Captain of the Battleship” (see Figure 10). Upon hearing
the news of her husband’s death, however, Maro’s mother had a nervous breakdown
and moved back to her hometown in Kanazawa Prefecture, where she continued to

15
FOUND IN TRANSLATION

have mental health issues for the remainder of her life. Jonathan Friedland reported
that Maro’s mother eventually committed suicide (1994, 94). Maro was subsequently
raised by his uncle and aunt in Nara, and by his own admission was “not an obedient
child” (in Friedland, 94). He did, however, have a “happy childhood” from this point
forward according to Yamamoto (Personal Conversation, 3rd August 2015).

After moving to Tōkyō to study theatre at Waseda University, he met Karo Juro and
together they founded the infamous underground theatre company, Jōkyō Gekijo
(Situation Theatre), in 1964. Around the same time he attended a rehearsal of Hijikata’s
group which he recalls was a “true shock” and he became transfixed by this “form of
unclassifiable art” (Maison de la culture du Japon à Paris, 2012). Maro subsequently
dropped out of university (partially because of the student riots and university strikes at
the time) and trained with Hijikata from 1966 (Meyer‑Dinkgräfe 193). Around this time
he also changed his name from Omori Hiroshi 17 to Maro Akaji. Dairakudakan translator
Yuyama Daiichiro explains the meaning of his adopted name:

“Maro” is a very old word from Japanese history. It means “I am,” like the word for “myself.”
Then “Akaji” means “like a newborn baby.” So the direct translation is “I am a baby!” That’s
what Maro says. (8th April, 2016)

Maro continued to train in Butoh with Hijikata for several years during the late ‘60s.
During this time Hijikata also asked Maro to join the performance troupe that raised
money (for the company to live off ) by dancing in nightclubs around Tōkyō. 18 These
performances became the forerunner of Dairakudakan’s now famous “Golden Show.”19
According to Yamamoto, the troupe performed a series of famous “poses” (such as
Nijinski’s well‑known Afternoon of a Faun pose) to music. As they were too poor to buy
paint, they used old cooking oil from restaurants in the area to cover their bodies and
give them a “shiny, dirty gold” look. At the end of the night they would then wash the
oil off with the used dishwater from the nearby restaurant kitchens. Not long after
he joined Hijikata’s performance troupe, Maro was put in charge of these nightclub
performances (at which Hijikata was rarely present), and so he began choreographing
the first version of the Golden Show (Yamamoto, 3rd August 2015).

After several years training, performing and living with Hijikata, Maro left. Claiming
“Hijikata encouraged me to become independent” (in Hoffman and Holborn 1987, 100),

17 Maro shared this information in a personal conversation in the Smoker’s Corner on Friday 7th August, 2015.
18 This practice of performing in nightclubs to generate the primary income stream was common to many early
Butoh companies. To this day, Dairakudakan still does street festival and corporate performances in their signature
gold body paint to raise revenue. The gold paint distinguishes these spectacles (often referred to as “The Golden
Show”) from the “white paint performances” which are viewed as the core artistic practice of the company.
19 The Golden Show is not only performed regularly as part of Dairakudakan’s corporate repertoire, but it is part of
their annual Summer Camp performances in Hakuba as well. A version of the Golden Show also featured in their
recent production, Crazy Camel, which had an extended season in Paris in 2013‑2014.

16
2. CONTEXTUAL REVIEW

he described the decision to leave in part as “a family fight, just as is the case when you
don’t like the way someone else is eating rice. It wasn’t ideological. I just wanted to
do something that was not kabuki, not noh, not butoh, not anything in particular.” (in
Friedland 1994, 94) In 1972 (at the age of 29) he formed Dairakudakan. Dairakudakan’s
first show was Dance Anzu Machine (Dance Apricot Machine) in 1972, whilst their first
major production was Saint Testicles20 in 1974, which won a Japan Dance Critic Society
Award (Friedland 1994, 94). According to Maro, the aim of Dairakudakan was to “add
dynamism and drama to Butoh, to enlarge the spectacle.” (Maro in Hoffman and
Holborn 1987, 76) He has since renamed his style of Butoh “Temputenshiki” (天賦典式),
which Maro translates as “being born in the world is a great talent itself” (Maro 2008, 1).

PHOTO 16: Original Daiirakudakan Members (Tōkyō):


Amagatsu Ushio, Ōsuka Isamu, Bishop Yamada, Murobushi
Ko, Tamura Tetsuro and Maro Akaji. (1972).

The early dancers in Dairakudakan all went on to found their own significant companies
by the late 1970s, including Amagatsu Ushio (Sankaijuku), Ōsuka Isamu (Byakkosha),
Bishop Yamada (Hoppō Butoh‑ha), Murobushi Ko (Sebi/Ariadonne) and Tamura Tetsuro
(Dance Love Machine). As a result the expression “one dancer, one company” was coined
to describe Dairakudakan’s origins (Performing Arts Network Japan, 2005), and to this
day Maro encourages the members of the company to be independent and produce
their own work through Dairakudakan’s “Kochuten Series”.21

The company lived in a communal arrangement for several decades, sharing a large
house in Tōkyō, drawing comparisons to the Living Theatre (Maison de la culture du
Japon à Paris, 2012). In 1982 Dairakudakan first toured overseas to France and America
with the seminal work Kaiin no Uma (Sea‑Dappled Horse) and is therefore responsible

20 The production is now translated on Dairakudakan’s website in the History section as The Mikado’s Enormous
Balls.
21 “The Kochuten series presents works in which all the decisions involved in the choreography, direction and
staging are made by a single butoh artist of the company, with the one requirement that each work contain a
solo part performed by the choreographer him/herself.” (Performing Arts Network Japan 2005).

17
FOUND IN TRANSLATION

for introducing Butoh to the USA according to dance critic Anna Kisselgoff (1987).
Since  then Dairakudakan has produced over forty full‑length productions, including
those in the Kochuten series, many of which have toured internationally.

Often viewed as “carnivalesque”, “Rabelaisian” and “theatrical”, the company has drawn
criticism from some writers for being too focused on “colourful spectacle” (Kisselgoff
2001) and “excessively concerned with aesthetics at the expense of meaningful content”
(Cross 1996, 43). Viala and Masson‑Sekine concur, describing Dairakudakan’s first foray
onto the international stage as “decadent music hall entertainment” because of the loud
music, group choreography and numerous costumes (1998, 101). However, it could
be argued that this is exactly Maro’s goal – to create a kind of anarchic dance‑theatre
that progresses the earlier more austere style of Hijikata’s Butoh into a new space. In a
1991 interview Maro explained to me that this is one reason he refers to his dance as
Temputenshiki in which “Butoh is a kind of element or factor, a very important factor”
(14th December 1991). He went on to say that he does not think there is a definition of
Butoh nor ever will be, as by its very nature it is a form that is constantly changing (5).

Despite Dairakudakan’s place as “one of the most provocative and visually exciting butoh
ensembles around” (Cross 1996, 43) there is no in‑depth research in English on either the
company, Maro Akaji, or on his philosophies and methodologies. The entire body of extant
literature extends to two short entries in the books Butoh: Dance of the Dark Soul (Hoffman
and Holborn 1987) and Butoh: Shades of Darkness (Viala and Masson‑Sekine 1998), a few
dozen reviews by the media during Dairakudakan’s tours to America and Australia and
several interviews with Maro. Recent books on Butoh (Roquet 2004; Fraleigh 2006 and
2010; Baird 2012) only have peripheral references to Maro and the company. This is an
identified gap in the field of literature that this research investigation aims to address,
in part by conducting interviews with Maro and Yuyama Daiichiro (the Dairakudakan
translator), and through the articulation of Maro’s Method of training and devising.

PHOTO 17: Dobu (Ash Man). Dairakudakan. Muramatsu Takuya. (2009).

18
2. CONTEXTUAL REVIEW

2.3 BUTOH (舞踏)


Definitions of Butoh are commonly debated or stubbornly avoided by practitioners
of the form, in part because they promote an anti‑rational philosophy which takes
inspiration from Zen Buddhism and Western artistic traditions such as Absurdism,
Surrealism and Dadaism. Maro Akaji confirms this opinion by stating, “I have heard
even the name ‘butoh’ is a mere creation, by Akira Kasai. No doubt butoh is something
alien and hazy. It takes shape when you give it words, but the next moment it changes
shape and slips away, like amoeba. It’s an anti‑thing.” (2011, 8) Susan Blakely Klein, who
provided the first full‑length account in English of the Butoh movement in Ankoku Butō:
The Premodern and Postmodern Influences on the Dance of Utter Darkness, elaborates on
this resistance towards definitions:

Not only do the large number of people influenced by the movement and the wide range
of styles that have evolved from it conspire against coming up with a single all‑inclusive
definition; but the philosophy of Butō itself is vehemently opposed to any critical
interpretation that might limit the possible meanings evoked in the viewer. (1988, 2‑3)

However scholars, both Western and Japanese, have been more willing to define Butoh,
variously referring to it as a “movement”, “genre” and “style”. Klein goes on to provide
an in‑depth account of the history of Butoh as an avant‑garde revolt against both
traditional Japanese dance and the increasing Western influences that emerged in
post‑war Japan. Tracing the first Butoh performance to co‑founder Hijikata Tatsumi’s
Kinjiki (Forbidden Colours, based on the novel of the same name by Mishima Yukio, and
performed on May 24th, 1959), Klein expands:

The Butō movement was the product of an attempt by Hijikata Tatsumi and Ohno Kazuo
(who although not directly involved with the production of Forbidden Colours itself,
played an essential role in the formation of the Butō aesthetic) to create a specifically
Japanese dance form that would transcend the constraints of both Western modern dance
and traditional Japanese dance. It was a provocative form of social criticism, a response
to the Japanese avant garde’s disenchantment with Western cultural and political
dominance, and it had an enormous influence on the young artists and intellectuals of
the early 1960’s, particularly in theatre. (2)

According to critic Vicki Saunders, the hallmark of the early Butoh was its “stillness,
eroticism, intensity, facial disfigurement, and gestural distortion” (1988, 152). Saunders
also gives one of the first accounts of the aesthetic underpinnings of Butoh in her article
“Dancing the Dark Soul of Japan: An Aesthetic Analysis of ‘Butō’,” as she examines the
use of traditional Japanese principles such as Ma (間) and Yūgen (幽玄).22 Saunders
goes on to identify and give an historical account of the more overt markers of Butoh,
22 Ma (間) can be roughtly translated as “interval”, “gap”, “pause” or “the space between two things,” and Yūgen
(幽玄) means “dim”, “deep” or “mysterious.”

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including: the white body paint worn by the dancers; the use of grotesque imagery;
and the penchant for extremely slow tempo movement (known as “bisoku”). As part
of this early wave of Butoh literature in English, Bonnie Sue Stein wrote an article
titled “Twenty Years Ago We Were Crazy, Dirty and Mad” which covers similar territory
whilst also giving a comprehensive overview of the first‑wave Japanese dancers and
practitioners (1986). Stein’s poetic definition of Butoh is outlined as follows:

Butoh is:
shocking
provocative
physical
spiritual
erotic
grotesque
violent
cosmic
nihilistic
cathartic
mysterious (110).

Several books focusing on the visual depiction of Butoh were also published in the
1980s with English introductions, including Butoh: Dance of the Dark Soul (Hoffman and
Holborn 1987) and Butoh: Shades of Darkness (Viala and Masson‑Sekine 1988), which
contribute to the understanding of Butoh’s unique aesthetic via a series of photo‑essays.

In recent years, drawing less on the historical roots of Butoh, practitioners have tended
to look more towards the commonalities in methods of training and performance
when discussing the form and its definition. Australian practitioner Helen Smith, in
her practice‑led Masters exegesis, identifies three core elements that in her opinion
define the “essence” of Butoh – transformation, the body “being moved” and the
“empty body” (3):

Transformation is the term used to describe metamorphic processes of the body, which
are perpetually changing, never fixed and always in a position of instability. ‘Being moved’
refers to the way in which the dancer is controlled by unseen forces either inside or
outside the body, as opposed to her being moved by her own will. These forces are driven
by image. It is a commonly held belief among experienced butoh practitioners that in
order to prepare the body for receiving and responding to images, establishing a state
of emptiness in the body first is crucial. However, this state is far from being ‘empty’, but
is full of potential and readiness to become something, or rather anything; a necessary
state before transformation can occur. (2016, 3‑4)

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At the 2014 “Tearing the Mask: Festival of Japanese Theatre” held at NIDA,23 at which I
appeared as a guest speaker, I proposed a definition of Butoh with reference to common
threads, building on Smith’s three elements and adding another five (see Figure 1).

FIGURE 1: Threads of Butoh Definition (2014).

In my 1993 Honours Thesis24 I also traced the Western influences on Butoh, in particular
German Expressionist dance and the writings of Antonin Artaud. Later articles such
as Catherine Curtin’s “Recovering the Body and Expanding the Boundaries of Self in
Japanese Butoh: Hijikata, Georges Bataille and Antonin Artaud” (2010) reinforce this
research. Stephen Barber’s book Hijikata: Revolt of the Body (2005) recalls in a chapter
titled “From France” the impact of Jean Genet on Hijikata to the point where he
temporarily changed his name to Hijikata Genet at the beginning of the 1960s. This
cross‑cultural exchange of ideas and forms has led Kurihara Nanako to declare that it
would be naïve to conceive of Butoh as being essentially Japanese in its origins (2000,
17), and Fraleigh and Nakamura to rightly observe that “the Butoh aesthetic loops
historically from Japan to the West, and goes back to Japan” (2006, 13).

23 Curated by then NIDA Head of Acting, Jeff Janisheski, the week‑long festival ran from 10th‑15th February 2014
and featured Butoh dancer Waguri Yukio and Noh (能) scholar and performer Richard Emmert from Japan.
The week consisted of intensive training for the NIDA acting and directing students, as well as nightly film
screenings and a day‑long conference that included guest speakers identified as the first artists working with
Butoh in Australia.
24 The dissertation, submitted as part of my Honours Degree at the University of Queensland, was titled Shades of
Darkness: The Butoh Movement.

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FOUND IN TRANSLATION

Recent academic scholarship has continued to offer more complex and detailed
accounts of the historical origins of Butoh (Baird 2012) as well as its aesthetic and
philosophical underpinnings (Fraleigh 1999 and 2010). Sondra Fraleigh, who is perhaps
the most prolific writer in English in this field, has also covered the emergence of Butoh
practices around the world and traced its “international assimilation in the twenty‑first
century” (2010, 1), approaching this development as a positive one and giving a series
of in‑depth accounts of Butoh artists’ work from a number of different countries,
including that of Zen Zen Zo founding member Fran Barbe (2010, 161‑167). Fraleigh
claims that Butoh is a “tolerant and inclusive” form that has enabled it to extend beyond
the borders of Japan and “adapt to new ethnicities and circumstances” (2010, 2).

2.3.1 Butoh in Australia


At the 2014 NIDA Tearing the Mask: Festival of Japanese Theatre Conference it was widely
acknowledged that the birth of Butoh in Australia in the early 1990s was accredited to the
four guest speakers – Tess de Quincey, Cheryl Heazlewood, Yumi Umiumare25 and me.
De Quincey had trained and performed with Tanaka Min and his Maijuku company for
six years in Japan before returning to base herself in Sydney in 1992. Cheryl Heazlewood,
a former classical and contemporary dancer who toured in Europe extensively with
Lindsay Kemp, studied with a number of Japanese Butoh artists before returning to
Australia in 1995. Yumi Umiumare migrated to Australia in 1993 after working as a lead
dancer with Dairakudakan, and I had returned to Brisbane in 1992 after living in Japan
for several years and training with Katsura Kan, Ohno Kazuo and Iwashita Toru.

PHOTO 18 (from left): Tess de Quincey (2011), Cheryl Heazlewood (1996), Yumi Umiumare (2015).

In her book The Yellow Lady: Australian Impressions of Asia, writer and former diplomat
Alison Broinowski traces the influence of Asian art forms on Australian artists in the 20th
century and credits the introduction of Butoh into Australian to de Quincey, Heazlewood
and Bradley (1996, 217). She also conjectures that Butoh’s instant popularity in this
country may be due to a shared interest in marginality and counterculture:

25 In using her first name before family name I am acknowledging how Yumi Umiumare refers to herself as an
artist working within the Australian context.

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2. CONTEXTUAL REVIEW

Australians, performers and audiences alike, found affinity with the counterculture
of Hakutobo, Ono Kazuo, and Dairakudakan, and with their mocking of traditional
conventions of beauty and behaviour. Whether it was the difference of this art from the
Japanese mainstream or from the Australian one, its appeal was sexy, violent, humorous,
and nihilistic. Perhaps Australians shared with Japanese a fascination with darkness,
violence, and eroticism that they had not admitted. (1996, 155)

Significant second‑wave Butoh artists (or artists who use the form regularly in their
performance and pedagogical work) include Fran Barbe, Helen Smith, Mark Hill, Jeremy
Neideck and Gretel Taylor. All these artist were first introduced to the form through
contact with Zen Zen Zo or one of the above‑mentioned pioneers and then undertook
periods of training in Japan with various Butoh artists.

Contested and more politicised readings of Butoh than those offered by European
and American writers have arisen in recent scholarship by Australian academics
Peter Eckersall (1999, 2000, 2004), Jonathan Marshall (1995, 2001, 2006), Bree Hadley
(2007), Gretel Taylor (2010), and Jeremy Neideck (2015) who problematise it within the
framework of intercultural, postcolonial and feminist theories. In his article “Putting
the Boot into Butoh: Cultural Problematics of Butoh in Australia” Eckersall claims
that Australian versions of Butoh have fetishised Japanese culture. He purports that
the Orientalist “Other” is being reinforced by performances in contexts that are not
supported by a “comprehensive knowledge of Japanese culture” or their “location in a
historical continuum” (2004, 34). Bree Hadley (2007) observes that this tendency towards
Orientalism has resulted in Butoh being “frequently exoticised” by less‑experienced
practitioners in Australia who regurgitate a surface‑level aesthetically‑driven version
of the form. Marshall observes that the colonial East/West divide becomes a constant
lens through which we view Butoh, but that this is an inherent part of the form. In his
view, Butoh “constitutes an intervention and reflection upon the problematic cultural
position of the Japanese subject in the second half of the twentieth century.” (2001, 3)

Significant Butoh practitioners and experimental theatre artists in Australia, including Tess
de Quincey, Yumi Umiumare, Helen Smith, Fran Barbe, Jeremy Neideck and Robert Lewis,
have also undertaken research projects, both scholarly and practice‐led, to understand
their practice in the Australian cultural context. Tess de Quincey works with Body Weather
which Tanaka Min developed in the 1980s as a training and performance form that draws
on martial arts, dance and sport (he was an elite sportsman himself before becoming a
Butoh dancer). The focus on place that drove Tanaka’s work is played out in De Quincey’s
ongoing postcolonial exploration of “how I stand in Australia” as a non‑indigenous artist
(De Quincey Co  Website). Many of her training laboratories and performances have
subsequently been located in remote parts of the country. Yumi Umiumare, a member
of Dairakudakan for ten years before moving to Australia, creates hybrid performances

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FOUND IN TRANSLATION

under the title “Butoh Cabaret” that explore her identity as an Asian‑Australian. Hadley
writes that Umiumare works to “fracture or traumatise the very representation systems
that have defined them as racially Other, and bring spectators into the uncertain space
they often find themselves inhabiting.” (2011, 2)

Of most relevance to this investigation is the way in which these artists have worked
to transpose Butoh from its original historical context in Japan into “the very different
environmental and socio‑political terrain of Australia” (Taylor, 73). As Fraleigh and
Nakamura observe: “Most articles and books on butoh are historical or aesthetic and
do not deal with butoh as a practice. We are interested in opening up dialogue and
research in this area.” (2006, 102) It is also worth noting that all four Butoh pioneers in
Australia no longer label their performance work Butoh. De Quincey practices Body
Weather; Umiumare identifies her work as Butoh Cabaret; Cheryl Heazlewood used Butoh
and Beyond as the moniker for her company and workshops; and Zen Zen Zo stopped
referring to our dance‑theatre productions as Butoh in 2008 and currently only use
the umbrella terms “physical theatre” or “contemporary performance” when discussing
our work. This investigation will address why these Australian performing artists have
transformed the semantic framing of their work over time through a re‑naming that I will
argue is part of the transculturation process and constitutes an act of Cultural Translation.

PHOTO 19: Zeitgeist. Photos: Simon Woods (2008).

2.3.2 Maro’s Method


After founding Dairakudakan in 1972 Maro developed his own method for training his
dancers. Maro’s non‑Japanese students often refer to this method as “miburi/teburi” 
(身振り手振り), though the company members simply call it Maro’s Method (Yuyama,

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2. CONTEXTUAL REVIEW

8th April 2016). Maro’s Method is a methodology for training and generating material,
however it has a deep philosophical underpinning in Maro’s theories regarding the
relationship between the conscious/unconscious, rational/irrational, visible/invisible,
and surface/subterranean divide in life and art. The artist’s job, according to Maro, is
to capture the subterranean world and inject it into their art. His method for doing this
involves what he refers to as “three pillars:” 1) Miburi/Teburi (身振り手振り – “purposeless
movement”), 2) Igata (鋳型 – “mould”), and 3) Chūtai (宙体 – “space‑body”). In “Creating
Butoh Drama” Maro states: “By incorporating and structuring these principles, I have
created more than fifty pieces of work. They are not created in a theatrical way, but in
the way of Butoh Drama, which I call Temputenshiki.” (2008, 5)

To date Maro’s Method has only been mentioned twice in current literature on Butoh.
Jeremy Neideck, in his PhD thesis The Fabric of Transcultural Collaboration, and based
on his experience training with Dairakudakan whilst a member of Zen Zen Zo in 2008,
discussed his understanding of the first part of the method, miburi/teburi:

The first of these, teburi are those movements “led by our hands” – the logical, convenient
and fundamental motions by which humans grasp tools, gesture to one another and carry
out all manner of civilized activity. Miburi however is movement that is “unconsciously taken
or led by us that does not possess any purpose or meaning”. [Maro] describes a metaphysical
dichotomy drawn between the conscious and unconscious world, the bright and the dark,
the inside and the outside, separated by a ‘crack’ or a point of rupture. (2016, 55)

Maro’s Method for training the dancer, therefore, involves accessing the miburi
movement from the unconscious world and excavating it for the stage. In order to
do this, Maro created a technique which involves recalling the moments in our lives
where these cracks have opened up for us. Once these cracks have been pinpointed
and recreated, the job of the performer is to linger there in order to allow the body to
become “possessed” by something that originates in that dark, invisible, unconscious
place. In her practice‑led Masters exegesis on Butoh, Helen Smith, who undertook the
training whilst attending the Dairakudakan Summer Camp in 2006, explains:

What this [training] aims to do is suddenly drop the dancer into the world of the
unconscious – the void – from which place the dance emerges. The participant starts by
miming an everyday activity such as brushing teeth or cutting vegetables. The teacher
makes a sudden loud noise, which shocks the person into frozen stillness. In this moment
all thought is momentarily suspended in a void. The idea is to maintain this state for
as long as possible until something ventures out of the darkness to inhabit the body.
Here then is the gateway into the dance. It becomes a kind of ‘falling into’ the state of
nothingness, quite suddenly – from a moment of shock or fright. (2016, 49)

Smith goes on to note that this technique is a core part of Dairakudakan’s training
methodology and plays a large role in the process by which the company generates images
and movements subsequently used to create the choreography for their productions.

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FOUND IN TRANSLATION

PHOTO 20: Maro’s Method (Actor’s Dojo). Katherine Wilkinson, Indigo Keane, Merlynn Tong. Photos: Simon Woods.

The second and third parts of Maro’s Method, igata and chūtai, as well as Maro’s
philosophical worldview in which the training method is embedded, have not been
discussed in any literature found to date. Maro makes brief reference to them in handouts
circulated at the annual Summer Camp, but they remain largely unexplored from a
research perspective. The relatively scant literature surrounding Maro, his method, and
Dairakudakan is a gap this research investigation aims to address. The reason for the
dearth of information is unclear. Perhaps this is because Maro, in the tradition of many
Butoh artists, likes to confound and provoke his listeners/readers with anti‑rational and
sometimes nonsensical statements. Rohan Preston, writing a review of The Sea‑Dappled
Horse which was restaged for an American tour in 2001, comments: “When visionary
Japanese dance‑theatre founder Akaji Maro talks, he sounds alternately like a Greek
oracle and a New‑Agey, 21st Century rebel.” (2001)

Whatever the reason for this gap in current knowledge, I am in a privileged position
as an artist with a decade‑long creative relationship with Dairakudakan to address
this issue. The partnership between Zen Zen Zo and Dairakudakan has enabled this
research investigation to be conducted with a high‑level of contact with Maro and his
company. In turn this has resulted in the revelation of new information and knowledge
concerning Maro, Dairakudakan and the company’s current performance practices. For
this reason, it is anticipated that this will be one of this research investigation’s primary
contributions to new knowledge.

2.3.3 Key Concepts and “Interpretants”26


Whilst developing ways to culturally translate Butoh and transpose it into the Australian
cultural landscape, a number of key concepts have been identified and researched at
depth to provide psycho‑physical pathways for Australian artists into the field of Butoh.
These include Ma, the Shadow Archetype, and concepts drawn from Carnival Theory.
26 See 2.6.2.5 for the definition of “Interpretants.”

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2. CONTEXTUAL REVIEW

2.3.3.1 Ma (間)
The first is the Japanese concept of ma which plays an important role in both traditional
and contemporary Japanese performing arts, including Butoh. Further, it comprises a key
component of Maro’s Method and subsequently became an integral part of this project’s
practice (see Chapter 4). I first encountered the Japanese spatio‑temporal concept of
ma whilst studying Noh (能) in Kyoto, Japan. Noh Drummer Kichisaka Ichiro, who at
the time was translating for my Noh teacher, Urata Yasuchika,27 found it challenging to
explain because ma is firmly entrenched in traditional Japanese aesthetics and there is
no equivalent in English.

Noh scholar Komparu Kunio translates and elaborates upon ma as follows:

Noh is sometimes called the art of ma. This word can be translated into English as space,
spacing, interval, gap, blank, room, pause, rest, time, timing, or opening …. Of course
both understandings of ma, as time and as space, are correct …. Because it includes three
meanings, time, space, and space‑time, the word ma at first seems vague, but it is the
multiplicity of meanings and at the same time, the conciseness of the single word that
makes ma a unique conceptual term, one without parallel in other languages. (1983, 70)

Describing ma as a “cultural paradigm,”  Vicki Saunders acknowledges that it is present


in all Japanese art forms, as “the empty space in a tea bowl, what is left unsaid in a haiku
poem, the sound/silence ration in music, the foreground/background distance in an
inkwash painting, the moments of repose in a nō drama.” (1988, 161) The importance of
ma therefore extends into all arenas in the arts in Japan. Journalist Ogata Shinichi recalls:

Now that I think about it, back when I was a child, my calligraphy teacher too stressed
the importance of space. Naturally, the idea was to use a brush to draw characters on
the paper, but we were often told to think not just about the black areas covered by our
characters, but also to be generous with the white areas between the characters so that
we could express the vastness of infinity, like the unfurling of outer space. Learning how
to establish space was also part of kendō practice back in my student days. The teacher
told us to look for that perfect distance between yourself and your opponent whereby
any blow that your opponent struck would fail to land cleanly, but your own blows would
always be true. He said that everything depended on grasping as quickly as we could that
subtle personal ma. (2008, 1)

In the article “MA: Space‑Time in Japan”, contemporary architect Isozaki Arata meditates
on the origins of the concept of ma which he identifies as deeply ingrained in traditional
Japanese culture:

27 My first experience studying Noh was in the Traditional Theatre Training (TTT) program in Kyoto in 1990 run by
Jonah Salz since 1985. As a part of this month‑long summer intensive I trained in Noh for four hours a day and
performed a dance from the famous play Hagaromo at the final recital. I went on to continue training with Urata
Yasuchika for several years. As I began studying Japanese language intensively after my first summer in Japan I
was able to participate in his classes without an interpreter from that point forward.

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While in the West the space‑time concept gave rise to absolutely fixed images of a
homogenous and infinite continuum, as presented in Descartes, in Japan space and time
were never fully separated but were conceived as correlative and omnipresent …. Space
could never be abstracted as a regulated homogenous flow, but rather was believed to
exist only in relation to movements in space … space was recognized only in its relation
to time‑flow. (in Pilgrim 1986, 255)

Richard Pilgrim identifies that ma is a term that for Japanese people is deeply ambiguous
and which operates at the intersection between culture and language, between the
traditional and contemporary performing arts, and between art and religion (25). In this
sense Judith Hamera compares it to Victor Turner’s theory of Liminality as a “boundary
situation replete with meaning”, but also points out the differences in the two concepts
by identifying that “in [ma] meaning is generated through gaps in action, whereas in
[Liminality] meaning is generated largely through action.” (1990, 57)

Further it is inherently relational for as Pilgrim explains it incorporates “a dynamic sense of


standing in, with, among, or between” (1986, 256). He refers to the Japanese expression
“ma ga warui” which literally means “the ma is bad” but translates more directly as “bad
luck” or “ill‑timed” or “awkward situation”. Similarly Noh drummer Kichisaka claimed that
a Noh actor had either “good or bad ma”, based on how they inhabited the “time‑space”
on stage and used it in their performances (Personal Conversations).

My understanding and use of the concept of ma was developed during those early years
studying Noh, and later honed whist training and performing Butoh. Fraleigh argues that
ma is in fact “the global connective tissue of butoh” (2010, 6). Beyond its spatial‑temporal
meaning she says it refers also to an “expansive state of mind” with much in common with
Zen. She describes this state as: “The mind that has been freed from thought can dwell
in‑between, not looking back with regret or forward in anticipation. A calm mind is free
from the need to judge. Ugliness and beauty are let be, as perceptual and impermanent.”
(2010, 6) In describing a performance by Endo Tadashi entitled MA, Fraleigh elaborates
on Butoh’s use of ma in terms of its metamorphic qualities and love of “emptiness”:

In the dimension of time, Endo himself remains on the verge of form and lands in ma,
the Japanese word for the space‑time phenomenon in‑between things, as this may also
include the mysterious spaces of the mind and not just the objects we commonly call
“things”. In Zen Buddhism, ma points toward emptiness – not form but absence, conjuring
the meditative gap between forms and happenings as well as people. If movement is the
essence of dance, then Endo seeks the opposite. Rather, he empties out and waits; so in
the empty field between the dance and the witness, the mind can move. (2010, 169)

Similarly ma is an integral part of Maro Akaji’s training method and Dairakudakan’s


performance aesthetic (see 4.2).

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2. CONTEXTUAL REVIEW

PHOTO 21: Lynne Bradley performing Noh (Kyoto, Japan). 1990.

Whilst ma locates its origins in the specific cultural context of traditional Japan, Cheryl
Stock points out in her article “The Interval Between…The Space Between: Concepts of
Time and Space in Asian Art and Performance”, that this idea of the “pregnant nothing”
of ma has multiple resonances for contemporary artists working across cultures:

In its various permutations and combinations, many Asian (and non‑Asian) artists
engage with a sensibility which embraces the ideas of a contemplative / creative ‘void’
or ‘inbetweenness’ through which the essence of the art work passes. It is also a space
for the viewer or listener to pass through; the quintessential experience of what lies
between the words, the steps, the notes or the images of the work…. For a dance artist
this spatiotemporal passing through in the moment of ‘now’ occurs kinaesthetically as
well as imaginatively and spiritually. (2005, 12)

Attempting to render the concept of ma, and its application in Maro’s Method, into a
framework that is comprehensible to Australian artists was part of the challenge of the
creative practice component of this research investigation. The methods that I utilised
to achieve this, involving a process of Cultural Translation, are discussed at length in
Chapter 4.

The following two key concepts, Carl Jung’s Shadow Archetype and Carnival Theory,
represent what I have come to understand as “interpretants” (see 2.6.2.5) – linguistic or
cultural alternatives employed by the translator to mediate between source and target

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language/culture when there is no equivalent term/concept. In my work with Butoh


over the past three decades I have found both these theoretical frameworks (which I
first encountered whilst at university in the 1980s) to be extremely fruitful in helping
Australian artists interpret Butoh.

2.3.3.2 Shadow Archetype


The Shadow Archetype, as defined by 20th century psychologist Carl Gustav Jung, is “the
face we never show to the world” (1981, 20), including “those qualities and impulses
[a person] denies in himself but can plainly see in other people” (1964, 158). Jung
claims that: “Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s
conscious life, the blacker and denser it is” (1938, 131). As the Shadow Archetype
represents aspects of ourselves that we deem as negative and socially unacceptable
(such as greed, anger, immorality, selfishness, sexual appetite and egoism), the process
by which human beings realise and accept the Shadow self is challenging. Nonetheless
Jung deems it a necessary undertaking because “the repressed content must be made
conscious so as to produce a tension of opposites, without which no forward movement
is possible.” (Jung 1972, 53)

In the recent publication Mis/takes: Archetype, Myth and Identity in Screen Fiction (2014),
Terrie Waddell employs Jung’s ideas on art, religion and the unconscious in combination
with post‑Jungian writers and cultural theorists to examine contemporary film and
television. Waddell’s analysis is useful in that it applies Jungian and post‑Jungian ideas
to contemporary art, something increasingly few writers have done in recent years, and
provides an in‑depth account of how identity is constructed and disrupted, as well as
cross‑referencing Mikhail Bakhtin’s notion of the Grotesque and its “Dionysian desire to
subvert, transgress and initiate transgression” (5).

I did extensive research into the Jungian Shadow Archetype while working on the
music‑theatre productions My Sublime Shadow28 (2010) and Cabaret (2011) and the
Butoh‑inspired dance‑theatre work Zeitgeist (2008‑2011). My proposition became that
Butoh is a dance that manifests the individual and collective Shadows as Jung defines
them. Butoh dancers transgressively play with taboo subject matter and dance their
“inner darkness” in a way that is ultimately transformative. In Jung’s paradigm, their
primary purpose is to confront and “devour” or “eat” their Shadows and in doing so
restore wholeness (Tomasulo 2011, 2).

28 This production, which I directed, featured singer/song‑writers Emma Dean and Jacob Diefenbach and Zen Zen
Zo physical‑theatre performers Dale Thorburn and Jillian Geurts as their “shadows”. My Sublime Shadow, which
was performed at the Old Museum in August‑September 2010, acted as an exploratory space to develop some
of the key concepts later used in 2011’s Cabaret (realised as a co‑production with QPAC and PowerArts at the
Cremorne Theatre).

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PHOTO 22: Cabaret (Zen Zen Zo/QPAC/PowerArts). Sandro Colarelli, Harriet Devlin. Photo: Justine Walpole (2011).

Sondra Fraleigh makes brief reference to this process of transformation through


what she terms “shadow dancing” in Butoh: Metamorphic Dance and Global Alchemy
(2010, 70‑71). She acknowledges Butoh’s connection to Jung’s theories dating back to
Hijikata’s interest in the “unconscious body” and the representation of the unconscious
in Expressionism and Surrealism. She elaborates:

Like Jung in his work on alchemy, darkness, and symbols of transformation, Hijikata
embraced the darkness, naming his dance “darkness dance” and conceiving it in light of
transformative potency …. Butoh has therapeutic potential, particularly as it recognizes
the shadow self. (2010, 70)

However Fraleigh also states that it would be a mistake to see Butoh as originating from
Jung’s theories as expounded in Western psychology, nor should we attempt to entirely
explain Butoh’s “imagistic process” through Jungian psychoanalysis (71). She points
to Hijikata’s location of the unconscious in the body and his focus on what might be
termed more “spiritual pathways.” In a 1977 interview, Hijikata reflected: “Inside this one
body there are various mythic things that are still sleeping intact …. The work is how
to excavate them at the actual site …. I would like to see something where such things
float up like departed spirits.” (in Senda 2000, 68‑69) This concept greatly resonates with
Maro’s Method, and it is here that we can begin to see the legacy of Hijikata’s ideas
realised in Maro’s work.

2.3.3.3 Carnival Theory and the Grotesque Body


Another analytical paradigm from Western literature that I have found resonates
deeply with my performance practice over the past two decades, and has become a
useful interpretant for understanding Butoh is Carnival Theory. Emerging out of the

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writings of Mikhail Bakhtin’s Rabelais


and His World (1968) and Problems of
Dostoevsky’s Poetics (1984), the field
was further significantly theorised
by Barbara Babcock (1979), Peter
Stallybrass and Allon White (1986),
and Renate Lachmann (1988). Carnival
Theory articulates the transgressive
and subversive functions drawn from
the historic event of the carnival,
including: the public exposure of that
which is repressed or hidden; the mix
of the sacred and the profane; and the
downfall of the vertical hierarchies
of official culture. Renate Lachmann
outlines the characteristics of Carnival
as: “Gay relativity, instability, openness
and infiniteness, the metamorphic,
PHOTO 23: Natsu no Inori (A Summer’s Prayer). Shioya
Tomoshi, Takakuwa Akiko. Photo: Simon Woods (2015). ambivalence, the eccentric, materiality
and corporeality, excess [and] the
exchange of value positions (up/down, master/slave)” (1988‑89, 136). Stallybrass
and White, in their analysis of identify formation, marginalisation and the Other,
describe Bakhtin’s Carnival world as one of “topsy‑turvy, of heteroglot exuberance,
of ceaseless overrunning and excess where all is mixed, hybrid, ritually degraded and
defiled” (1986, 8). As part of this topsy‑turvy world, Bakhtin identifies the Grotesque
as the prevailing aesthetic trope, with the body as the focus of his analysis. He pits the
Grotesque Body in opposition to the Classical Body of the Renaissance period with its
“aesthetics of the beautiful”:

The new bodily canon … presents an entirely finished, completed, strictly limited body,
which is shown from the outside as something individual. That which protrudes, bulges,
sprouts, or branches off … is eliminated, hidden or moderated. All orifices of the body are
closed. (1984, 320)

By contrast Bakhtin describes the Grotesque Body with its “gaping mouth, the protruding
eyes, sweat, trembling, suffocation, the swollen face” (1984, 308), and outlines the main
events in the life of the Grotesque Body as “eating, drinking, defecation…copulation,
pregnancy, dismemberment” (1984, 341).

Whilst Maro claims there is no word in Japanese for “grotesque,” he agrees that the
English term and its associated concept are a useful reference point to talk about his

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work (14th December 1991). Indeed, as Susan Blakely Klein observes, “grotesque
imagery … has become almost synonymous with the word ‘Butoh’” (1988, 28). Employed
by Hijikata and his followers in part to resist monologic closure, the grotesque also
functions as a space of hybridity. As Geoffrey Galt Harpham explores in On the Grotesque
(1982), the grotesque, like metaphor, has the ability to hold multiple and conflicting
meanings so that our understanding is stranded in a “liminal” phase and thus, “resisting
closure, the grotesque object impales us in the present moment, emptying past and
forestalling the future” (16).

A further relevant aspect of Carnival


Theory to this research investigation is
the medieval mundus inversus or World
Upside Down (WUD) topos. Referring
to the symbolic inversion of accepted
hierarchies or value systems, it functions
in carnival times as a subversive means
to invert “the relationship of subject
and object, agent and instrument,
husband and wife, old and young,
animal and human, master and slave.”
(Stallybrass and White, 56) WUD has
the function of locating a “crisis of
category” where borderlines between
distinct categories become permeable
and displacements occur. This concept
of subversive reversals speaks to
Maro’s understanding of the two
PHOTO 24: Maro’s Method (New Zealand Stomp).
Martine Baanvinger, Damara Sylvester. parallel worlds humans simultaneously
Photo: Lynne Bradley (2016).
inhabit (see 4.2.2); his concept of
chūtai (space‑body), in which the body’s borders become permeable and the inside/
outside contents are exchanged (see 4.2.2); and Butoh’s overarching appropriation of
marginality as its central social focus (Klein 1988, 34).

These aspects of Carnival Theory, therefore, have provided me (as translator) with a
highly productive language to articulate the aesthetics and political function of Butoh
to Australian artists. The process of identifying and utlising “interpretants” to aid in the
Cultural Translation process is at the heart of this doctoral project and will be discussed
further in 2.6 (Translation Theory) and Chapter 4 (Creative Practice).

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2.4 INNOVATION
A supplementary theoretical framework that has been employed in this study concerns
innovation. Throughout the last two decades of the 20th century the term “innovation”
(like “creativity”) has become a major catch phrase for both the arts and business sectors.
Recently, it has had a significant resurgence with Malcolm Turnbull’s 2015 Innovation
Statement that he claims will drive the “ideas boom” in Australia (Borello and Keany
2015). Whilst this has been reflected in an increased push for innovation in the arts,
it has always been high on the agenda in arts policy. Marian Fitzgibbon observes in
Managing Innovation in the Arts:

Take almost any arts policy statement – an Arts council report, a government arts plan, a
mission statement for a national theatre company, a metropolitan cultural center, or a local
arts organization … and you can be sure to find an allusion to innovation …. Indeed, in [the
arts world] the subject has added intensity derived from the notion that innovation is the
very raison d’être of the arts sector, itself regarded as the crucible of creativity. (2001, 1)

But what exactly is “innovation”? Surprisingly, it remains a somewhat equivocal term.


This is in part because, as Stuart Cunningham and his team report in the recent
publication on Australian enterprise innovation, the “meaning of the term innovation
is highly circumstantial and varies considerably depending on the context in which it is
used, and for what purpose.” (2016, 23)

2.4.1 Definition
Launching a new Arts Business Innovation Fund in 2014, Arts Queensland also
acknowledged the term’s ambiguity:

It’s one of those words that is frequently used in business circles yet many shy away
from pinning down a definition of the term. Innovation is something we are told to
strive for, it is seen as a journey, it is something that certainly seems to be rewarded in
business. What do we mean by innovation? Arguably one way of explaining innovation
is that it demonstrates a new way of thinking that seeks to change outcomes. Put simply,
innovation is applying ideas that add value. (Arts Queensland Website, Italics added)

The New Oxford America Dictionary defines innovation as “making changes in


something established, especially by introducing new methods.” In a 2010 innovation
blog, twenty‑five of the top definitions were compiled, including: “Value + Creativity
+ Execution”; “the practical realisation of a new idea, method or device”; and “the
transformation of useful seeds of invention into solutions valued above every
existing alternative” (blogginginnovation.com). John Barker, in a forthcoming book
on innovation, notes thousands of current definitions which he summaries into the
following four essential attributes:

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1. It is something that is new, or at least new to the innovator.


2. It involves doing something, i.e. it is a “process”;
3. The “process” involves changing something;
4. The “changed something” is intended to be beneficial to somebody.” (2016, 5)

This has been a useful working definition for the purposes of this study and forms
the basis of the innovation framework utilised in the creative practice cycles (further
discussed in 4.1).

In a recent lecture, Mark Dodgson – Professor of Innovation Studies at the University


of Queensland – acknowledged that despite research into innovation occurring from
the mid 20th century, it is still an emergent field with research remaining exploratory
and speculative. Further, whist there is an increasing array of research on the topic,
particularly coming out of the business sector, innovation needs to develop more
complex theory to underpin its growth. He also called for the Australian government’s
focus on STEM (Science / Technology / Engineering / Mathematics) to be broadened to
STEAM, in order to incorporate the Arts as a sector where creativity, a prerequisite for
innovation, thrives (4th March 2016).

The preoccupation with innovation in the arts sector in Australia dates back to the
‘80s and ‘90s. In 1990 the Australia Council launched a Creative Innovation Program,
acknowledging that “Creativity is of increasingly strategic value to nations such as
Australia in making the transition to innovation and knowledge‑based economies”
(1st  January, Australia Council Website). In her 2008 “Arts and Innovation” address,
Australia Council CEO Kathy Keely claimed “creativity and innovation … are the
cornerstones of the arts” and identified “collaborative, cross‑disciplinary practice” as
leading the way in this arena. CAKI (the Danish Centre for Applied Artistic Innovation)
elaborates on this this idea of cross‑disciplinary connections seeding innovation as a
catalyst for change:

Artistic innovation [is] activities and processes that create new knowledge in the form of
new methods and/or new products. By using this new knowledge … a real added value is
generated …. The artist’s ability to treat and thematise complex challenges, to accept and
study ambiguity, values and conflict, places artistic innovation in an important position
as catalyst for societal processes of change. (CAKI Website)

A further dilemma surrounding definitions of innovation is that the term is frequently


conflated with those of “invention” and “creativity”. In everyday usage these terms are
often employed interchangeably. However research reveals that since economist Joseph
Schumpeter placed innovation as a central notion in his work (1934), a distinction has
been made between the invention of something new and its realisation and application
through the process of innovation. Scott Anthony continues:

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It is always important to separate creativity and invention from innovation. There is a


popular conception that innovation is all about a creative idea. Creativity is a piece in the
innovation puzzle, for sure. And creativity, of course, can help the innovation process. But
innovation is a process that combines discovering an opportunity, blueprinting an idea
to seize that opportunity, and implementing that idea to achieve results. (2012, 17)

Janet Chan and Leon Mann further attempt to disentangle these connected ideas
explaining that “creativity refers to the quality of being innovative in thinking, planning
or doing, whereas innovation refers to the end result of such creative thinking, planning
or doing” (2011, 5). Creativity is seen as “an innate and universal human trait”, whereas
innovation is “a product, a process or a solution that is new, revolutionary or inventive”
(Chan and Mann, 5). Andy Pratt and Paul Jeffcut also summarise some of the ways a
distinction between the two can be made:

Certainly, it is common knowledge that creativity is the “ideas” part of innovation;


innovation usually being characterized as the practice of implementing an idea ….
Others dispensed with creativity altogether replacing it with stages of innovation ….
For others still, creativity is quite different from innovation. Creativity encompasses
new knowledge, whereas innovation may not be creative and can be incremental ….
Despite their differences most points of view acknowledge that context is important for
innovation and creativity. (2009, 4)

2.4.2 Process
But how does innovation happen? As Barker points out, innovation is both a product
and a process (2016, 5). Whilst there is a plethora of literature around innovation models
in the business sector, research in the arts tends to focus on innovative product rather
than analysing the process of innovation. Marian Fitzgibbon, who worked at the Arts
Council in Ireland throughout the 80s and 90s, acknowledges that the “knowledge
deficit” at both policy and regulatory level around the term and process of innovation
means that “determining the relative innovativeness of one company over another”
when allocating arts funding becomes a very subjective enterprise (2001, 2).

One of the leading scholars in the field of innovation, Harvard Business School Professor
Clayton M. Christensen,29 was part of the first wave of researchers to claim that there
was a science to innovation and that it could become a predictable discipline. In his
most recent book on innovation, The Innovator’s DNA co‑authored with Jeff Dyer and
Hal Gregersen (2011), Christensen and his colleagues propose the following stages
of innovation: challenging the status quo, which then sets off subseqent phases of
questioning, observing, idea networking, and experimenting (see Figure 2). This process

29 Christensen became one of the leaders in the field after he proposed the concept of “disruptive innovation” in
his seminal work The Innovator’s Dilemma (1997).

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is then cemented through associational thinking, which Christensen believes is one of


the attributes of a successful innovator. Quoting Steve Jobs who claimed “creativity is
connecting things”, Christensen affirms that associational thinking involves the ability
to make connections between seemingly unconnected ideas (2011, 41). Describing the
dynamics driving associational thinking, he cites three primary strategies: “creating odd
combinations” – putting together “seemingly mismatched ideas to compose surprisingly
successful combinations”; “zooming in and zooming out” – the ability to look at both
the big picture and the finer details simultaneously and synthesise these two views; and
“lego thinking” – developing experience and understanding in a diverse range of fields
and then storing and re‑categorising these into new knowledge or product (2011, 51‑55).

FIGURE 2: Christensen, Dyer and Gregersen’s Innovator’s DNA Model (2011).

Christensen and many contemporary innovation researchers have been influenced by


Graham Wallace’s well‑known 1926 paradigm for the creative process – preparation,
incubation, illumination, verification. This model in turn was inspired by Henri Poincaré’s
research into creative thinking (1913), which pointed to the unconscious workings of
the mind to build valuable combinations of ideas as a key component in this process.
Building upon this research, Wallace proposed that in the preparation stage we immerse
ourselves deeply in the material, defining the problems or challenges, desires, needs,
and gathering information relevant to the task at hand. In the incubation stage, we step
back from the material, its content and problems, and let our unconscious mind work
it through. Like the preparation phase, the incubation stage can last minutes, weeks,
months or even years. It is in this stage that Poincaré’s theory regarding the critical
combination of new and potentially useful ideas takes place and sets off the third
phase. In the illumination stage, ideas form in the conscious mind to produce a creative
response. Unlike the other stages, illumination is often very short, involving a sudden
rush of insights within a few minutes or hours. In the final stage, verification, the quality

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FOUND IN TRANSLATION

and adequacy of the ideas are tested to determine their usefulness, and a process of
refinement is undertaken. Wallace placed a great deal of emphasis on the incubation
stage, advocating stepping away from the problem/material to allow the unconscious
mind to do its work resulting in a superior final product.

More recent writers, including David Kord Murray (2009) and Gijs van Wulfen (2013),
have proposed similar staged models of innovation with a wider focus of application
beyond the field of business to include other contexts including science, sport and the
arts. Citing creative borrowing as a key step in innovation, Murray proposes a six‑step
model which includes: 1) defining, 2) borrowing, 3) combining, 4) incubating, 5) judging
and 6) enhancing. Similarly, in The Innovation Expedition (2013), Van Wulfen cites
five stages: 1) Full Steam Ahead, 2) Observe and Learn, 3) Raise Ideas, 4) Test Ideas, 5)
Homecoming. Some of the consistent prerequisites for the “journey of innovation” that
Van Wulfen identifies, in the various case studies cited, include: preparation, urgency,
courage, passion, employment of new technologies, teamwork, perseverance, an
intimate knowledge of the territory to be traversed, the ability to creatively overcome
obstacles and the willingness to take risks and fail if necessary.

In The Creative Discipline: Mastering the Art of Science and Innovation, Nancy Napier and
Mikael Nilsson develop this notion of innovation “prerequisites” and claim that most
successful organisations have “a disciplined process for creativity and innovation” which
includes “stages or steps that individuals and groups go through to generate creative
ideas and innovative outcomes” (2008, 31). They acknowledge that capturing this
process can be difficult, partially because “the ‘stages’ are wrinkled: they fold back on
themselves and are iterative.” (31) Similarly, Michael Graber observes on the Innovation
Excellence website:

The process of creation is non‑linear, even iterative, insights‑based, and way‑finding, a


process of discovery, not optimization. Sometimes, it can be like playing the children’s
game Chutes and Ladders as the team gains ground, then has to revert back to an earlier
stage in the framework to dig deeper. (6th May, 2016)

For this reason, whilst acknowledging the usefulness of Wallace’s original four‑stage
model, Napier and Nilsson point out that the innovation process is almost never linear.
They go on to map a series of different models including “the star”, “the pyramid”,
“the amoeba” and “the fireworks”, all of which provide a more porous and permeable
process around which ideas can move freely (33). Napier and Nilsson also claim that
“out‑of‑discipline thinking”is an essential ingredient of innovation (29). Out‑of‑discipline
thinking includes thinking in ways that are non‑linear, less traditional and unexpected
and comes about from the cross‑pollination of contributors from diverse backgrounds,
as well as crossing boundaries and disciplines. According to Napier and Nilsson,
out‑of‑discipline thinking manifests in the ideation process in three ways: bridging

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ideas, blending ideas and transferring ideas (29‑30). As a result, innovation is often
a consequence of participants looking outside their normal disciplines for creative
solutions or inspiration. Napier and Nilsson elaborate:

[This is] a complex process that involves coming up with an idea in one field, transferring
it to another, and transforming it into something of value for the new context. [Along
the way] new knowledge and expertise needs to enter the process, often through
collaboration, to develop the idea further and build capabilities. (2008, 65)

They conclude by quoting John Brockman (2003) who claims that “the weaving of ideas
across disciplines is promiscuous and imperative – for creativity and innovation” and
insist that this process will become critical for survival in an increasingly global world (71).

In the recent publication Steal Like an Artist (2012), Austin Kleon is one of the few
practitioners writing about the tenebrous process of artistic innovation from the
subjective position of the artist. Viewing art through a postmodern lens, Kleon begins
with Pablo Picasso’s famous quote “Art is theft” (1). He proceeds to challenge notions of
intellectual property and authorship, quoting innovators from a range of backgrounds
(including music, visual arts, literature, film and sport). Kleon then explores the evolution
of a creative idea and establishes “copying” as a key phase in the development process.
He cites renowned American basketball player Kobe Bryant’s admission: “I have stolen
all of [my famous] moves from all these great players” (in Kleon 2012, 40). Elaborating
further on how this happened, Bryant explains that he initially set out simply to imitate
his heroes’ moves. But because he had a different body type and skill‑set, he inevitably
had to adapt them. Without realising it, he’d created this “own moves.” (in Kleon 2012,
38). Kleon goes on to quote a series of comedians who similarly began by emulating
their idols, only to become famous in their own right for failing to achieve this:

Johnny Carson tried to be Jack Benny but ended up Johnny Carson. David Letterman
tried to copy Johnny Carson but ended up David Letterman. And Conan O’Brien
tried to be David Letterman but ended up Conan O’Brien. In O’Brien’s words, “It is our
failure to become our perceived ideal that ultimately defines us and makes us unique.”
(Kleon  2012, 39‑40)

This process of imitation and adaptation can therefore be seen to be a key step in the
innovation process.

Despite the current postmodern penchant for permissive “theft,” Kleon acknowledges
that some imitation constitutes “bad theft” (see Figure 3). He concludes with the
observation that imitation in and of itself is not enough, but rather it is the process
of transformation and adaptation that comes after imitation (motivated by the artist’s
unique worldview) which ultimately determines artistic innovation.

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To date scant literature is available


that focuses specifically on
innovation processes in the arts.
Further, the role of innovation in
postmodern performance making
and its implications for transcultural
practice has yet to be mapped. The
goal of this practice‑led PhD,
therefore, is to cross‑reference
emergent models of innovation
(largely proposed by the business
sector) with the process Zen Zen Zo
FIGURE 3: Austin Kleon’s Good Theft vs. Bad Theft (2012).
employs when culturally translating
forms and practices from abroad
into the Australian performing arts landscape. This process of associative or
out‑of‑discipline thinking – which combines ideas and methods from three discrete
disciplines (Innovation Research, Intercultural Theory and Translation Studies) – will
be practically applied in relation to the development of In the Company of Shadows
through the three creative practice cycles. To this end I will utilise an innovation model
which synthesises those discussed above (and parallels the Action Research spiral of
observe, reflect, act, evaluate, modify, repeat) to structure the analysis of each creative
practice cycle (see Chapter 4).

The focus of this PhD research investigation is the examination of the Cultural
Translation of ideas, forms and methodologies as they are transposed from one cultural
context to another. For this reason, the study of innovation has been confined to an
analysis of the process of innovation and its relationship to transcultural performance
practice. Therefore the innovation framework will not involve a detailed discussion
of the numerous types of innovation (which include incremental, sustaining, radical,
disruptive, competency‑creating) (Keeley, Walters, Pikkel and Quin 2013). It should also
be noted that whilst innovation is a central part of this research investigation, it is not
the principal focus. Innovation is obviously a complex, evolving, and contested area
which is currently high on arts, business, and political agendas, as is reflected in current
policy debates. It is also constructed discursively differently in these various domains
and this study is alert to those dimensions of innovation. The focus of this investigation,
however, is innovation’s role in the process of Cultural Translation. This PhD also aims to
tease out how contemporary performance practitioners, who operate in a postmodern
context, can engage with cross‑cultural and transcultural arts practice that remains
both innovative and ethically-driven.

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2.5 INTERCULTURALISM
The term Interculturalism is a highly contested one which Patrice Pavis claims originated
in the 1970s (2010, 5). In Women’s Intercultural Performance Joanne Tompkins and Julie
Holledge define it as “the meeting in the moment of performance of two or more cultural
traditions” (2000, 7). Paul Allain and Jen Harvie offer a more expansive definition:

The term ‘interculturalism’ describes interaction which confronts and/or combines the
practices of one culture with those of one or more others. Intercultural theatre and
performance can thus be understood as referring more accurately to hybrid activities
rather than to specific genres of performance. (2006, 164)

In the introduction to one of the first significant books on the subject, Interculturalism
and Performance, Bonnie Marranca points out the breadth of the term’s scope:

What is “interculturalism”? The writings that cluster around the world of this word
alternately address theory, technique, politics, aesthetics, theatrical production, critical
writing. Interculturalism is linked to world view, practice, and theory/criticism (1991, 11).

She goes on to acknowledge that Interculturalism is “rooted more in academic writing


than in the voices or manifestos of artists” unlike in other earlier artistic traditions, such
as Surrealism (11).

Multiple often interchangeable terms have grown up around the prolific discourse
on Interculturalism over the past thirty years, including “cross‑cultural”, “intracultural”,
“multicultural”, “transcultural”, “metacultural” and “postcultural” (Knowles 2004, 4).
Intercultural practice has attracted many performing artists because “it can develop
indigenous practices; it can lead to the creation of hybrid new forms of performance
and expression; and it can help facilitate the understanding of different cultures” (Allain
and Harvie 2006, 164). However, it has also been the focus of heated debate. Framed by
Edward Said’s seminal work Orientalism (1978), the subsequent discourse has explored
the impact of colonialism and the consequences of globalisation and drawn attention
to the fact that no exchange or borrowing takes place in a politically neutral context.
The flow of culture has more often than not extended from Asian, African or third world
cultures into the work of Western or first world cultures. As such it has attracted intense
criticism by writers such as Rustom Bharucha who point out the inequality in the
exchange of power and privilege. Further, because Intercultural performance deals with
cultural representation, productions such as Peter Brook’s Mahabharata and Arianne
Mnouchkine’s Shakespeare Cycle drew sharp criticism in the 80s and 90s for supposedly
denigrating the source cultures they had “borrowed” from by misunderstanding,
trivialising and stereotyping them (Bharucha 1985; 1990). Similarly, Daryl Chin claims
in “Interculturalism, Postmodernism, Pluralism” that Intercultural theatre practice is a

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debased form of Imperialism (1991, 94) and Una Chaudhuri, in her article “The Future
of the Hyphen”, went so far as to call it “cultural rape” (1991, 193).

However in recent years, with the increasing mobilisation of cultures across borders
and the acknowledgement that cultural transfer extends in both directions, critics
are discussing the need for new paradigms in the field of Interculturalism. Erica
Fischer‑Lichte, prolific in her writings in this area, eschews the term “intercultural” and
instead prefers “interweaving cultures in performance” (2010, 15). She claims the term
“intercultural theatre” is problematic because it presupposes the ability to bracket off
the cultural origins of what is “ours” and what is “theirs”. She says:

This implies the notion that a culture is essentially monadic and self‑contained. However,
processes of exchange between cultures have been going on at least since the onset of
modernity and, as a result, cultures permanently undergo change and transition. This
situation renders any attempt to draw a clear line between ‘ours’ and ‘theirs’ futile. Yet, this
is not to say that differences between cultures do not exist. The differences are simply
not fixed and given once and for all; they are permanently generated anew. (2010, 14‑15)

Fischer‑Lichte goes on to explore this idea in greater depth in her introduction to


the recent Interweaving Performance Cultures: Beyond Postcolonialism” (2014) which
challenges “the dichotomy between ‘the West and the rest’ – where Western cultures
are ‘universal’ and non‑Western cultures are ‘particular’ – as well as ideas of national
culture and cultural ownership.” (2014, iii)

Patrice Pavis has also argued for a rethinking of Intercultural Theatre today. He states:

We have come a long way from the ‘classical’ interculturalism of the 1980s. We no longer
believe in an authentic national identity, in a culture which would belong to a single
nation of people, which would be embodied by an organic Intellectual who would speak
in its name. We now have to conceptualize national or cultural belonging differently,
we have to reveal its inconsistency, its myth, its mystification. In short, we have to water
down our country wine and our ‘us us us’ culture with some postmodern or relativistic
water. (2010, 14)

He concludes by claiming that if intercultural theatre wants to have a future, it “will have
to recover, or even discover, its sense of humour; that it will have to learn not to take
itself too seriously, to be able to laugh about itself, about its limitations and its failures,
its future and its origins, however sacred they might be” (2010, 14‑15). Interestingly,
before his death Said wrote an updated preface for the latest edition of Orientalism in
which he (to the surprise of many) argued for reclaiming the “humanist project”:

My idea in Orientalism is to use humanist critique to open up the fields of struggle, to


introduce a longer sequence of thought and analysis to replace the short bursts of
polemical, thought‑stopping fury that so imprison us in labels and antagonistic debate
whose goal is belligerent collective identity rather than understanding and intellectual

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exchange. I have called what I try to do ‘humanism’, a word I continue to use stubbornly
despite the scornful dismissal of the term by sophisticated post‑modern critics. (2003, xvii)

However the literature on Interculturalism in recent years has been contested and
extended by scholars working in the Australasian and Pacific arenas, including Alison
Richards, Helen Gilbert, Jacqueline Lo, Peter Eckersall, Rachel Fensham, Edward Scheer,
Helena Grehan, Bree Hadley, Joanne Tompkins and Julie Holledge. Gilbert and Lo’s
Performance and Cosmopolitics: Cross‑cultural Transactions in Australasia (2007) dissects
intercultural theatre practice against the prevailing historical, political and cultural
trend to make Australia part of what they call the “Asian Turn”. Arguing that this has
played a crucial role in Australia’s “post‑colonial identity formation in the last fifty years”
(83), Gilbert and Lo conclude that:

While there is some evidence to support a reading of this process as a form of neo‑orientalist
cosmopolitanism, we contend that Asianization, like indigenization, is a multifaceted and
dynamic process that presents opportunities for exploitation and commoditization as
well as prospects for mutually productive and sustained cross‑cultural engagement. (82)

Two other edited collections pose a range of views on the challenges and benefits of
intercultural praxis in the Asia‑Pacific region in recent years, including Alternatives:
Debating Theatre Culture in the Age of Confusion (2004) and Dis/Orientations: Cultural Praxis
in Theatre in Asia, Pacific, Australia (1999). The former collection was initiated out of the
three‑year collaboration between two theatre companies, Melbourne‑based Not Yet It’s
Difficult (NYID) and Gekidan Kaitaisha from Japan and aimed to investigate “questions
of language, bodies, identities, globalization” (Eckersall 2001). This cross‑cultural project,
and the subsequent theory and scholarly writing that was born from it, focused on
providing “an alternative to the more commonplace European‑American performance
studies nexus” (Eckersall, Uchino and Moriyama 11) and offered an opportunity “to rethink
assumptions about cross‑cultural (art) exchanges between Australia and Japan.” (Sone
151) Similarly, Eckersall and Fensham’s goal is to displace dominant modes of intercultural
theatre‑making that aim to synthesise practices from different cultural contexts (such as
Brook, Barba, Schechner) by drawing on the idea of “disorientation”. They advocate for “a
model of engagement between cultures that seeks to unsettle, destabilize, and hybridize,
without seeking a common ground, a shared essential humanity.” (Maxwell 2000, 96)

In her recent publication, Embodying Transformation: Transcultural Performance,


Maryrose Casey acknowledges that these alternative models of engagement are
becoming increasingly apparent:

Over the past few years, examinations of the multilayered exchanges, opportunities
and affects embodied in transcultural performance events have opened up a new and
exciting field within performance studies and related interdisciplinary areas of research.
These new studies challenge past assumptions about the directional flows of cultural

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exchange and influences and reveal new and deeper understandings of cross‑cultural
and intercultural dynamics through the transformations of performance. (2015, ix)

This PhD research investigation will extend these recent more regionalised attempts to
rethink the theories underpinning intercultural performance practice, offering insights
gained from my position as both scholar and practitioner engaged in a long‑term
transcultural project with Dairakudakan. Through the deployment of Cultural
Translation, this doctoral project also aims to provide another alternative model for
framing and discussing intercultural and cross‑cultural performance practice to meet
the need for new paradigms in this increasingly transcultural era.

As part of this rethinking and reframing process, an understanding of the core terms
(sometimes used interchangeably) in intercultural practice is imperative. This study has
laregly adopted Niccolò Porzio di Camporotondo’s definitions:

Multicultural refers to a society that contains several cultural or ethnic groups. People
live alongside one another, but each cultural group does not necessarily have engaging
interactions with each other.

Cross‑Cultural deals with the comparison of different cultures. In cross‑cultural


communication, differences are understood and acknowledged, and can bring about
individual change, but not collective transformations. In cross‑cultural societies, one
culture is often considered “the norm” and all other cultures are compared or contrasted
to the dominant culture.

Transcultural30 describes communities in which there is a deep understanding and respect


for all cultures. Transcultural communication focuses on the mutual exchange of ideas and
cultural norms and the development of deep relationships. In a transcultural society, no
one is left unchanged because everyone learns from one another and grows together.

(Camporotondo 2015; Spring Institute Webpage)

30 In his definition Camporotondo uses “Intercultural” intead of “Transcultural”, as his model emerges largely out of
Communication Studies. However, I am proposing this as the definition for “Transcultural”, in part because the
term “intercultural” in the context of Theatre and Performance Studies carries all of the problematics inherent in
Interculturalism outlined in 2.5.

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Further, my usage of “cross‑cultural” refers to practices of transfer, where something


encountered in one cultural space is brought into another cultural context, often with
little or no reciprocity between cultures. So in this sense the directional flow of culture
in one‑way. For me the term is “value‑neutral” in the sense that some cross‑cultural
training and performance practices are productive and ethically‑driven and others are
not. “Transcultural” practices, however, are bi‑directional in that they flow both ways,
often over an extended period of time. This allows for a prolonged exchange that in
turn enables deep transformation to take place.

2.5.1 Transculturation
The word “transcultural” has its origin in the concept of “transculturation,” a term coined
by Cuban anthropologist Fernando Ortiz in the 1940s to point to the phenomenon of
merging cultures. However, transculturation does not simply mean the acquisition of
another culture, something which Ortiz refers to as “acculturation” – a term first created
by American anthropologists in 1936 (Taylor 1991, 91). Nor does it mean the elimination
or complete displacement of a previous culture (which Ortiz calls “deculturation”).
Rather, transculturation as Ortiz articulates it is a process that combines these concepts
and results in the creation of a new cultural product (Ortiz 1940/1995, 102‑103).

The concept was picked up and popularised within the Intercultural debate by Carl
Weber in his article “AC/TC: Currents of Theatrical Exchange” (1991). Weber defines
transculturation, and its antithesis acculturation, as follows:

Transculturation could indeed by defined as the deconstruction of a text/code and its


wrenching displacement to a “historically and socially different situation.” Acculturation,
then, would be the inscription of a preserved foreign code in a native structure, which
implies that an ideology is inscribed with it. (35)

Weber elaborates that the oft‑discussed work of Peter Brook and Arianne Mnouchkine
falls into the latter category, displaying the characteristic “appropriation of a foreign
performance code without change, or with merely superficial adjustments” (1991, 34).
By contrast, the process of transculturation, which he ascribes to a variety of practitioners
from Brecht to Kurosawa, involves a “transfer of culture, or intellectual exchange, from
one country or society to another” (1991, 27) and includes a process of reinvention:

Often the foreign text is deconstructed, the resultant findings are then rearranged
according to the codes inscribed in the native culture, and an original performance text
constructed. Eventually, the model “dis‑appears” in a new text or technique, which gains
its own identity of form and of content. (1991, 34)

This process of transculturation has more recently been described by Yolanda Onghena
in her article “Transculturalism and Relational Identity” as giving rise to “new, composite

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and complex [developments which are] no mechanical mixture of characters, nor


mosaic, but instead a new, original and independent phenomenon.” (2008, 183) Diana
Taylor also acknowledges in “Transculturating Transculturation” the complexity of the
process and end product which is “not merely an uneasy fusion of two belief systems
held simultaneously, a ‘mosaic’ [but rather] accounts for the historic specificity and
artistic originality of the new cultural phenomenon.” (1991, 92) She comments that
the final product is both vaguely recognisable and simultaneously deeply foreign in a
juxtaposition that scholars find hard to evaluate (1991, 97).

Taylor goes on to observe that transculturation is a “shifting process” and as such is


constantly in flux and often manifests in a “circulating pattern of cultural transference”
(1991, 93). She elaborates:

Transculturation…does not lock cultures into binaries; it eschews simple oppositions


that characterize much of the discourse on hegemony and counterculture …. It is not
essentially or inherently a resistance theory. It describes a process; it is only partially
defined by the other. Rather than being oppositional or strictly dialectical, it circulates.
(1991, 101).

Indeed, at the end of his article Weber notes that transculturation and acculturation
and are not simply a binary opposition manifested in an either/or context. Often
acculturation is a legitimate part of the journey towards transculturation and Weber
links both to many modern avant‑garde artists who have experimented with creating
new modes of performance out of foreign structures and ideas. He acknowledges
that examples of acculturation that came out of this experimentation, whilst in and
of themselves limited, “often broke the ground from which transculturation would
eventually grow.” (1991, 36)

Using this framework the exegesis will chart the flow of cultural exchange between
Dairakudakan and Zen Zen Zo through the three cycles of practice, and further analyse
the “deconstruction” of ideas and methodologies and the process by which they
“dis‑appear” into the context of Zen Zen Zo’s work. However, if transculturation is the
long‑distance lens through which this PhD is interrogating the cross‑cultural practice
of Zen Zen Zo, a short‑distance lens is still required to understand the detailed workings
of this process of innovation and transcultural flow of praxis. For this reason this
research investigation has borrowed the emergent theoretical framework of Cultural
Translation from the discipline of Translation Studies to propose a best‑practice model
for cross‑cultural and transcultural performance practice.

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2.6 TRANSLATION THEORY


The rubric of Cultural Translation, which is at the heart of this doctoral study, has come
into sharp focus since the Translation Studies journal published a forum on the subject
presented across three volumes between 2009‑2010 (2:2 and 3:1 2009; 3:3 2010). In
response to Boris Buden and Stefan Nowotny’s positioning article “Cultural Translation:
An Introduction to the Problem”, over a dozen authors explore a wide range of topics
including definitions of the emergent term, its historical lineage, its implications to
Translation Studies as a discipline and potential application to wider fields. Some writers
even label Cultural Translation a “Cultural Turn” in the field of interpretive studies, for
reasons which Juliane House summarises as follows:

In recent decades a major shift in translation studies has occurred away from text‑ and
linguistically‑oriented approaches to socially and culturally oriented ones, a concern
with translating as a cultural procedure, touching upon such issues as race, class,
gender, minority status, ideology, ethics and giving them a central place in analyses of
translational phenomena. (2016, 7)

Cultural Translation therefore moves beyond traditional notions of translation and


concerns itself with broader cultural processes rather than finite linguistic products.
The central methodological question then, using the theory previously applied to
language, is “how do we translate culture?”  The answer to this question, which is the
focus of this research project, can be found in the foundational concepts of translation
theory that underpin the burgeoning area of Cultural Translation. This next section
does not attempt to cover the entire history or writings in the now extensive field of
Translation Studies31, but rather focuses in on the key concepts that have influenced
the development of Cultural Translation and subsequently impacted this practice‑led
research project.

2.6.1 Translation Studies


As a significant interdisciplinary area that has provided a powerful conceptual lens
for constructing new knowledge in a wide range of disciplines, Translation Studies
had its birth in the 1960s and ‘70s. The term “Translation Studies” was coined in 1972
by American scholar‑translator James Holmes and picked up and formalised in the
mid‑70s by the Leuven Group. This collection of international academics believed that
the increasingly important act of translation needed to be systematically studied within
the academies and that professional translators required more comprehensive training
to understand the complexities of their trade (Bassnett 2014, 17‑18).

31 For a comprehensive overview of the history and development of Translation Studies and translation theory, see:
Bassnett (2002, 2014); House (2016); Pym (2014); and the 3rd Edition of The Translation Studies Reader (2012).

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From the outset, theorists began to articulate translation as the act whereby a “source”
text from one language and cultural context is transferred with an equal value (or
“equivalence”) into another “target” language and cultural space. Initial debates on the
“equivalence paradigm” pivoted around how to achieve this desired equivalence given
the palpable differences between languages and cultures.

2.6.1.1 Equivalence: Nida and Kade


One of the key contributions to this area was made by the American Bible translator
Eugene Nida who proposed two kinds of equivalence – “formal” and “dynamic”
(1964). Formal equivalence focuses on the faithful replication of the form and content
whereas dynamic equivalence aims to activate the same sense or cultural function.
This distinction between word‑for‑word and sense‑for sense translation, referred to as
the “fidelity versus freedom” argument (Benjamin 1955, 79), has been debated since
the Greeks. However Nida argued for a greater focus on the target audience as the
motivating factor in any given translation:

In his view, translation is first and foremost an act that is directed at certain recipients,
whose different knowledge sets, linguistic‑cultural conventions and expectation norms
need to be taken into account in translation …. It is only when a translated text is adapted
to the needs of the new recipients that it can have the intended effect. (House 2016, 17)

Further, Nida formulated a structural process for translation built on this concept with
three phases – analysis, transfer and reconstruction (see Figure 4). Nida explains the
process as follows: “The translator first analyses the message of the source language
into its simplest and structurally clearest forms, transfers it at this level, and then
restructures it to the level in the receptor language which is most appropriate for the
audience which he intends to reach” (Nida and Taber 1969, 484).

FIGURE 4: Nida’s Model of the Translation Process (adapted from Koller 2011).

Out of Nida’s theories the term “directional equivalence” developed. This refers to an
asymmetric relation between source and target texts which acknowledges that the

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translation of a text one way does not mean that the same equivalence will apply if
the process is reversed. This then opens the way for the notion that the translator has a
choice between “several translation solutions, and that those solutions are not wholly
dictated by the start text.” (Pym 2014, 24). German translation scholar Otto Kade took
this further and proposed four types of equivalence: “one‑to‑one” (where there is an
identical term in both start and target languages); “one‑to‑several” (a word in the source
language has a number of terms that correspond in the target language); “one‑to‑part”
(when only partial equivalents are present, resulting in an “approximate” translation);
and “one‑to‑none” (there is no equivalent in the target language for the term or concept
being translated). (Pym 2014, 29)

2.6.1.2 Domestication vs. Foreignisation: Schleiermacher and Venuti


In this final instance of  “untranslatability,” which will be discussed at length later in this
exegesis, solutions include creating a new term in the target language as an adaptation
of the original; using descriptors to attempt to point to the concept in the target
language; or importing the foreign term as it stands. The German translator Friedrich
Schleiermacher argued for the latter strategy in his 1813 Berlin lecture, Methoden des
Übersetzens (“On the Different Methods of Translation”), where he identified two modes
of translation – “domestication” (verdeutschend) and “foreignisation” (verfremdend).
He famously articulated the two methods in the following way:

Either the translator leaves the author in peace, as much as possible, and moves the reader
towards that author, or the translator leaves the reader in peace, as much as possible, and
moves the author towards the reader (Schleiermacher in Pym 2014, 31).

The first strategy, “domestication”, attempts to make the source text feel as though it is
written in the receiving language, an undertaking which Schleiermarcher felt equated
to mere “imitation” or paraphrasing. Whereas “foreignisation”, which is Schleiermacher’s
preference, aims to remind the target audience that they are encountering a different
culture, therefore facilitating “an enjoyment of foreign works as unadulterated as
possible.” (1992, 52)

This concept was brought to public attention in the contemporary translation debate
by American translator and theorist Lawrence Venuti (1995) who uses the terms to
define strategies of translation which either erase or highlight the foreign. For Venuti,
whose writings bring the powerful role and agency of the translator into full focus,
it is an ideological choice motivated by the desire to resist the ubiquitous regime of
Anglo‑American easy readability. Further, Venuti claims that translators who employ
the “foreignising” mode are being “resistant,” challenging the hegemony of English
(in particular) and as such provide an important intervention in dominant translation

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practice. For this reason, as Susan Bassnett points out, “Venuti’s distinction between
foreignization and domestication in contexts where power relations are unequal has
been extremely useful as a way of highlighting the importance of translation as an
instrument of cultural exchange.” (2014, 48)

2.6.1.3 The Afterlife: Benjamin


Venuti, however, credits Walter Benjamin’s landmark 1923 essay “The Task of the
Translator” as the origin for this and other key concepts impacting the field today. On the
issue of “foreignisation vs. domestication,” Benjamin argues (quoting Rudolf Pannwitz):

Our translators have a far greater reverence for the usage of their own language than
the spirit of the foreign works …. The basic error of the translator is that he preserves the
state in which his own language happens to be instead of allowing his language to be
powerfully affected by the foreign tongue. (1955, 81)

Another pivotal concept currently at play (and also accredited to Benjamin) is idea
that a translation has a life of its own, and is not simply a slavish replication of the
original text. Benjamin poetically conceived of this relationship as the translation
being an “afterlife” of the original text (1955, 72). He claims that the act of translation
is one in which the translator actively assembles the fragments of text and meaning
to reconstruct something that signals the original. He views this as a heroic act that
ensures the text’s continuation in another time and place.

The consequence of this radical idea led to two further concepts that have hugely
impacted current translation studies debates: 1) the role played by the translator
(someone whom Benjamin argued was not just a hack but an artist in their own right
generating something entirely new); and 2) the idea that translation is a process of
interpretation and adaptation, rather than simply a substitution of words from one
language to another. Benjamin firmly posits:

No translation would be possible if in its ultimate essence it strove for likeness to the
original. For in its afterlife – which could not be called that if it were not a transformation
and a renewal of something living – the original undergoes a change. (1955, 73)

Both ideas have been extensively quoted and reformulated by postmodern and
poststructuralist scholars and theorists including Venuti (1995), Jacques Derrida (1985)
and Umberto Eco (2001).

2.6.1.4 Intralingual, Interlingual, Intersemiotic Translation: Jakobson


Another classic essay in the field of Translation Studies is Roman Jakobson’s 1959
“On Linguistic Aspects of Translation.” In it he articulates three different categories of

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translation – “intralingual”, “interlingual” and “intersemiotic”. Intralingual translation


takes place within the same language and can be conceived as a kind of “rewording” or
reshaping of the text. This idea is important because as Bassnett rightly points out, “it
suggests that translation is not only a process that happens across languages, but that
it can also take place within an individual linguistic system” (7). Interlingual translation,
which Jakobson points to as “translation proper” (because it refers to the most common
understanding of the term), is the “interpretation of verbal signs by means of some other
language” (145). Finally, intersemiotic translation is defined as a kind of “transmutation”
whereby verbal signs are interpreted by way of a nonverbal sign system. Jakobson also
claims that this understanding of translation is highly significant because it means that:

All cognitive experience and its classification is conveyable in any existing language.
Whenever there is deficiency, terminology may be qualified and amplified by loan words,
neologisms or semantic shifts, and finally by circumlocutions (145).

Thus Jakobson’s propositions have opened the way for translation to move beyond
the boundaries of written or spoken text and to include multiple genres and forms,
something that will be further addressed later in this exegesis.

2.6.1.5 Skopos Theory: Reiss and Vermeer


One final area of Translation Studies relevant to this research project is Skopos Theory,
which was proposed by Katharina Reiss and Hans Vermeer in 1984. “Skopos” is the
Greek word for “purpose” and refers, according to Vermeer, to the “aim or purpose of
the translation” (2000, 21). He elaborates:

Each text is produced for a given purpose and should serve this purpose. The Skopos
rule thus reads as follows: translate/interpret/speak/write in a way that enables your text/
translation to function in the situation in which it is used and with the people who want
to use it and precisely in the way they want it to function. (1989, 2)

The basic premise then gives much greater freedom to the translator to proceed
with the goal of achieving the communicative purpose rather than just adhering to
a word‑for‑word or sense‑for‑sense translation of the start text. It therefore also does
not dictate how the text should be translated, only that it should adhere to its core
purpose, and allows the translator the right to draw from the target language or culture
to find the appropriate language and form. Susan Bassnett gives the example of a legal
translator working within their niche field:

A legal translator will not even attempt to produce a translation that closely follows the
structures of the source text, but will formulate the target language version according
to the norms of textual construction operating in the language’s legal system (2014, 6).

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This has significant implications, as Bassnett points out, which allow “translators to shake
off old‑fashioned ideas about faithfulness to the original” (2014, 6), as well as employing
alternative forms and genres as needed. Anthony Pym notes that the “purpose” or
“intended function” of the translation can be determined either by the translator or the
person requesting the translation, leaving it remarkably open to interpretation. In his
opinion, therefore, Skopos theories signal a paradigm shift in more traditional Translation
Studies as they “invite the translator to look in a new direction.” (2014, 44)

Over the past two decades, these key ideas and theories have became the foundation
for the emergence of a new subset of Translation Studies which has come to be known
as Cultural Translation.

2.6.2 Cultural Translation


Cultural Translation evolved out of a cross‑fertilisation of other disciplines, and currently
sits in an interdisciplinary, hybrid and dialogic theoretical space. As Pym observes:

Cultural translation can draw on several wide notions of translation, particularly as


developed in 1) social anthropology, where the task of the ethnographer is to describe the
foreign culture, 2) actor‑network theory (“translation sociology”), where the interactions
that form networks are seen as translations, and 3) sociologies that study communications
between groups in complex, fragmented societies, particularly shaped by migration. The
paradigm thus helps us think about a globalizing world in which “start” and “target” sides
are neither stable nor entirely separate. (2014, 138)

Etymologically “translation” refers to “the act of moving or carrying across from one place
or position to another” (Buden and Nowotny 2009, 196). By extension Cultural Translation
can be defined in its broadest sense as “the process by which communication occurs
across boundaries” and the means by which “people with different cultural histories
and practices can form patterns of communication and establish lines of contact across
these differences” (Papastergiadis 2000, 127). Therefore it presents itself as a highly
effective framework for articulating cultural practices of transfer and exchange, and
understanding the impact of cross‑cultural mixtures and transnational flows.

2.6.2.1 Homi Bhabha: Cultural Theory


The birth of Cultural Translation is attributed to postcolonial theorist Homi Bhabha (Pym
139) who first discussed it in the chapter “How Newness Enters the World: Postmodern
Space, Postcolonial Time and the Trials of Cultural Translation” (in The Location of
Culture, 1994). Seeing the increased movement of people globally contributing to
a progressively transcultural world, Bhabha acknowledges that the challenges for
contemporary communities include living in a “state of in‑betweeness,” constantly

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negotiating between the familiar and the unfamiliar. Moving away from translation
that involves literary texts as its focus, Bhabha introduces the “metaphor of translation”
which can equally be applied to the movement of people. His specific interest is on
postcolonial migration, but his essay opened up a whole new area of thinking around
the possible ways in which Cultural Translation might be employed.

Typical of the deconstructionist approach to Cultural Translation, Bhabha was influenced


by Walter Benjamin’s famous illustration of the relationship between the “original” text
and the translation using the metaphor of the circle and a tangent. In “The Task of the
Translator,” Benjamin states that translation is like a tangent which only touches the circle
(the original text) at one point, and then continues on its own trajectory (Benjamin 1955,
80‑81). The idea that neither the original text nor the translation is fixed and is constantly
transforming appealed greatly to Bhabha who proposed a “third space,” a space for
hybridity which would overcome the binaries inherent in traditional translation theory,
and provide a place for transgression, subversion and resistance. Bhabha’s imprint on
the field of Cultural Translation, therefore, is substantial. Thanks to him the term has
come to be associated with “material movements, the position of the translator, cultural
hybridity, the crossing of borders, and border zones as a ‘third space’.” (Pym 143)

2.6.2.2 Resistance and Untranslatability


Further, drawing on Benjamin’s concept of “untranslatability” (1923), Bhabha points
to various resistances offered by that which is being translated (whether texts or
people) to the act of translation (1994). This line of thought has been picked up by
a number of theorists since (Iser 1994; Rafael 1993; Robinson 1993; Bery 2009; Sakai
1997). Wolfgang Iser employs “untranslatability” to refer to the manner in which cultural
difference prompts a rethinking and transformation of the target culture as it grapples
with the interaction. Iser observes, “foreign culture is not simply subsumed under one’s
own frame of reference; instead, the very frame is subjected to alterations in order
to accommodate what does not fit” (1994, 5). Vicente Rafael observes another form
of resistance in the translational act, which he terms “Mistranslation”. In this instance
“each group read into the other’s language and behavior possibilities that [which] the
original speakers had not intended or foreseen” (1993, 211). Ashok Bery goes further to
propose that such acts of mistranslation can be intentional as “the culturally translated
are translating even as they are being translated – they are not just being observed,
they are observing.” (2009, 215). In this manner, the translated “modify and adapt the
versions of their translated selves” so that the “version of self being offered…[is] altered,
adapted or resisted in the very process of delivery and reception” (215). Douglas
Robinson, observing the colonising potential of translation, proposes “non‑translation”
in which the goal is to “immerse oneself in a foreign culture without necessarily trying

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to render what you learn into English” (English being representative of the hegemonic
language of the Colonisers). (1993, 21) In all these variations around the theme of
translational resistance, the key concept is that the translated has an agency in the
process that is often overlooked. Bery calls for a greater attention on the “addressee” to
help counter the predominant “implication that the translated might be passive, mere
clay in the hands of the translators.” (214)

2.6.2.3 Translator’s Visibility


The acknowledgement of the integral (and powerful) role of the translator is also
part of Benjamin and Bhabha’s legacy. Bhabha’s reference to the cultural hybridity of
the translator, situated in the borders between cultures as the one who “knows both
codes” (in Pratt 2010, 96), has since spawned a plethora or writing around this topic.
The growing awareness and appreciation of the craft of the translator, who knows (at
least) two languages and by extension two (or more) cultures, has led to a reevaluation
of the translator’s role and status. Juliane House observes that good translation is
impossible without the translator being versed in both the language and the culture
in which it is embedded:

Linguistic units can never be fully understood in isolation from the particular cultural
phenomena for which they are symbols. The Japanese key words amae and enryo, for
instance can not be translated unless the relevant cultural features, to which these words
are applied, are taken into account. Only knowledge of these renders translation …
possible. (2016, 49)

This then leads to the idea of the “bi‑lingual” translator by necessity being “bi‑cultural,”
a concept that will be revisited later in relation to this research project. House goes
on to claim that it is only when the translator is lacking the deep knowledge of both
cultures – a knowledge which breeds insight and allows the gaps to be bridged ‑ that
something becomes truly “untranslatable” (49).

The major advocate in the recent push to make the translator more visible has been
Lawrence Venuti. In The Translator’s Invisibility: A History of Translation (1995; 2008),
Venuti opposes the idea of the translator’s job being relegated to a secondary, passive
activity and instead argues for a rethinking of the translator as a creative “author”
(1992; 1995). Further, linking the “transparency” of the translator to the “domestication
vs. foreignisation” debate, Venuti draws attention to the ethnocentric tradition of
praising translators and their translations only if they read fluently, as if they were
written in the receiving culture’s language. The supposed neutrality of the translator
in the act of translation results, as Sakai Naoki observes, in “the translator [being]
someone who cannot say ‘I’.” (2006, 74) Venuti incites the translator to resist what Sakai
calls the “regime of translation” – “an institutionalized assemblage of protocols, rules of

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conduct, canons of accuracy, and ways of viewing” (Sakai, 74) – and own their role as
a contemporary force for innovation. As Susan Bassnett comments (at the end of the
introduction to her recent book Translation):

So great is the role played by translation that it is no longer possible to view the translator
as a lesser figure than any other writer, since the translator is the agent through which
transcultural transmissions are effected. In this, the new Age of Translation, the time has
come to acknowledge and to celebrate the centrality of translation and the translator.
(2014, 15)

The impact of this statement in the context of cross‑cultural and transcultural


performance praxis is significant. It implies that artists translating forms and
methodologies tranfered from other cultural contexts should be equally acknowledged,
and indeed celebrated, in the process.

2.6.2.4 The Poet’s Version


A final significant contribution by Venuti to the emerging field of Cultural Translation,
and one that has been extensively drawn upon in the creative practice of this research
project, is his articulation of the “poet’s version” translation (2011). The concept of the
“poet’s version,” which was influenced by the work of such poet‑translators as T.S. Eliot,
Ezra Pound, John Dryden and Ted Hughes, mixes translation and adaptation. Its goal,
as articulated by the great literary translator Eliot Weinberger, is to capture the spirit of
the original text which can never be literally translated because of its abstract nature:

It is to allow the poem to be heard in the translation language, ideally in many of the same
ways it is heard in the original language .... It means that the primary task of the translator
is not merely to get the dictionary meanings right – which is the easiest part – but rather
to invent a new music for the text in the translation‑language, one that is mandated by
the original thought not a technical replication of the original. (2000, 8)

As a result, the translation is weighted towards the receiving culture and allows for
departures from the original that are done not out of ignorance but out of deep
knowledge of the source culture. The success of this process of innovation, which
according to Venuti “submits the source material to degrees of loss and gain,” must
ultimately be determined by the “impact of the version on the receiving culture”
(2011, 230‑231). Venuti claims that the “poet’s version” requires a complex process of
deconstruction and reconstruction of the source material:

The interpretive force of translation means that the source text is not only decontextualized,
but recontextualized insofar as translating rewrites it in terms that are intelligible and
interesting to receptors, situating it in different patterns of language use, different
cultural values, in different literary traditions and in different social institutions …. When
translated, then, the source text undergoes not only a formal and semantic loss, but also
an exorbitant gain. (236)

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2.6.2.5 Interpretants
The process of recontextualisation, according to Venuti, involves the utilisation of
“interpretants” (2011). Defined by Venuti as linguistic and cultural alternatives employed
by the translator to mediate between source and target language/culture, they provide
a productive strategy when there is no equivalent term/concept in both languages/
cultures. “Interpretants” are a reformulation of Roman Jakobson’s belief that anything
can be translated if one employs “loan words, neologisms or semantic shifts, and …
circumlocutions.” (1959: 234) Venuti identifies two kinds of interpretants available
to the translator – “formal” and “thematic” (2011, 236). The former includes solutions
that involve “semantic correspondence based on philological research or dictionaries,
or a concept of style, a distinctive lexicon and syntax related to a genre or discourse”.
(2011, 236) Thematic interpretants, on the other hand, are codes: “values, beliefs and
representations that may be affiliated to specific social groups and institutions; a
discourse in the sense of a relatively coherent body of concepts, problems and arguments;
or a particular interpretation of source text that has been articulated independently”
(2011, 236). For Venuti, it is the strategic and skillful employment of these interpretants
by the translator that contributes to the “exorbitant gain” in the receiving language and
by its very nature is a process that “demands cultural innovation” (2011, 246).

Don Paterson, a contemporary translator who utilises the “poet’s version” in his work,
explains that a foreign text is open to multiple interpretations and that it is the translator
(or “versioning poet”) who must decide how to reconstruct and recontextualise the text
according to his/her own personal positioning and preferences. He goes on to elucidate
the difference between a more traditional translation and a “poet’s version” as follows:

[A traditional translation] tries to remain true to the original words and their relations, and
its primary aim is usually one of stylistic elegance …. Versions, however, are trying to be
poems in their own right; while they have the original to serve as detailed ground‑plan
and evaluation, they are trying to build themselves a robust home in a new country, in its
vernacular architecture, with local words for its brick and local music for its mortar. (2006, 73)

So for Paterson, the idea of equivalence is not entirely abandoned in the “poet’s version”
but the only “absolute fidelity” is to the “spirit” of the original, reformulated in an entirely
new work by the translator/poet.

This concept of the “poet’s version” appears extremely similar to Carl Weber’s formulation
of transculturation and potentially provides an adjunct and more contemporary
framework to understand the operation of this process of deconstruction/reconstruction.
As Ovidi Carbonell i Cortés observes, whilst transculturation approaches “highlight the
dialogical, cross‑fertilizing nature of cultural interface,” Cultural Translation theories
(following Bhabha) “relocate, articulate and make visible difference; highlight the

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important role and agency of translators (Benjamin, Venuti, Tymoczko); and allow for
the possibility of assertion, resistance or even subversion” (2010, 255).

2.6.2.6 Clifford Geertz: Cultural Anthropology


Whilst Bhabha, and subsequent theorists approaching Cultural Translation from a
postmodern, postcolonial and deconstructionist position (including Venuti), have had
a huge impact on the development of the paradigm, Cultural Translation had its roots
in anthropology. According to Anthony Pym the term was first used by anthropologists
and ethnographers last century as they set out to describe other cultures in their own
language (139). Talad Asad observes in his essay, “The Culture of Cultural Translation in
British Anthropology,” that British anthropologists have referred to their work as a form
of translation since the 1950s. Whilst at times the focus has been on translating verbal
and written texts, more often it has involved the communication of culturally specific
practices, concepts and ways of viewing the world. The work of anthropologist Clifford
Geertz has been especially influential for a number of contemporary theorists working
in the field of Cultural Translation. In his influential 1983 essay, “Found in Translation,”
Geertz acknowledges that whilst we can never “apprehend another people’s or another
period’s imagination neatly, as though it were our own”, he claims this does not mean we
can “never genuinely apprehend it at all” (44). He advocates Cultural Translation as an act
that attempts to comprehend as fully and deeply as possible the radically different terms
of another’s position in the world and to communicate it in a way that does justice to it.
In this manner the translator is irrevocably changed by the encounter and comprehends
the paradoxical process by which “the deeply different can be deeply known without
becoming any less different” (1983, 48). Geertz then, is advocating for communicating
these experiences in a way that Schleiermacher would have described as maintaining
and respecting the structure and nature of the foreign culture that is being translated.

2.6.2.7 Thick Description


As a means of achieving this goal, Geertz proposes a process he refers to as “thick
description”(a term borrowed from Gilbert Ryle, 1971). In his 1973 book The Interpretation
of Cultures, Geertz claims: “Culture is not a power, something to which social events,
behaviours, institutions or processes can be causally attributed; it is a context, something
within which they can be intelligibly – that is, thickly, described” (14). For Geertz, “thick
description,” which aims to capture the complexities of the cultural encounter, is a means
of resisting the reductive tendencies of structuralist anthropology to confine lifeworlds
into binary oppositions and simplistic schemas. Therefore thick description, according
to Translations Studies scholar Theo Hermans, became synonymous with the process of
“patient engagement and interpretive, contextualizing negotiation” (2003, 386) that is

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undertaken by the ethnographer. As Hermans goes on to observe, this sheds light on


both the interpretive and constructionist characteristics inherent in the process:

The point at issue is not whether the ethnographer’s thick description presents an
accurate account of a particular society…but whether it allows us to appreciate both
what is similar and what is different, and in what ways, from what angles, and in what
‘respects’ …. [Thick description] also keeps the universalizing urge of theory in check.
(386)

Privileging the details and “delicacy of its distinctions, not the sweep of its abstractions”
(Geertz 1973, 25), thick description also has the potential to be highly resistant.
Appropriated and rephrased as “thick translation” by Kwame Anthony Appiah (1993),
this paradigm points to the need for social engagement as a prerequisite.

2.6.2.8 Embedded Practice and Deep Hanging Out


Acknowledging the role of physical displacement in his process of fieldwork, Geertz
claimed (emphasis added): “Anthropologists don’t study villages …; they study in
villages” (1973, 22). The importance of being embedded in the culture that one
is undertaking to translate is deemed critical, as is the interaction and extended
communication with the peoples whose culture is the focus of the translation. As Mary
Louise Pratt succinctly observes, “any act of translation arises from a relationship –
an entanglement – that preceded it.” (2010, 96) Towards the end of his career Geertz
coined the term “Deep Hanging Out” to refer to this form of informal, “localized,
long‑term, close‑in, vernacular field research” (1998: 69). William Peterson points out
the critical role of duration in the process in order to avoid “parachute anthropology.”
To gain credibility, Peterson observes, one needs to be “present before, during and
after the ‘main event’.” (2016, 16) To this end, as Pym claims, “the focus is on cultural
processes rather than cultural products” (2014, 139).

The impact of these key concepts of being “embedded” in the culture, “Deep Hanging
Out” and “thick translation,” and their employment as methodologies to conduct this
research project, has been significant. The results of employing these, as an integral
part of the Cultural Translation process, will be discussed at greater length in Chapters
4 and 5.

2.6.2.9 Cultural Translation Overview


In summary, in current literature Cultural Translation is being used to refer to two
different forms of carrying across (from the etymology of “translation”). The first is from
the field of postcolonial literature (following Bhahba) which is discussing “people who
leave their place of origin and enter a new locale, bearing their culture with them,” and

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the second is “working from Clifford Geertz’s (1973) notion of culture as text” (Conway
2012, 265). This PhD will utilise both these angles as the close‑range lens to analyse the
process of transculturation, as mentioned above in 2.5.1, across the three practice cycles.

Finally, this research investigation will also provide an opportunity to record a practical
case study of Cultural Translation in operation. In the Translation Studies forum on
Cultural Translation (2009‑2010), Mary Louise Pratt opens her article by pointing to
the concerning “dearth of examples [in the] growing literature on Cultural Translation”.
(2010, 94) Claiming it is a significant gap which needs to be addressed, she calls for
a greater focus on developing specific case studies that can be “analyzed so as to
demonstrate how that concept actually works, what kind of understanding it enables,
what it misses and obscures.” (2010, 94) Like many of the scholars contributing to
the debate, most of whom acknowledge that Cultural Translation offers promising
insights into “cultural practices of transfer,” Birgit Wagner concludes by observing that
“Cultural Translation is not a democratic value per se, not a process that automatically
leads to preconceived results, but that everything depends on the use you make of
it.” (2010, 97) This practice‑led PhD aims to demonstrate the value of employing
Cultural Translation as a theoretical framework for better understanding innovative
cross‑cultural and transcultural training and performance. Further it aspires to establish
Cultural Translation as a new language and strategy for developing ethically‑driven arts
practice when working across cultures.

PHOTO 25: Training in The Actor’s Dojo. Photos: Simon Woods (2015).

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3. METHODOLOGY
This chapter locates this study within the field of practice‑led research and outlines
the methodological approaches used to conduct the investigation, including modes
of data collection and analysis. It delineates how the study attempts to engage with a
variety of interpretive paradigms in order to weave theory and practice together and
generate new knowledge.

3.1 PRACTICE‑LED RESEARCH


The rise of practice‑led research, which provides a space for artistic work to be the subject
and the method of the research, has significantly changed the landscape of arts and
humanities study over the past three decades. Since Alison Richard’s ground‑breaking
1992 ADSA paper concerning performance as publication and her follow‑up 1996
article “Performance as Research/ Research by means of Performance,” a whole new
paradigm has developed under the umbrella of “Practice‑Led Research.” While the term
has at times been highly contested,32 the definition I will be utilising is visual artist and
academic Carole Gray’s ubiquitous one:

By practice‑led I mean firstly research which is initiated in practice, where questions,


problems, challenges are identified and formed by the needs of practice and practitioners;
and secondly, that the research strategy is carried out through practice, using predominantly
methodologies and specific methods familiar to us as practitioners. (1996, 3)

PHOTO 26: Zen Zen Zo Masterclass (Melbourne Women’s Circus). Photo: Lynne Bradley (2014).

32 For a more detailed overview of the distinctions between “practice‑led”, “practice‑based” and “performance as
research”, see Phillips, Stock and Vincs (2009).

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3. METHODOLOGY

Brad Haseman, who has made a significant contribution to the field, acknowledges the
limitations of more orthodox modes of research for artists and claims that the new cluster
of theories surrounding practice‑led research offers methodologies in generating,
collating and analysing data much more suited to the natural processes of artists (2006,
98). Further, Haseman observes that “practitioner researchers do not merely ‘think’ their
way through or out of a problem, but rather they ‘practice’ to a resolution” (Haseman
2009, 59). For this reason he notes that the starting point for practice‑led inquiry is
often different from more traditional qualitative research investigations:

[M]any practice‑led researchers do not commence a research project with a sense of ‘a


problem’. Indeed they may be lead by what is best described as ‘an enthusiasm of practice’:
something, which may be just becoming possible as new technology or networks allow
(but of which they cannot be certain). Practice‑led researchers construct experimental
starting points from which practice follows. They tend to ‘dive in’, to commence practicing
to see what emerges. (2006, 100‑101)

My starting point for this study was the “enthusiasm of practice” that has sprung from
working with Dairakudakan over the past decade. From this initial inspiration the
research path organically materialised and eventually wound its way towards the
interconnected areas of Cultural Translation and artistic innovation.

As part of the practice‑led research paradigm, Haseman identifies a number of key


research strategies commonly utilised, including “reflective practice, participant
observation, performance ethnography, ethnodrama, biographical/autobiographical/
narrative inquiry, and the inquiry cycle from action research.” (104) Leah Mercer and
Julie Robson observe that many methods may be deployed within the one project,
some of which are likely to be part of the artist’s pre‑existing practice, whilst others
can develop in response to the specific needs of the project (2012, 14). In this sense,
practice‑led methodologies are often hybridised, multimodal and in flux.

Positioned as a practice‑led researcher, therefore, I set out three years ago to “repurpose”
my creative tools as an artist and work with a hybrid research methodology which
would create a fertile and “familiar habitat” (Haseman and Mafe 2009, 215) within which
to grow the research investigation.

3.1.1 Praxis
The relationship between theory and practice in this practice‑led research PhD
operates in such a way that it is best described by the term “praxis”. Dating back to
the ancient Greeks, praxis was defined in relation to action brought about by practical
knowledge. More recently the term has been deployed by cultural theory and refers
to a hybrid third space between research and practice. Paulo Freire (1970) contributes

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to an understanding of praxis as “the authentic union of action and reflection” (1970,


48), which he claims results in sparking critical consciousness. Christopher McCullough
observes the cyclical nature of praxis, whereby participants move through thought
to action and on to reflection, enabling change and transformation (McCullough
1998, 5‑6). In this manner praxis becomes an ongoing, open, transformative mode of
operating that requires a different set of guiding principles to that of more traditional
research or practice modes. Kathleen Nolan confirms:

The concept of praxis acknowledges that the ground between theory and practice,
between thought and action, between how we think about what we want to achieve
(the ends) and how we might achieve that (the means) is always, and only, on shifting
ground. Praxis seeks to create not a contentious dichotomy between theory and practice
but instead a dialogic, dialectic relationship that highlights a continual interplay between
them. (2009, 1)

Patti Lather (1991) has identified that in order for this to happen reciprocity must be an
inherent part of the praxis. She claims that reciprocity, reflexivity and interactivity are
all essential ingredients to the research process and as such the participants “must be
involved in the negotiation of meaning in the data, in the reflection on its significance in
their lives, and in the dialogic construction of theory to reflect the practical” (in Nolan 2).
Accordingly, this practice‑led research investigation actively included the members of
the cast and creative team in the creative practice cycles so that the research functioned
dialectically, reflexively and proactively. For this reason, throughout much of chapter 4,
my creative collaborators’ voices have been privileged in the analysis, interpretation
and articulation of the creative practice at the heart of this investigation.

PHOTO 27: Viewpoints Training in The Actor’s Dojo. Photo: Simon Woods (2008).

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3. METHODOLOGY

3.2 RESEARCH STRATEGIES


Zen Zen Zo’s creative process borrows from a number of postmodern techniques, most
notably Viewpoints and Composition, developed by American director Anne Bogart
and the SITI Company. As methods which draw from multiple disciplines and pivot on
montage and fragmentation, their usage often results in performance work which is
dialogic and requires an active audience to interpret it. It is not surprising, therefore, that
as a practice‑led researcher I have been drawn to the “bricoleur” approach, embroidering
a number of methods together to create the weave of my praxis. Denzin and Lincoln,
tracing the history of this approach from Derrida’s writing through a cross‑disciplinary
background of craft, film and visual art, observe:

The researcher, in turn, may be seen as a bricoleur, as a maker of quilts, or, as in film making, a
person who assembles images into montages …. In texts based on metaphors of montage,
quilt making, and jazz improvisation, many different things are going on at the same time –
different voices, different perspectives, points of view, angles of vision (2008, 7‑9).

This approach then allows for multiplicity, complexity and ambiguity to operate
simultaneously in the entwined threads of creative practice and theory. As this project
began to unfold, therefore, I grafted Translation Theory from the field of linguistics
onto the work to elucidate the process of cross‑cultural practice and exchange. The
overarching methodology also drew from Interculturalism and Innovation Research as
theoretical threads. In this sense the PhD sits, like many other QUT Creative Industries
projects, at “the intersection between the emerging field of creative practice‑led
research [and] various disciplines in the Humanities such as cultural studies.” (Yeates
2009, 139) As Helen Yeats points out, the potential for a “reciprocal, transformative
process” between these cross‑disciplines is enormous. (2009, 139)

In order to establish a robust exchange between the interwoven threads of my praxis,


and facilitate an effective process of generating, collating and analysing the data,
I utilised research strategies that flow naturally out of my artistic practice, including
Action Research, Reflective Practice and Collaboration. A brief overview of each
strategy, and its role in this doctoral project, follows.

3.2.1 Action Research


Action Research is defined by social psychologist Kurt Lewin as “an iterative process,
coupling a body of research with its outcome through a spiraling cycle of planning,
action, and fact‑finding” (in Yasuda 2009, 125). In this sense it is an extremely
practical framework for performance practitioners who invariably engage in cycles
of development for each new work that follow this process of observing, reflecting,
acting, evaluating, modifying and repeating (see Figure 5).

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FIGURE 5: Action Research Cycles (based on McNiff and Whitehead 2006).

As Renata Tesch observes, because of the inherently reflexive and cyclical nature of Action
Research, it becomes a “transformative activity” (1990, 66). Philosopher and learning
theorist Donald Schön further points out that the iterative design of Action Research
enables tacit knowledge to emerge and be deeply re‑integrated into the praxis:

[The practitioner can] surface and criticise the tacit understanding that has grown up
around the repetitive experiences of a specialised practice, and can make new sense of
the situations of uncertainty or uniqueness which he may allow himself to experience.
(1983, 61)

Subsequently, this research investigation was designed to take place during three
creative practice cycles between 2014‑2016 (see 4.1 Project Design). These cycles
tracked Zen Zen Zo’s typical process of 1) training and conceptual development, 2) a
creative development, and 3) rehearsals and a performance season. The three cycles
therefore culminated in the examinable work, In the Company of Shadows, staged at
The Loft (Brisbane) in April 2016.

As outlined in Chapter 4, the Action Research cycles mirror innovation models which
follow a process of 1) observing and planning, 2) acting and experimenting, 3) reflecting
and evaluating, and 4) modifying and repeating (Van Wulfen 2003; Napier and Nillson
2008; Murray 2009; Dyer, Gregersen and Christensen 2011; Anthony 2012). For this reason,
the findings from the three creative practice cycles in this doctoral project have been
recorded using this structure, which represents an interweaving of the three threads of
Innovation and Action Research with Zen Zen Zo’s normative creative practice model.

3.2.2 Reflective Practice


Structuring the project as an interconnected spiral of training, creation and performance
events enabled a deeply reflective practice to occur. Commenting on the definition and
role of reflection for the practitioner, Christopher Johns states:

[Reflection is] being mindful of self, either within or after experience, as if a window
through which the practitioner can view and focus self within the context of a particular
experience, in order to confront, understand and move toward resolving contradiction

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3. METHODOLOGY

between one’s vision and their actual practice. Through the conflict of contradiction,
the commitment to realize one’s vision, and understanding why things are as they are,
the practitioner can gain new insights into self and be empowered to respond more
congruently in future situations within a reflexive spiral towards developing practical
wisdom and realizing one’s vision as a lived reality. (2004, 3)

As outlined in 3.3.1, reflective practice can also enable tacit knowledge to surface, be
processed, and acted upon in subsequent iterations. As a practitioner with almost three
decades of work behind me, the process of articulating the “tacit knowledge” that has
repeatedly been enacted in my artistic and pedagogical practices is key to this study. In
order to capture this I employed Schön’s models of “reflection in action” and “reflection on
action” as expounded in his influential work, The Reflective Practitioner (1983). According
to Schön, reflection‑in‑action takes place within the act of doing and reacting, and it
is predominantly an intuitive and unconscious process. Reflection‑on‑action, however,
takes place after the act to elucidate the experience in a largely cognitive manner that
employs processes of conscious analysis and interpretation (Schön 1983, 49).

PHOTO 28: Lynne Bradley. In the Company of Shadows rehearsals. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

These models of reflective practice mirror methods used throughout my career as both
a director and teacher, and in this sense constitute a “re‑purposing” of existent tools.
Employing both reflection‑in‑action and reflection‑on‑action throughout the three
creative practice cycles, both individually and collectively with my collaborators, also
opened up a space to track the successes and failures of this unfolding project. John
Freeman describes this ruminative process as follows:

An iterative working process, therefore, in which problems are identified and re‑worked
(if not always resolved) is almost always a central part of a practice‑based researcher’s
methodology, insofar as it takes an intrinsically heuristic approach to the value of failures
as well as successes. In this way all work becomes work in progress. (2010: 68)

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By combining the Action Research cycles with reflective practice, a process similar to
Zen Zen Zo’s creative development cycle was established, one which former company
member Jeremy Neideck33 articulates in relation to models of “best practice”:

[They are] laboratories in which to test ideas and conduct performative experiments
that both generate performance material and help to define the emergent performance
practice. It is especially suited as a practice‑led research methodology, as it requires
creative work to be developed over long time‑scales, its structure is modular and iterative,
and periods of reflection and evaluation are inherent in the working process – both on
macro and micro scales. (2016, 21)

3.2.3 Collaboration
This best practice model, which Neideck points out is a common way of working in the
Australian devised and physical theatre contexts, pivots on collaboration. According to
Michael Schrage, “Collaboration is the process of shared creation: two or more individuals
with complementary skills interacting to create a shared understanding that none
had previously possessed or could come to on their own.” (1990, 140) He claims that
collaboration creates a shared meaning about a process, a product, or an event and is
a key factor in true innovation. The key to a successful collaborative process, according
to Schrage, involves a number of essential ingredients including: 1) participants’
competence, 2) a shared goal, 3) mutual respect, tolerance and trust, 4) habitation of a
shared space (such as a rehearsal room), 5) multiple languages to represent the ideas,
6) play, 7) continuous communication, 8) clear lines of responsibility. (1995, 154‑164)

Collaboration, like reflective practice, is also an integral part of devised theatre, which is
often referred to as “collaborative creation,” especially in America (Heddon and Milling
2006, 2). The process of devising, which is a cornerstone of Zen Zen Zo’s creative practice
model, is by its very nature collaborative and inclusive. Alison Oddey observes:

Devised work is a response and a reaction to the playwright‑director relations … and


challenges the prevailing ideology of one person’s text under another person’s direction.
Devised theatre is concerned with the collective creation of art (not the single vision of
the playwright), and it is here that the emphasis has shifted from the writer to the creative
artist. (1994, 4)

33 Jeremy Neideck began studying physical theatre with Zen Zen Zo in 2005 as an undergraduate student at QUT,
and later completed the 6‑month Company Internship in 2008. During his Internship Jeremy was a creative
collaborator and performer in Zeitgeist, and subsequently worked as a teaching‑artist with Zen Zen Zo before
leaving to train and perform with Yumi Umiumare (a former lead dancer with Dairakudakan). Jeremy is now a
performance maker who specialises in transcultural theatre and divides his time between Korea and Australia.
He completed a practice‑led PhD at QUT in 2016 that explored transcultural working environments and the
interweaving of Butoh with the Korean art of p’ansori.

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3. METHODOLOGY

Since returning from America in 1998, where Woods and I studied the Viewpoints and
Composition34 with Anne Bogart and the SITI Company intensively, our process for creation
has been decidedly collaborative. As Bogart points out, the deployment of the Viewpoints
and Composition engenders what she refers to as “an active culture.” Developed by
Grotowski, Bogart explains “active culture [is] shared participation in the creative process
by everyone present” (2014, 107). Bogart utilises this concept to ensure that the creative
process is active, rather than passive. A passive process, for Bogart, involves collaborative
endeavor which suffers from “the disease of agreement” (2014, 107). To avoid this, the SITI
company actors and creative collaborators are expected to participate in initiative‑driven
activities that involve them making decisions without waiting for the director to “tell them
what to do” or think (Bogart 2014, 107). Bogart concludes a chapter on “Collaboration” in
her recent book, What’s the Story (2014), by outlining the “ground rules”:

Collaboration requires generosity, openness, a sense of adventure, a love of active culture,


tenacity, truth telling, interest in others, decisiveness and willingness, at any moment, to
give up attachment to the final result. (122)

PHOTO 29: Viewpoints Training in The Actor’s Dojo. Aurora Liddle‑Christie, Heidi Harrison,
Billy Steward‑Keed, Jordan Albi. Photo: Simon Woods (2015).

34 Viewpoints is a system for training actors developed by Anne Bogart which provides a shared language for
understanding how the body operates in relation to time and space in performance. Further, it fosters strong
collaborative and improvisational skills which then provide a solid foundation for the practice of Composition.
Composition is an inherently cross‑disciplinary process of devising new work, which borrows from practices
including film, painting and dance. Bogart credits the origins of both the Viewpoints and Composition to the
Judson Church Group, which operated during the 1960s in New York City and is associated with the beginnings
of postmodern performance practice. (Bogart and Landau 2005, 3)

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Functioning as an ensemble for the majority of the company’s working life, Zen Zen
Zo has always employed collaborative tools and strategies, which as Schrage confirms,
“make sure that the whole of the relationship is greater than the sum of the individual’s
expertise.” (1995) At the 2012 Drama Queensland Conference, at which I was a Keynote
Speaker, I outlined the importance of both the Viewpoints and Composition to Zen
Zen Zo’s core practice (see Figure 6), and delineated the role of both reflection and
collaboration as key strategies for our praxis:

Reflection‑in‑action and reflection‑on‑action are both employed as key reflexive


methods in Zen Zen Zo’s performance practice. During Creative Developments we
employ a technique of working “online and offline” borrowed from Sydney‑based
director and dramaturg Francesca Smith.35 Smith stresses the importance of knowing
which mental state you are inhabiting and not confusing the two whilst working. “Online”
for me is equivalent to “the Flow” space, as theorized by Hungarian psychologist Mihály
Csíkszentmihályi (1990), and is the mental state of operation in which: one is performing
an activity at a high level of competence; is completely immersed in the present moment;
is experiencing an energized focus and expansive awareness of everything around
yourself; and feel a high level of enjoyment in the process. “Offline” involves a mental
state more commonly associated with “thinking” (as opposed to “awareness”) and is
characterized by: analytical thought processes; critical appraisal; and reflection on the
past, present and future. In a Zen Zen Zo creation process we typically jump between
the two states in session, demarcated clearly between the “online” activities (such as
Viewpoints improvisations and Compositions), and “offline” debriefs at the conclusion of
each exercise, each day, and each stage of the project. These debriefs are complimented
by more in‑depth reflection sessions using dramaturgical techniques such as Sean
Mee’s “Narrative/Meta‑Narrative” concept and the “5 Spaces” paradigm, and Smith’s “4
Questions”.36 The reflections are then collated collaboratively by the group and edited
to form a working document that acts as a “map” for the developing work. This is then
displayed on the wall in the space in which we are working, along with other key images,
quotes and ideas that have been “discovered” during this phase of collaborative devising.

COMPOSITION FOR ZEN ZEN ZO:


1. Is a way of Writing on our Feet 6. Nurtures creativity by allowing multiple
2. Is a physical mode of Creatively freedoms in the early stages of a work’s
Brainstorming and getting into the development (no prescribed space, time,
Flow space content, casting…)
3. Is a means of unearthing our hidden 7. Is to the Creator (Director, Choreographer,
thoughts and feelings about the topic Writer) what Viewpoints is to the Actor:
a method for practicing our artform.
4. Is a way for us to find the visual/thematic/
physical hooks for each new work 8. Is a method to generate a huge pool
of source material in the Creative
5. Enables the actors to create the Development phase from which we can
majority of the work (as opposed to a select largely high‑quality work to build
director‑driven process) upon in the work’s later development.

FIGURE 6: Zen Zen Zo and Composition (2012 Drama Queensland Conference).

35 This technique was introduced to Zen Zen Zo during a Masterclass in 2008 led by former company member
Shane Jones who had spent time studying with Smith during his two years in the NIDA Directing Program.
36 See 7.8.1 for an applied example of how these dramaturgical techniques function within a Zen Zen Zo creative
process.

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The collaborators involved in the three creative practice cycles of this doctoral project
are all members of the Zen Zen Zo and Dairakudakan companies or long‑term creative
collaborators with whom I have worked on numerous productions and performance
events. To this end we share the same language, techniques, and philosophies which
enabled us throughout this project to effectively navigate the “messy” territory of both
open work and practice‑led research. As Brad Haseman and Dan Mafe acknowledge:

Practice‑led research, particularly for the creative practice‑led researcher, is unruly,


ambiguous and marked by extremes of interpretative anxiety for the reflexive researcher.
It is this way because it is deeply emergent in nature and the need to tolerate the ambiguity
and make it sensible through heightened reflexivity is part of what it is to be a successful
practice‑led researcher in the creative arts. (2009, 220)

The ability to sit with this ambiguity and participate in collaborative reflexivity around
the project’s focus were skills that this group of artists have practiced working with Zen
Zen Zo and other contemporary performance companies. Further, as outlined in 4.3.1.2,
the collaborators invited to be part of this research investigation were selected because
they possess both the “characteristics of innovators” (Van Wulfen 2013) and “transcultural
competencies” (Slimbach 2005). For this reason, the collaborators’ accounts became a
key method for data collection during the emerging investigation (see 3.4.3).

3.3 DATA COLLECTION METHODS


In order to map the Cultural Translation process of Maro’s Method over the three
creative practice cycles, a series of data‑collection methods were used. These included:
1) semi‑structured interviews, 2) an Artist’s Journal, 3) the collaborators’ accounts, and
4) videos and photographs. All these methods comprise a “re‑purposing” of techniques
already employed to develop and execute Zen Zen Zo’s creative practice, and as such
their inclusion created a fertile and “familiar habitat” (Haseman and Mafe 2009, 215) for
the ensuing research investigation.

3.3.1 Semi‑Structured Interviews


The first method, semi‑structured interviews, was employed to collect data from key
participants in the project (including Maro Akaji and the core creative team members),
as well as other practitioners involved in cross‑cultural or transcultural performance
practice in Australia (such as Jeremy Neideck, Steph Kehoe and Helen Smith). Tom
Wengraf reflects on the parameters of a semi‑structured interview:

[It should be] designed to have a number of interview questions prepared in advance
but such prepared questions are designed to be sufficiently open that the subsequent

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questions of the interviewer cannot be planned in advance but must be improvised in a


careful and theorized way. (2004, 5)

Indeed, in the initial interview with Maro Akaji, which was part of the first cycle of practice
in 2014, a number of the planned questions were either cut or needed reframing as a
result of unexpected circumstances. These included: time constraints towards the end
of the interview created by lengthy answers to the early questions; a lack of interest
by Maro in some areas of inquiry; and the realisation in the first twenty minutes of the
interview that I had made an incorrect assumption around one key area of inquiry which
made later questions irrelevant.37 This incident, however, points to the importance of
interviews as a means of data collection. Direct and immediate communication with
the source of key concepts allows the researcher to clarify and modify their theoretical
frameworks accordingly. Christel Hopf claims that this is achieved by deep listening
and allowing the interviewee to guide the direction of the interview. She observes,
“the role of the interviewer is to listen and only follow up with clarifying questions as
needed, but not to lead the interview.” (2004, 208)

As this PhD project was interrogating Cultural Translation, the importance of finding a
suitable interpreter for the interview with Maro was paramount. It required sourcing
someone who was not only fluent in both English and Japanese, but had a specific
knowledge of Butoh, Dairaudakan and Japanese culture. Andrew Gebert, an American
who has lived in Japan for two decades and who had a prior relationship with Dairakudakan
as a translator and interpreter, was eventually selected. Gebert proved to be a highly
skilled cultural translator during this interview, and subsequently demonstrated many
of the guiding principles outlined in Chapter 5 (Findings and Conclusions).

PHOTO 30: Bill Haycock Interview with Lynne Bradley. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

37 This involved the belief that Jung’s Shadow Archetype and the unconscious world in which Miburi movement is
sourced were intimately connected.

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3. METHODOLOGY

3.3.2 Artist’s Journal


The second method, an Artist’s Journal, is another creative tool that I have utilised in my
practice as a director for several decades. J. Amos Hatch comments that, in the context
of practice‑led research, an Artist’s Journal can operate as “a record of the affective
experience of doing a study [where] researchers can openly reflect on what is happening
during the research experience.” (2002, 87‑88) In this sense, for this research investigation
it provided a useful space to record key information, personal reflections, significant
insights, and pivotal events during the three years of this doctoral study. In this manner,
it became a critical means of informing “the mapping of self and research”, a process
which Eugen Bacon (2014) outlines as follows:

Journaling gives me a portrait by kick‑starting the analytical gaze at self and process. The
portrait is a reflection of the self and the evolving self, as I invent and re‑invent myself. It is a
placebo for the writing process, tricking me through false starts into creating. It costumes
the research so that … I am not facing the blank screen. It is a control … reminding me that
writing is process and product; it is the gauge of
‘how are we feeling today?’ What progress have
we made so far? Journaling is a manageable
capture of the contextual experience.

In addition to this self‑reflexive function, the


Artist’s Journal can also provide a space to capture
the “artist’s voice.” In her article “The Voices of the
Exegesis: Composing the Speech Genres of the
Practitioner‑Researcher into a Connective Thesis,”
Jillian Hamilton outlines one of the core dilemmas
of the practice‑led researcher who is required to
reconcile the “multi‑perspectival subject positions”
of the objective academic and the subjective artist.
PHOTO 31: Artist’s Journal.
She observes: Photo: Lynne Bradley (2016).

It requires the author to negotiate a range of writing styles and speech genres – from the
formal, polemical style of the theorist to the personal, questioning and emotive voice of
reflexivity. Moreover, these multi‑variant orientations, subject positions, styles and voices
must be integrated into a unified and coherent text. (2014, 369)

By employing an Artist’s Journal to capture this more informal, emotive and subjective
voice, I have been able to compose a multi‑perspectival text that attempts to “reconcile
the divergent subject positions of the practitioner researcher” (Hamilton 2014, 369).
To denote this shift in subject position, I have used a change in font from “Myriad Pro”
to a more informal use of “Cordin Condensed” to record entries from my Artist’s Journal
throughout the exegesis.

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3.3.3 Collaborators’ Accounts


The third method of data collection involved the production and collation of a series
of collaborators’ accounts of the unfolding project during the second and third
creative practice cycles in which they were involved. Given the highly collaborative
nature of the project, facilitating a way of recording and utilising their opinions and
reflections became a top priority for me in this practice‑led inquiry. Further, it ensured
that multiple perspectives were being integrated into the research which, as Joseph
A. Maxwell observes, “reduces the risk that your conclusions will reflect only the
systematic biases or limitations of a specific source or method” (2005, 93). This data
was captured in a range of ways, including audio‑recorded roundtable discussions
(in which the collaborators discussed critical issues related to the project); written
surveys (generated at key milestones during the process); and exit interviews (after
the completion of the production). The collaborators were given specific questions as
a starting point, but encouraged to report in a way that suited their own modes of
self‑expression. This meant that some of the data is presented by way of drawings (by
designer Bill Haycock – see Figure 7) and performance poetry (by writer Scott Wings).
These supplement the more formal reporting techniques used in this doctoral project.
In this sense, the collaborators’ accounts can be viewed as a less traditional mode of
collecting data designed to provide a record of the messy, dynamic and collaborative
aspect of the creative endeavor (Haseman and Mafe 2009, 211).

PHOTO 32: Roundtable Discussion. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

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3. METHODOLOGY

FIGURE 7: Bill Haycock’s Costume Design for In the Company of Shadows (2016)

3.3.4 Videos and Photographs


Finally, the digital technologies of video and photography were employed throughout to
provide an aide‑mémoire with which to reflect on the practice, both for the collaborators
during the creative practice cycles and for the examiners at the conclusion of this doctoral
project. Again, video and photography are essential tools in Zen Zen Zo’s physically
and visually‑driven creative practice, and therefore this data also acted as a catalyst for
reflection‑on‑action by providing documentation of the unfolding visual and physical
scores of the work. The photographic stills have also been used to create a visual account
of the third creative practice cycle and are embedded throughout this written exegesis.
This represents another attempt to create a multi‑modal, multi‑perspectival document
that captures the voices of both practitioner and researcher and integrates them in “a
unified and coherent text” which is nonetheless dialogic in nature (Hamilton 2014, 388).

PHOTO 33: Simon Woods. Photo: Self Portrait (2015).

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3.4 DATA ANALYSIS METHODS


As the qualitative data was collected, various techniques were employed to identify,
categorise and interpret emergent themes and trends. Data from the interviews,
observation, discussions, reflective practice and creative practice was collated and
categorised in part using the NVivo software. This facilitated the analysis of the written
and audio material by identifying trends through key word searches. Themes that
emerged from the data analysis included: transcultural/cross‑cultural/intercultural;
transculturation vs. acculturation; innovation vs. imitation; linguistic translation –
equivalence and untranslatabilty; Cultural Translation and anthropology; Cultural
Translation and cultural theory; Poet’s Version translation; Butoh and Japanese culture;
and Butoh, Dreams and Surrealism. The data analysis then utilised Anne Galleta’s
three‑part model of analysis, synthesis and movement towards conceptualizing
meaning (see Figure 8).

FIGURE 8: Anne Galletta’s Interpretative Activities Model (2013, 151).

Graphs and visual representations of the collated data were then utilised to assist in the
synthesis and analysis of the emergent theory and practice throughout the research
project. As Galletta points out:

Drawing pictures, or graphic renditions, helps you work toward conceptualizing


relationships and meaning across key analytical themes …. Through the use of
diagramming and drawing charts, you can document and explore connections, questions,

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3. METHODOLOGY

partial leads, dead ends, and potential advances, working towards a good interpretive fit
across thematic categories. (2013, 151)

The methodology outlined in this chapter identifies practice‑led research underpinned


by Action Research, Reflective Practice and Collaboration as the primary research
strategies for this doctoral project. It also details the use of semi‑structured interviews,
an Artist’s Journal, collaborators’ accounts and video and photography as methods
employed to generate, collect and analyse data. Additional data collection, synthesis
and analysis tools have also been discussed. As methods used in my creative practice
over the past two decades, they all constitute a “re‑purposing” of existent tools to
conduct this practice‑led research investigation.

3.5 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS


This research project has been assessed as containing low risk to human participants.
Research activities included gathering qualitative data from semi‑structured interviews,
roundtable discussions and written surveys with the creative collaborators, which
required low‑level ethical clearance. The project subsequently was granted QUT ethics
approval (Approval Number: 1400000497).

PHOTO 34: Amadeus (Hong Kong). Erica Brennan, Cloe Fung, Jess Samin, Rian Howlett, Laura Dean. Photo:
Simon Woods (2009).
Waterwall (Creative Generations). Krystal Hart. Photo: Simon Woods (2010).
Medea: The River Runs Backwards. Lauren Jackson. Photo: Chris Marr (2013).
1001 Nights (QTC/Zen Zen Zo). Tina Torabi, Dan Crestani, Steven Rooke. Photo: Justine Walpole (2013).

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4. CREATIVE PRACTICE
How can Cultural Translation theory be utilised by
performance practitioners to articulate and implement
transcultural practice that remains both innovative and
ethically‑driven?

This research investigation unpacked this question through three


interconnected creative practice cycles as articulated below. Each cycle aimed to
uncover a different mode of cross‑cultural practice: 1) training, 2) creative development
and 3) performance, which culminated in the final examinable production. The focus
of the study was on the transposition of Maro’s Method of training and devising Butoh,
as experienced whilst studying and performing with Dairakudakan in Japan, into an
Australian context within the work of Zen Zen Zo.

PHOTO 35: In the Company of Shadows. Jordan Gilmore, Nevin Howell, Gina Limpus, James Kendall.
Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

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4. CREATIVE PRACTICE

This chapter will utilise an innovation model which synthesises those discussed in 2.4.2
and parallels the Action Research spiral of observe, reflect, act, evaluate, modify, repeat to
chart the data collection and analysis in each creative practice cycle:

1. Overview
2. Observation and Learning
3. Experimentation and Synthesis
4. Cycles of Divergent Thinking
5. Convergence

Zen Zen Zo has long followed this model when creating new work, so borrowing
this structure in the written exegesis to chart the practice cycles again constitutes a
re‑purposing of the artist’s tools:

Creative practitioners can turn to the methods of their practice and re‑purpose them to
create an arsenal of research methods which serve their research needs .... It captures the
nuances and subtleties of their research process and accurately reflects that process to
[the readers]. Above all, it asserts the primacy of practice (Haseman 2009, 59).

This observation accurately reflects the experience of this practice‑led research


investigation as the new knowledge emerged out of the practice over the three‑years
period. The overall analysis reveals a development in the understanding of how best
practice is achieved by using Cultural Translation and expounds working principles as
they manifested themselves in the process.

4.1 PROJECT DESIGN:


CREATIVE PRACTICE CYCLES
The practice component of the PhD was conducted between Japan and Australia in
three cycles from 2014‑2016, and culminated in the examinable work In the Company
of Shadows. Each creative cycle set out to investigate a specific goal in relation to the
Cultural Translation of Maro’s Method, and subsequently provided qualitative data that
was incorporated into the following cycles to inform the development of the emergent
work as an example of transculturation. Figure 9 captures the key dates, locations and
activities involved in the three create practice cycles:

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DATES / TIMES EVENTS LOCATION

CREATIVE PRACTICE CYCLE 1: TRAINING


Dairakudakan’s Summer Camp (Japan) /
Zen Zen Zo’s Actor’s Dojo (Australia)

Tuesday 22 July, 2014 Interview with Maro Akaji Tōkyō, Japan

Saturday 23 July–Sunday 3
Dairakudakan Summer
August, 2014 Hakuba, Japan
Camp Intensive Training
(Daily: 6.30am‑10.30pm)

11 August – 29 September, 2014 Zen Zen Zo’s Actor’s Dojo


Brisbane, Australia
(Mondays: 6‑9pm) Weekly Training

CREATIVE PRACTICE CYCLE 2: DEVISING


Creative Development of In the Company of Shadows

Saturday 1 August‑Sunday 9 Dairakudakan Summer


Hakuba, Japan
August, 2015 Camp Intensive Training

Zen Zen Zo Studio and


August – November 2015: Creative Development of
The Loft, QUT
(Tuesdays 9am‑12pm) In the Company of Shadows
Brisbane, Australia

The Loft, QUT


1 December, 2015 Work in Progress Showing
Brisbane, Australia

CREATIVE PRACTICE CYCLE 3: PERFORMANCE


Rehearsals and Performances of In the Company of Shadows

February – March 2016 Zen Zen Zo Studio,


Part‑Time Rehearsals
(Tuesdays: 9am‑3pm) Brisbane, Australia

28 March – 2 April, 2016 The Loft, QUT


Full‑Time Rehearsals
(Monday‑Friday: 9am‑5pm) Brisbane, Australia

5‑9 April, 2016 The Loft, QUT


Performance Season
(Tuesday‑Saturday: 7‑9pm) Brisbane, Australia

FIGURE 9: Project Design (Three Creative Practice Cycles).

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4. CREATIVE PRACTICE

4.2 CREATIVE PRACTICE CYCLE 1:


BUTOH TRAINING (2014)
4.2.1 Overview
The aim of the first creative practice cycle was three‑fold:

1. To consolidate my knowledge of Maro’s Method of Butoh training through


intensive study with Dairakudakan in Japan.

2. To introduce Australian performing artists (and the future cast of In the


Company of Shadows) to Maro’s Method in the context of the Actor’s Dojo.38

3. To find a way to articulate the process of Cultural Translation that I utilised


to achieve this.

It should be noted that this process of Cultural Translation is one that Zen Zen Zo has
employed for the past two decades to transpose practices from one cultural space to
another. However we have done this in a very fluid and organic way that had grown
spontaneously out of the twin imperatives of desire and need as we worked with a
number of artists across cultures on invited projects or during periods of living and
working abroad, principally in Asia. Bringing to light this tacit knowledge was one of
the initial driving motivators for undertaking a practice‑led research PhD after twenty
years of immersed practice.

PHOTO 36: Hakuba, Japan. Dairakudakan Summer Camp. Photo: Lynne Bradley (2014).

38 The Actor’s Dojo is the name I created for the Zen Zen Zo training room in which the year‑round weekly
classes, open to the general public, take place. The term dojo (道場) refers to the space in Japan where the
psycho‑physical arts are practiced and mastery is attained. Do (道) means The Way and Jo (場) means Place of
Practice. As such, The Actor’s Dojo is in and of itself an example of Cultural Translation.

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The first creative practice cycle was designed to take place as a two‑part process. The
initial stage entailed travelling to Japan in July‑August 2014, to train intensively with
Maro Akaji and Dairakudakan during their annual Summer Camp in Hakuba, during
which time I was also granted an interview with Maro in Tōkyō. The second stage involved
passing Maro’s Method of Butoh training and devising on to artists in the context of Zen
Zen Zo’s weekly training program, The Actor’s Dojo. This took place in Brisbane at the
Judith Wright Centre in weekly sessions over a two‑month period. A number of the
artists involved in these classes were then invited to take part in the second and third
creative practice cycles as the emergent work, In the Company of Shadows, was realised.
These included: Jordan Gilmore, Jennifer Hogan, Nevin Howell, Wayne Jennings, Peter
Kraat, Stuart Nix, Scott Wings and Travis Weiner.

4.2.2 Observation and Learning


Whilst I had undertaken training with Maro and Dairakudakan every year or two since
2007, the 2014 Summer Camp allowed me to actively consolidate my knowledge and
learnings around Maro’s Method. The goal was to cement my understanding of Maro’s
unique mode of training and devising, and the attendant philosophies that underpin
his practice, about which so little has been written in English.

FIGURE 10: Dairakudakan 2014 Summer Camp Staff and Daily Schedule.

Instead of approaching the work as a performer that year, I attended as a practice‑led


researcher. Due to the long‑term collaboration with Dairakudakan I was also granted
certain privileges. These included: permission to interview Maro; travel with the

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4. CREATIVE PRACTICE

company on their private bus from Tōkyō to Hakuba;39 watch and document the
daytime training and rehearsals (instead of participating); join in Maro’s evening classes
in which he taught his method; and act as a translator when the need arose.

This unusual access to the company and inhabitation of multiple “roles” came about
because of a long relationship of “entanglement” between myself and Dairakudakan.
This concept of “entanglement”, which implies deep and complex connectedness,
appears to have emerged out of anthropological and ethnological practice in recent
years. Chelsea Hauge, a self‑titled “feminist ethnographer,” unpacks the idea of
entanglement in Ethnography Matters with reference to her work in Nicaragua:

Certainly, ethnography is always a research practice built upon and muddled by complex
relationships between researcher and research subjects. As researchers interested in the
personal, the everyday, the experiences of folks, and the way events come together and
shift, ethnographers enter into relationships where roles of “researcher” and “subject” are
often unclear, where friendship and research grow from each other and even depend on
each other …. The tangles I have encountered as I [conduct my research] in Nicaragua
are visible to me only because I inhabit both roles, and those tangles are productive,
fascinating, and generative. I have been privileged to engage with a richness that
would have been impossible without ebb and flow between both roles. [Occasionally]
I play multiple and sometimes conflicting roles as researcher, mentor, producer, friend,
programmer, and confidant, among others. And I have found that this conflict can be
incredibly generative. (29th July, 2013)

Similarly, my own experience of being entangled with Dairakudakan over a ten‑year


period, whilst sometimes sticky, has always been generative.

4.2.2.1 Lost in Translation


Nonetheless, in 2014, feeling the weight of my new role as researcher I came armed
with a workbook to take copious notes, an Artist’s Journal to record my reflections, and
a string of questions regarding things I wished to clarify. This more analytical and direct
approach amused Maro and the other Dairakudakan company members, and was not
immediately embraced. From the initial interview with Maro in Tōkyō, and throughout
the subsequent Summer Camp, my questions were often answered indirectly, elusively
or avoided completely. The very first entry in my Artist’s Journal confirms this resistance:

The interview with Maro was fascinating. As always he was referencing ideas drawn
from the cultural history of Japan, anthropology, sociology, science, art … However,
frustratingly, he did not confirm nor deny the connection between Tanizaki’s “shadows”,
Butoh’s “shadows”, Jung’s “shadow archetype” and Miburi. (Artist’s Journal, 23rd July 2014)

39 Hakuba is in the prefecture of Nagano and approximately 4-6 hours by bus/car from Tōkyō. Dairakudakan’s
summer camp is held at a ski lodge and a local public hall which the participants move between during the
three training sessions per day.

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In a later a conversation with Yamamoto Ryo, the current associate producer and a
former dancer with Dairakudakan, regarding why Maro has often been misunderstood
or misrepresented in the American press, she speculated:

Maro never answers in a black and white way. His answers are always grey. They include
both the shadow and the light. They are rich, dense and therefore often ambiguous,
even to Japanese people! It is partly his personality which is like the ocean. Sometimes
he is like a storm at sea – wild and tumultuous; at others he is quiet and still; sometimes
he is like the small waves at the beach – cute and funny; often he is impenetrably deep.
(Artist’s Journal, 26th July 2014)

She went on to acknowledge that Maro’s grey answers were also a playful way of
avoiding hard edged rational definitions of Butoh and its methodology. For Maro, and
the majority of Japanese Butoh practitioners, Butoh is an anti‑rational artform which
defies definition (Baird 2012, 1). As mentioned in the introduction, the first time I met
and interviewed Maro in 1991, upon learning I was writing an Honours thesis, he
provocatively exhorted, “If you write about Butoh you will not graduate because Butoh
cannot be understood intellectually. It is a kind of Inchiki, a trick, a fake!” Throughout
the Summer Camp during his nighttime lectures, he also encouraged a kind of liminal
listening as a mode of absorbing the information. He proposed that we needed to be
in a state of “half awake, half asleep” to understand his lectures, and that if we tried to
think about them too directly and analytically we would be defeated.

Maro’s reticence to provide clear explanations, both to my questions and with regards
to his methodology in the evening classes, can be interpreted in light of the concept of
resistance within Cultural Translation theory as discussed in 2.6. As Ashok Bery observes,
those being translated “are translating even as they are being translated – they are not
just being observed, they are observing.” (2009, 215). They have an agency which, when
activated, can result in them modifying and adapting themselves, their ideas and that
which is being translated. As Bery reminds us, the translated are not “passive, mere
clay in the hands of the translators.” (214) Maro’s unwillingness to comply to my direct
research approach at the start of the first creative practice cycle in 2014 arose from his
opinion that Butoh is a cultural form which he feels is “untranslatable” to a large extent.
In addition, the very direct line of inquiry that I had adopted was in opposition to the
soft communication approach of aimai40 in Japan (see Davies & Ikeno 2002; Hammond
2011). This awareness subsequently prompted me to change both my method of
conducting the research and the mode of translation I was employing.

40 Aimai (曖昧) is a form of ambiguity and indirectness which is “a defining characteristic of the Japanese style of
communication” (Davis and Ikeno 2002, 11).

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4.2.2.2 Found in Translation


After the frustration of the first few days, I also realised that I had been acting like the
“Fieldworker with a capital F” to use anthropologist Mette Bovin’s term – “The White
Man with the Notebook and the Thousand Questions” (1988, 38), or in this case, the
White Woman. Moving forward, I adopted a more indirect method of gathering the
data through the less goal‑oriented process of “Deep Hanging Out”. Prior to 2014
this had always been my mode of interacting with Dairakudakan and I realised that it
had yielded a great deal of knowledge because it operated on the principle of shared
experience. Deep Hanging Out, as discussed in the Contextual Review, is a term coined
by Clifford Geertz that refers to the anthropological method of immersing oneself in
an informal way within a cultural context. As Geertz observes, insights gained from
Deep Hanging Out are often the most poignant because they are emergent and
flow organically out of shared experience. It requires the researcher to be physically
present for extended periods of time and to participate in informal activities with little
or no agenda (Wogan 2004, 130). To this end, I once travelled to Mexico for a week
with Dairakudakan in 2010 at their invitation, ostensibly just to attend the debut of
their latest work, Secrets of Mankind. This and similar non‑agenda driven experiences
provided an excellent opportunity for Deep Hanging Out to take place.

PHOTO 37: Dairakudakan Summer Camp. Photos: Lynne Bradley (2014).

After reverting to this mode of Deep Hanging Out in the first creative practice cycle
in 2014, the data was largely collected from impromptu conversations in informal
surroundings: at meal times (eating on the floor in a large dining room); in the shared
communal baths at night; or in the smoker’s corner which functioned as the proverbial
water cooler where many of the most crucial conversations occurred. Despite being a
non‑smoker, this final location proved a particularly fertile ground for reflection, debate
and (eventually) clarification. An entry in my Artist’s Journal confirms the importance of
Deep Hanging Out to my final understanding of Maro’s Method:

I’m in the smoker’s corner again. I’m engrossed in a long conversation with Maro being
translated at various times by two different bi‑lingual Dairakudakan members who have
both passed through during their breaks. I am grateful the interpreters both still smoke.

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I still cannot get Maro to clarify what he is talking about when he refers to Miburi and
Teburi. This is my third attempt this week and I am aware of Maro’s desire to avoid
any hard and fast definitions and to talk around the subject. I’m remembering Ryo’s
comments about how he likes to confound the Western press by refusing to give black
and white answers in favour of “grey zone” ones that are rich, dense, ambiguous and
include both shadow and light. Is this what he’s doing to me? I think about how ironic
that is given the topic of my study. Then it hits me. I have imposed my own interpretation
on Miburi/Teburi and gotten it wrong! In my desire to align Miburi with Jung’s Shadow
archetype I have become so set in my ideas that I am not listening to the facts. I take
a deep breath and rephrase my question. Maro smiles and answers. 15 minutes later I
am aware that I’m looking at the concept from an entirely different angle now. I feel
simultaneously excited and annoyed at myself. Damn, what does this mean for my thesis?
(Artist’s Journal, 29th  July 2014)

It is also significant to note that at this point in time I still believed the whole training
system was called Miburi/Teburi and it was only later that Yuyama Daiichiro (the foremost
translator with the company) clarified that if it had a name at all, the company simply
referred to it as Maro’s Method. At the time I recalled an almost identical conversation
in 1999 with the former SCOT41 translator, Leon Ingulsrud, who similarly explained
that the Japanese members of Suzuki Tadashi’s company never used the term “The
Suzuki Method” to refer to their practice, but rather just called it “training.” Ingulsrud
claimed that the formal title and structure of The Suzuki Method of Actor Training, as
we understand it today, only arose as a direct result of needing to explain the method
to American actors working with the company in the 1980s (Woods 2006, 198).

PHOTO 38: Maro Akaji teaching at the Dairakudakan Summer Camp (2014).

41 SCOT stands for “The Suzuki Company of Toga,” founded by Suzuki Tadashi and originally located in the village
of Toga, Japan.

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4. CREATIVE PRACTICE

4.2.2.3 Maro’s Method


By the end of the Summer Camp in 2014, after a further period of reflection, I was able
to translate Maro’s Method and its contextualising philosophy (which together form
Temputenshiki), in the following manner:42

Maro conceives of human life as being comprised of two simultaneous dimensions


(see Figure 11, based on Maro’s drawings on the whiteboard during the evening lectures):

1. The upper layer is comprised of our everyday lives, which he associates with
purpose‑driven action and rational thought, as exemplified by our (largely)
daytime jobs, chores and activities.

2. The lower stratum is the anti‑rational, nonsensical space that Maro claims
is connected to the unconscious world and is experienced through dreams,
nightmares, hallucinations, trances, day‑dreaming, and other altered‑state
moments.

FIGURE 11: Maro’s Pictorial Account of the Two Dimensions of Human Life.
Recreated by Drew der Kinderen.

In our 1991 interview Maro touched upon this idea of the two worlds, and the actions/
movement which accompany them, and how this philosophy impacts his methodology
of performance‑making:

There are daily actions such as “smoking”, “pushing buttons”, “reading books”, etc. That’s
action that involves objects and it’s necessary in daily life to survive. However I believe

42 This information was gathered from notes taken in training sessions and personal conversations during the
2014 Summer Camp, and informed by previous training undertaken with Dairakudakan between 2006‑2014. In
some instances (where indicated) the data was recorded in my Artist’s Journal or taken from the Summer Camp
written handouts which had already been translated into English by a variety of Dairakudakan members, which
accounts for the varied degrees of fluency in the translations.

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there is another kind of action or movement which is going on behind or below these
daily‑life ones at the same time. It’s only a slight difference (as thin as a piece of paper)
between them. But they exist together. I wish to salvage the subterranean actions or
movements from this other place and put them into my dance. (8‑9)

Maro’s conception of the world appears to draw from Claude Lévi‑Strauss’ Structural
Anthropology which has been defined as “the search for the underlying patterns of
thought in all forms of human activity” (Donland, 4th November 2009). All cultural
practices have homologous counterparts in other cultures which accounts for why
diverse cultures worldwide share similar myths, according to Lévi-Strauss. For Maro,
national identity is only skin‑deep. Maro claims that labels such as “Australian” or
“Japanese” have only arisen in our relatively recent history, and that if we trace human
ancestry back beyond the modern era all human beings originated from the same
common beginnings. Subsequently, beneath the actions and movement of our current
lives (which he views as a kind of “unreality” or illusion, in a nod to Buddhist notions of
Maya), there is a parallel world of forgotten gestures and actions which Maro attributes
to our ancestors. Finding a way to mediate between these two worlds or realities, in
order to reclaim this forgotten movement (which he calls miburi/teburi) is part of Maro’s
goal and the overarching objective of Temputenshiki. Thus he points to moments of
“opening” or “cracks” which appear suddenly during the course of our everyday lives, as
possible entry points into this rich, subterranean world.

Maro also theorises that since the Industrial Revolution human beings have increasing
lost touch with this subterranean world. Prior to this point in history, when our lives
became dominated by purpose‑driven work and productivity, Maro claims there was a
far greater acknowledgement of the purposeless realm of the unconscious. Maro cites
the fact that it was common practice for indigenous peoples from all over the world to
use these altered‑state experiences as part of their religious rituals. Today, however, our
lives are almost exclusively dedicated to productivity‑oriented, rational and analytic
action and thought processes, and experiences of the unconscious realm are not
deemed “real” or relevant. Children are admonished for day‑dreaming in class, and
recollections of dreams experienced during sleep are given little thought, dismissed
or, at the very least, rarely discussed. For Maro, this relegation of the unconscious,
subterranean world to a footnote in our lives has come at the detriment of human
being’s mental wellbeing. He asserts that human beings over the past two hundred
years have gotten “out of balance” causing an increase in mental‑health issues and a
developing dysfunctionality evident across many facets of contemporary life.

This problem subsequently plays itself out in the current performing arts and cinema,
according to Maro, which he notes are both largely dominated by literal, rational,
pedestrian renderings of life. On the contrary, Maro believes the play space of the artist

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should be the anti‑rational realm of the unconscious, subterranean self and the role
of the performing artist is to capture this experience and put it on the stage. In this
sense he is echoing his own teacher, Butoh founder Hijikata, who resisted the idea that
his dance was “an art of production.” Fraleigh and Nakamura confirm that, “Hijikata
seeks a purposeless use of the body in a society of productivity. He identifies with
homosexuals, festivals, ceremonies, and prisoners because of their lack of purpose in
relation to capitalist productivity.” (2006, 44)

Maro’s Method of training and devising was therefore developed to achieve this goal of
salvaging the forgotten “purposeless movement” from the subterranean, unconscious
realm of our lives. It is based on the three pillars of Miburi/Teburi (purposeless movement),
Igata (mould) and Chūtai (space‑body). The end point of this training is to “capture
the many Miburi alive and construct with them” (2008, 3), by which Maro means he
choreographs by training his dancers to recreate the irrational, involuntary movements
we associate with altered states of consciousness. Maro then weaves these together
to create Dairakudakan’s performances. This act of creation is alluded to as a kind of
“ceremony” or “festival” to celebrate the innate talent of human beings (often overlooked
or forgotten), which is the true meaning of Temputenshiki 43 (Yuyama, 8th April 2016).

PHOTO 39: Summer Camp Stage. Hakuba, Japan. Photo: Lynne Bradley (2007).

43 Yuyama Daiichiro translated Temputenshiki as follows in our interview: “Temputenshinki: ‘tempu’ is a very old
word for talent. Then ‘tenshiki’ is ceremony or festival. So then we’re going to create our dance as a celebration
party for that talent, everybody’s talent. So the audience is going to celebrate by watching our performance. We
are going to celebrate by doing our performance.” (8th April 2016)

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This next section unpacks the “three pillars” of Maro’s Method in more detail:

1. Miburi/Teburi (身振り手振り:“Purposeless Movement”)


The common understanding of the phrase miburi/teburi in Japanese is “body language.”
Maro has appropriated this expression for his own purposes, and now uses it to refer to
largely unconscious movement by the hands and body. Teburi refers to the movement
of our hands as we gesture (sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously) in
everyday life. Miburi (which is Maro’s primary interest) is the irrational or unconscious
movement of the whole body generated or “stolen” from these altered states (dreams,
nightmares, trances, seizures), which originates in the long‑forgotten movement of our
ancestors, according to Maro. In some senses, therefore, miburi/teburi is similar to the
Surrealist’s definition of  “automatism”, which refers to involuntary actions and processes
not under the control of the conscious mind, for example, dreaming, breathing, or a
nervous tic (MOMA 2015, under “Surrealism”).

To create his company’s choreography, Maro records the miburi/teburi movements


his dancers create during training/rehearsals and weaves them together to create the
movement score. At the 2014 Summer Camp he demonstrated the difference between
miburi and teburi as follows:

Maro picked up his coffee mug. He drank from it and then placed it back on the table.
He explained that this constituted teburi movement. Actions with the hands that have
a purpose (i.e. he was thirsty so he raised the mug to his mouth in order to drink).
But if he were to interact with the coffee cup in an anti‑rational, purposeless way,
like a baby or a madman he says, he might do this… At this point, to our surprise, he
suddenly stuck his full fist into the coffee mug, raised it above his head and began
to shake it upside down. Naturally, the coffee sprayed all over him and us, but he
kept exploring the movement (now with his whole body) of “fist‑in‑inverted‑coffee
cup‑over‑head” mischievously. “This is miburi!” he finally exclaimed. Point made.
(Artist’s Journal, 24th July 2014)

Maro speculates that there are regular moments or openings in our waking lives when
this underground reality (associated with miburi) erupts up into our everyday world,
such as when we have an accident or experience shock. In these sudden, unexpected
moments, time appears to stand still. Maro elaborates:

One might ask, “When are we able to experience the unconscious action?” Ironically, we
are always able to encounter these situations in everyday life ... numerous small accidents
(incidents) such as finding a page of your favorite book missing, tripping over a stone
on the street, etc. At the very moment, our reaction to these situations is to blank out.
The darkness, which appears in the moment, is very rich …. Movement is not dictated
from the outside, but appears in the interaction between the outer and inner world.

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By executing the various exercises I offer, we are able to realize (experience) the dark and
bright sides of our beings. (2006, 3)

Therefore he uses this concept of the small accident to facilitate the performer
dropping into this unconscious state. During the miburi/teburi training, the dancer/
actor is asked to replicate a teburi activity (such as chopping vegetables or washing
the dishes). On Maro’s cue, the performer has a small accident (the knife cuts the
finger or hot water scalds the hands).44 This is followed by an instinctive reaction of
surprise which is then frozen or suspended. For Maro this is the moment when a
crack appears between the conscious and unconscious worlds – a doorway that he
encourages the dancer/actor to enter.

[After the accident] we become blank like “!!” …. Usually nobody is going to pay attention
for that trivial thing and everybody lets that go past soon. But in Butoh, the small blank
moment or crack in daily life is the door for the “Miburi” which is latent in another parallel
line. In our [training], we open the door, enter a pitch‑black and pure‑white place, and
collect the gesture, and receive them into our body. (2008, 1)

2. Igata (鋳型: “Mould”)

Igata, the second concept or pillar in Maro’s Method, is loosely translated as “mould”
by Maro. By this he means a frozen shape or an archetypal posture shared by all
human beings which Maro categorises into five types related to 1) time/age, 2) the
environment/weather, 3) illness/disability, 4) work/jobs and 5) emotions. In this sense
Maro appears to be drawing from both comparative and structural anthropology and
Jungian archetypal theory to theorise a mutual experience inherited from our ancestors
and/or a shared image that is present in the collective unconscious.

The initial igata created after the small accident is constructed by Maro as an experience
of “emptiness” or “deep forgetting.” He verbally incites the dancer/actor to claim the
blank space in which you find yourself, where you “no longer know your name, your
age, the time, the place, the names for things” (Maro quoted in Artist’s Journal, 25th July
2014). It is an empty liminal space where there is no past or future, only the present
moment, and which Maro describes as the “gateway to the Butoh world” (Artist’s Journal,
25th July 2014). Another analogy he employs is the moment of shock or surprise you
experience just after something unexpected happens. By way of example, Maro cites
the surprised laughter of a Zen Buddhist monk when watching the full moon suddenly
disappear behind a cloud, or a baby’s excited gasp when it witnesses a rolling chopstick
for the first time. Instead of trying to instantly make meaning of the event, as adults
tend to do, Maro encourages suspending this moment in a state of “no meaning” with

44 Other less obvious “accidents” given as examples included discovering a grey hair whilst brushing your hair, or
realising a page is missing from a favourite book you are reading.

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the innocence of a baby or Zen monk. In this sense he appears to be referencing the
traditional Japanese concept of mushin or “no mind”.45

Maro’s goal with the first igata (mould) is to facilitate the performer lingering in the
crack between the conscious and unconscious worlds, before dropping down into the
irrational/unconscious space. Helen Smith describes the process as follows:

In this moment all thought is momentarily suspended in a void. The idea is to maintain
this state for as long as possible until something ventures out of the darkness to inhabit
the body. Here then is the gateway into the dance. It becomes a kind of ‘falling into’ the
state of nothingness, quite suddenly – from a moment of shock or fright. (2016, 49)

Once in the “state of nothingness”, binary logic no longer applies: “Outside is inside,
inside is outside. Emptiness is substance and substance is emptiness. Good is bad, and
bad is good.” (Maro quoted in Artist’s Journal, 25th July 2014).

At this point during the exercise, in a nod towards shamanic practice, Maro asserts the
body must become “possessed by something or someone” (2007, 3). This possession
facilitates a “transformation of self” as various igata (moulds) are adopted by the dancer/
actor. In training we were provided with stimulus moulds or figures to replicate and
inhabit, including Noh masks and manga by Hokusai from the Edo period (see Figure 12).

FIGURE 12: Hokusai’s Manga (1814).

45 Suzuki Daisetz, who claims that mushin (無心) is one of the most important concepts in Zen Buddhism, explains
that “a no‑mind keeps nothing in it” and equates to a deep innocence when genuinely achieved. (1959, 111)

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The actor’s job, then, is to “breathe life” into these igata (moulds), in part by using the
third pillar of the training (chūtai – space‑body). The end result is typically complex and
multivalent in Maro’s imaginings. He likens the animated igata to Picasso’s paintings,
which have multiple conflicting influences from
the artist’s life layered into each artwork. In The
Dream (see Figure 13) we simultaneously see a
beautiful woman, the grotesque dismemberment
of a human body, and an erect penis. In a similar
manner, Maro typically incites the dancers/
actors to simultaneously incorporate the
juxtaposing stimulus of: “ironic laughing,
sentimental smiling, laughing hysterically, shy
smiling and nervous laughter” into their igata of
the famous “young woman” Noh mask (Maro
quoted in Artist’s Journal, 30th July 2014).

FIGURE 13: Pablo Picasso’s The Dream (1932). Metaphorically Maro also likens the dancer/
actor’s experience of being captured inside
an igata to the multiple, necessary restrictions of our lives. Finding a way to move
despite these restrictions, whilst in an igata, is part of the challenge of the training. He
provocatively exhorts the dancer/actor during this stage of the process:

It’s as if the gods have told you not to move, but you are a naughty child disobeying your
mother and trying to find opportunities to transgress, whilst still keeping the restriction
or tension present. (Maro quoted in Artist’s Journal, 29th July 2014).

The multiple and competing obligations of the igata lead to an eminently watchable
performance by the dancer/actor as they struggle to find equilibrium in the moment.

3. Chūtai (宙体: “Space-body”)

Chūtai is the third component or pillar in Maro’s Method, which he translates as


“space‑body”. This final stage involves allowing the boundaries of the body to become
open or porous, and facilitating an exchange of the space between the inside and the
outside of the body. In this manner the dancer/actor’s body is “possessed” and “moved”
by whatever is entering or surrounding it (various materials, animals and elements are
frequently‑used images). In training Maro facilitates an image‑journey to realise the
chūtai, whereby the contents of the body (blood, bones, organs) work their way out
through the pores of the skin and the orifices to the outside making the space around
the body dense and full, and the inside hollow and empty.46

46 This concept of the body owes much by Maro’s own admission to the Noguchi Gymnastics Method. Developed
by Noguchi Michizo in the 1960s it is based on “the unique concept of the human body as a mass of fluids inside
a living bag of skin within which the bone structure and organs are suspended.” (Konuma 2005) 91
FOUND IN TRANSLATION

A critical concept involved in this step is that of ma, as discussed in the Contextual
Review (2.3.3.1). Explaining its role in chūtai, Maro elaborates:

I call the substantial space [around the body] … “ma” (space). The old Japanese people
thought, in that “ma” (space), “ma” (evil) lives, and that even turns into “kami” (God), and
some kind of “mono” (thing) also lives. “Ma” (space) and “ma” (evil) co‑exist in the same
place, as do “kami” (God) and “mono” (thing). The “mono” (things) are coming and invading
our empty bodies and turning into something unknown/uncertain …. Then, a dance will
be produced naturally …. As a Butoh dancer, I am able to control what kind of being can
live in myself through my imagination. (2007, 4)

So ma in Maro’s Method becomes the space around and inside the body in which various
beings and things exist (including gods and the devil). Once a deep awareness of this
space is achieved, Maro then facilitates an image journey in which these various beings
or things enter into and out of the body through the cracks and orifices, resulting in
movement. The dancer should not move their own bodies but be moved by the things/
emotions/sensations entering and exiting.

This concept of the body being moved is one of the core tenets of Butoh (Smith 2016;
Barbe 2011; Fraleigh and Nakamura 2006). Helen Smith explains:

It is not related to choreography, in the sense of dancing the steps that someone else
has choreographed. Neither is it the idea of ‘being lost’ in the dance, or forgetting self as
one is caught up in the rhythm and flow of movement. Rather, once a state of complete
passiveness is achieved (a goal – according to Hijikata), the body is danced, moved and
directed by images and forces seemingly beyond one’s own control. (2016, 12)

This contradiction of the performer “being moved” and not moving themselves is
alluded to by Maro who accredits his own imagination as the driving force behind the
things/beings that possess his ma and subsequently create his dance. Nonetheless,
the trick is to invest so completely in the belief that you are “being moved” that the
movement quality takes on a shamanic appearance for the viewer.

The following is an example of an image journey led by Maro that I witnessed in 2014:47

Cold enters your body through the pores of your skin. You become almost frozen with
the cold. Freeze! 48 – carry the mould of cold across the space. Freeze! Now something
enters down your throat and makes you laugh. You are laughing 100 meters behind your
body. Now the laughter catches up with you and fills your entire body. Freeze! Now carry
the mould of cold/laughter across the space. Freeze! Now it becomes very hot and you

47 This improvisation took about 10‑15 minutes. So each state was held and explored for several minutes, as was
the process of carrying the moulds across the space.
48 Sometimes the translator (usually Yuyama) would replace “freeze” with “freeze‑dry that moment” or “pack the
mould.”

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PHOTO 40: Maro’s Method – Chūtai Training (New Zealand Stomp). Photo: Lynne Bradley (2016).

begin to melt very, very slowly. Where does the melting begin in the body? Where does it spread to?
Freeze! Now a praying mantis enters through your nostril. It begins to stretch out inside your body.
Freeze! Carry the mould across the space. Freeze! Now one leg is becoming bigger than the other.
How can you keep moving? The preying mantis exits through your butt hole. Now the beautiful
perfume of flowers fills your body. Gradually you become aware that the perfume/smell is that of
dead bodies. Now the dead bodies begin to burn. The burning feels beautiful. Now the fire becomes
ash that flies through the sky. It begins to rain. The ash mixes with the water and flows into a river.
You are part‑ash, part‑water, part‑animal. Your nose becomes a hand, your stomach a neck, your
bottom a finger. (Maro quoted in Artist’s Journal, 30th July 2014)

In the following interview, Maro meditates on the unusual role of language in his
training method for Butoh, which traditionally is viewed as a silent form:

Basically the words are a means to an end, like a Zen koan that is intended to take the
student beyond the level of words. The body is like a mould that is incapable of motion by
itself. But you can move the body by making it respond to words even though the words
are merely a means to that end, and even if they are untrue words. In my case, I will use any
words as long as they get the body to move. But that doesn’t mean the final movement
is an embodiment of the words. The meaning lies somewhere else. The body drinks in
the words and they completely dissolve there, leaving only the state of the body, with its
movements, and that state, or whatever you wish to call it, is all that exists. (2005, 4)

At the conclusion of each image journey Maro gradually brings the performer’s awareness
back to the “call” of the everyday world, and they slowly return to the purpose‑driven
actions/tasks they were executing at the start of the exercise (e.g. chopping vegetables,
washing their hands). For Maro the liminal stage of “returning” is of equal interest to
the initial moment of “forgetting.” He likens these states to the Buddhist concept of

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shiki soku zeku (色即是空), which acknowledges that “void” does not equal “emptiness”,
and that in an instant “substance” and “emptiness” can be exchanged. Maro concludes
the exercise by comparing the final moments of the journey to coming out of deep
daydream state, where you remember where you are and what you’re doing suddenly
and the world of the daydream fades away until you are once more fully present in your
everyday actions/tasks. End exercise.

Both the performer’s lived experience of executing Maro’s Method of training and the
audience’s experience of watching it unfold, are equally riveting. The sequencing of
the ideas and the multiple layers created by the three pillars of miburi/teburi, igata and
chūtai, result in an incredibly rich movement score. When the actor or dancer learns to
surrender or lean into the subterranean world, and allow the words/images to move
the body and capture the latent miburi, it is like watching a Salvador Dali or Francis
Bacon painting come to life. I have experienced other methods of training and devising
that attempt to tap into the anti‑rational space but none that are as fast, effective, or
powerful as Maro’s Method.

Whilst the articulation (or initial translation) of the training was consolidated during
the first creative practice cycle in 2014, the knowledge of Maro’s Method was gained
incrementally over a much longer period of time. It was noted in my Artist’s Journal that
each year I’d trained with Maro he appeared to focus on a different part of the method in
greater detail and sometimes omitted other sections altogether. So learning the complete
training system was like compiling pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, and had taken 5‑6 trips (over
a 10‑year period) to complete. Only after all the pieces were collected and collated was I
able to see the whole picture. (Artist’s Journal, 15th August 2015)

One final footnote to this overview of Maro’s Method is that whilst practicing the individual
stages as outlined above, the performers were given almost no set‑up instructions nor
any indication of what the end result should look like. This meant that during the first
few days of training each year (during the Summer Camp) the participants offered wildly
different interpretations of the training. My previous experience of working with other
Japanese teachers and performing artists (in Noh and Nihon Buyo) meant that I had
some context for this approach – one which requires the student to find their way to the
truth without being given the answers. However, many of the non‑Japanese participants
found this lack of information disconcerting and somewhat terrifying, as they were
largely “finding their way” in front of an audience of 50 each night, comprised of both the
other students and all the Dairakudakan company members. Nonetheless, by the third
or fourth night of each successive Summer Camp, most of the group had arrived at more
or less the same territory, in terms of articulating the work in their individual practice,
during Maro’s evening classes. Few, however, were able to transfer this new knowledge

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and skill‑base into the daytime rehearsals led by other members of the Dairakudakan
company, and resorted to a much more form‑based approach to the choreography.49

4.2.3 Experimentation and Synthesis


After returning from the Dairakudakan Summer Camp in 2014, the second phase
of creative practice cycle 1 began. This focussed on the Cultural Translation of Maro’s
Method of Butoh into the context of the Zen Zen Zo training room where members of
the Actor’s Dojo (including the future cast of In the Company of Shadows)50 were training
weekly throughout the year on Monday evenings. In terms of the paradigm of translation
offered by Eugene Nida (see Figure 4), the first step of the process had been achieved –
the analysis of the source text. The second step, the transfer of the source text was the
focus of the second phase of the creative practice cycle during these weekly classes.

The practical goal during this period was to find a way to disseminate the ideas,
methodologies and skills inherent in Maro’s Method in order to prepare for the later
creative practice cycles. Simultaneously, the research goal was to articulate the tacit
process of Cultural Translation that I have practiced as a teaching‑artist over the past
two decades, working between Japan and Australia in the context of Zen Zen Zo. During
the second phase of this round of creative practice I was also cognisant of the concerns
raised by scholars of Interculturalism regarding non‑Japanese practicing Butoh, and
worked to unpack these problematics openly with the participants in the Actor’s Dojo.

4.2.3.1 The Role of Imitation


The classes began with an attempt to replicate as faithfully as possible the training as
experienced in Japan. This could be interpreted as the imitation phase, which is often
the starting point of the innovation cycle. As Austin Kleon observes:

We learn by copying. We’re talking about practice here, not plagiarism – plagiarism is
trying to pass someone else’s work off as your own. Copying is about reverse‑engineering.
It’s like a mechanic taking apart a car to see how it works. (2012, 33)

Initially, this attempt to communicate Maro’s Method by imitating the training exactly
had limited effect. The participants found Maro’s Method overwhelming and somewhat
confusing. However as an exercise in “reverse‑engineering” for me as the facilitator, it

49 A full analysis of why this occurred, as well as the different approaches in method and style to the nighttime
training and daytime rehearsals offered as part of the Dairakudakan Summer Camp experience, is beyond the
scope of this thesis and not directly related to the topic of Cultural Translation.
50 The production In the Company of Shadows, as with the majority of Zen Zen Zo shows, was cast from
participants in the Actor’s Dojo weekly training and our Stomping Ground summer school during 2015, prior to
the commencement of the second creative practice cycle. By casting from the artists in training we ensure they
have the prerequisite skills needed for each production, as well as a shared culture and methodology generated
through the work we do in these contexts.

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was extremely useful and led to a much better understanding how the training system
worked. After several weeks of repeating the exercises to confirm where the problems
lay, and a subsequent period of reflection, the core obstacles were approached utilising
Cultural Translation theory as a practice methodology to move forward.

4.2.3.2 Formal vs. Dynamic Equivalence


The first attempt to faithfully translate Maro’s Method can be theorised in terms of what
Nida refers to as “formal equivalence” (word‑for‑word translation). To this end I had aimed
to replicate the experience for my students with as much fidelity as possible, both in
terms of the choice of language used (the amount and content of the set‑up instructions,
as well as text used in the image journeys); and the physical context for the exercises
(groups of 10‑15 in front of an audience, performing with no theatre lighting or music).

It quickly became apparent, however, that the employment of “dynamic equivalence”


(sense‑for‑sense translations), with its primary focus on the target audience would
better serve the context of the Actor’s Dojo. House confirms this decision:

In [Nida’s] view, translation is first and foremost an act that is directed at certain recipients,
whose different knowledge sets, linguistic‑cultural conventions and expectation norms
need to be taken into account in translation …. It is only when a translated text is adapted
to the needs of the new recipients that it can have the intended effect. (House 2016, 17)

Subsequently, the second attempt to translate Maro’s Method in the Actor’s Dojo classes
focussed on achieving a sense‑by‑sense equivalence with a greater focus on the target
audience of Australian performing artists.

I observed that the specific group involved in these classes, whilst of a reasonably high
skill level, had little or no direct exposure to Japanese culture or aesthetic principles.
Further, whilst they could tolerate a certain degree of openness and ambiguity with
regards to the instructions given and the stated aim of the exercises, if the gap grew too
large, they became demotivated and disengaged.

Keeping the needs of the target audience in mind, I trialled several adjustments to the
delivery of the training with the aim of achieving a sense‑by‑sense translation. These
included:

1. A Contextualising Talk
I prefaced the training with a 5–10 minute discussion about where the
training had originated. This included a brief overview of Maro’s philosophy
of the two worlds and the overarching concepts of the small accidents, the
altered‑states, ma, and the 3 pillars of his method.

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2. Utilising Music
In the next round of experimentation I introduced music as an aide to provide
a clear structure for the exercise and help mark the transitions between
the 3 stages: silence during miburi/teburi; white noise during the initial
“forgetting” igata; and instrumental music during the chūtai and subsequent
image journey. Music was also utilised to signify a sense of the states that
the performers were aiming to inhabit throughout the exercise. Whilst
Maro refutes the use of music in training as an unnecessary distraction, the
performers in the Actor’s Dojo were accustomed to working extensively with
music. Subsequently, it proved useful to help ease them into the various
imaginary worlds Maro’s Method requires.

3. Providing Clear Set‑Up Instructions


Again, in the name of ensuring that the participants had just enough structure
to allow them to abandon freely with their imaginations, I provided clearer
set‑up instructions. This did not include dictating how they would feel, what
images they should use, what the movement would look like, nor solving any
of the performative challenges they would encounter along the way.

4. Using Interpretants to Signpost the Journey


As some of the group reported finding the concept of the liminal igata
(mould) hard to grasp, I borrowed from parallel experiences when guiding
them through the exercise that were more culturally relatable to them. These
“interpretants” (see 2.6.2.5) provided a productive strategy when there was no
equivalent term/concept in both languages/cultures, such as that of mushin
(“no mind”). Interpretants trialled included the liminal moment of Alice
falling down the rabbit hole in Alice In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll; and the
latest scientific research around dementia and the associated experiences of
“forgetting”.

4.2.3.3 Skopos Theory


As part of my exploration of alternative modes of delivery for Maro’s Method, I also
borrowed from Skopos Theory which focuses less on achieving equivalence and more on
elucidating the purpose of the translation. Hans Vermeer acknowledges that the start‑text
function may be different from the target‑text function, and therefore the purpose of
the translation will justify the strategies employed (2000). Whilst the function of Maro’s
Method in its original context is to train the Dairakudakan members (and students of the
company) in order to be able to perform Maro’s unique brand of Temputenshiki Butoh
(2006, 3), the purpose of its transposition into the Actor’s Dojo was quite different. In this
new context, the goal of the training was:

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1. To train a wide variety of performing artists to enhance their pre‑expressive skills51 that
can then act as a foundation in any playing style.
2. To equip the cast of In the Company of Shadows with the specific skill set, that I planned
to utilise in the production, in order to capture the surreal and anti‑rational nature of
dreams. (Artist’s Journal, 10th August 2014)

For this reason I subsequently became less focussed during training on Maro’s
philosophy of the two worlds (and beginning and ending with the teburi gestures
and actions), and more interested in exploring the miburi movement and mastering
this aspect of the method. In order to achieve a higher level of skill around the chūtai
(space‑body) concept, I developed several alternative exercises during this creative
practice cycle designed to unpack this idea further (see 4.2.4).

4.2.3.4 Foreignisation vs. Domestication


At the same time that I was attempting to make Maro’s Method more relatable to the
members of the Actor’s Dojo, I was consciously attempting not to over‑simplify the work
nor domesticate it for the sake of easy digestion. The goal was to maintain its richness
and complexity, without making it too obscure or complicated. Further, as an act of
foreignisation it was important to retain and reinforce the cultural context from which
the method was being drawn anese terminology alongside the English translations
provided by Dairakudakan. To this end, whilst the terms “no purpose movement”, “mould”
and “space-body” used by Dairakudakan to signify the three stages of Maro’s Method
were in and of themselves slightly awkward, I decided to keep them strategically as an
act of foreignisation to remind the participants that they were encountering something
foreign, something that they would need to work at to decipher. As Schleiermarcher
(1956/1791) and Venuti (1995) claim, by maintaining the foreign in the translation (and
not aiming for complete fluency), it reminds the reader/receiver that the text was not
written/created in their own language/culture and therefore does not erase the foreign
in an act of colonisation, but rather highlights and celebrates its difference.

4.2.3.5 The Conundrum of the Untranslatable


In most instances the concepts inherent in Maro’s Method were translatable if not
through one‑to‑one equivalence (where there is an identical term/idea in both start
and target languages), then through one‑to‑part equivalence (whereby only partial
equivalents are present which are then utilised to create an approximate translation).
However occasionally some concepts had a one‑to‑none equivalence (meaning there

51 By pre‑expressive skills I am referring to Eugenio Barba’s term drawn from theatre anthropology and as
articulated in The Paper Canoe: A Guide to Theatre Anthropology (1995) and A Dictionary of Theatre Anthropology:
The Secret Art of the Performer (2006).

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is no equivalent in the target language for the term or concept being translated) (Kade
1968). In these instances the dilemma of the “untranslatable” arose. Concepts such as
ma and miburi/teburi mushin and shiki soku zeku required a different mode of translation.
In these instances, I employed the following strategies:

1. Intersemiotic Translation
Drawing on Jacobson’s concept of “intersemiotic” translation (1959), in which
verbal signs are interpreted by way of a nonverbal sign system, I was able to
translate the concepts through physical demonstration. This was particularly
useful in the instance of miburi/teburi which pertains largely to unconscious
body language.

2. Foreignisation
This final strategy involved acknowledging to participants that some concepts
can only be truly understood through the body and as such their cognitive
ability to process the physical experiences of some of the more complex
foreign ideas might take longer than the mastery of the skills themselves.
This belief was reinforced in the second creative practice cycle when one of
the cast (who had just returned from training with Dairakudakan in Japan)
was asked to demonstrate Maro’s Method in the Actor’s Dojo. Despite a
high‑level of physical skill acquired during the trip, and a deep physiological
understanding of the work, he panicked and said, “Ok, but just don’t ask me
to explain it!” (Artist’s Journal, 25th August 2015).
Allowing the strategy of foreignisation to acknowledge that some concepts
for some performers will remain at a physiological level (without needing to
be translated into words at a cognitive level) was an important discovery to
the investigation in the sense that the untranslatable was embraced rather
than rejected in the overarching process of transculturation.

3. Interpretants
By using examples drawn from personal experience or the participants’ shared
knowledge base across a range of disciplines and cultural contexts, I was able
to signpost the way towards the concept in question. Two examples of using
interpretants to translate ma include:
• the story of seeing my first Zen Rock Garden (Ryōan‑ji) and being taught by
my Japanese friend to view the space around the rocks rather than the rocks
themselves.
• the story of my Noh teacher explaining that an actor had “good” or “bad” ma
according to their timing AND use of space on stage.

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I also employed the other two key interpretants I had been utilising for a number of
years, as outlined in the Contextual Review – Jung’s Shadow Archetype and Carnival
Theory (see 2.3.3). These were developed and expanded upon during creative practice
cycle 1 to culturally translate Butoh into the context of Actor’s Dojo.

PHOTO 41: Ryoanji Zen Rock Garden (Kyoto, Japan). Photo: Lynne Bradley (1989).

4.2.4 Cycles of Divergent Thinking


In innovation models, “divergent thinking” is a method or thought process used to
generate creative ideas and solutions to problems by exploring multiple possibilities. It is
usually used in conjunction with or directly preceding a phase of “convergent thinking”,
which follows a particular set of logical steps to arrive at a resolution to the problem and
to formalise the findings into a cohesive manner (Guilford, 1967). Divergent thinking
typically occurs in a spontaneous way, enabling the generation of many unexpected
ideas through an emergent cognitive phase. Many possible solutions are explored in a
limited timeframe, and unforeseen connections are drawn.

In the first round of this project’s creative practice, these divergent thinking cycles
inevitably overlapped with the phases of experimentation and synthesis outlined above.
This section will therefore incorporate some of the more innovative and unexpected
departures the creative practice took whilst translating Maro’s Method of Butoh training
into the new cultural context of the Actor’s Dojo.

1. Music
The first innovation that took place as part of the Cultural Translation process
was the aforementioned incorporation of music. Maro doesn’t include music
in training because he feels it is too easy to “ride on the rhythm of the music”
(Artist’s Journal, 30th July 2014). In performance, Dairakudakan choreographs

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the work first and then adds the music later, which has been composed
separately, in order to find an unexpected relationship between the two
elements. Maro claims that if the performers “ignore” the music, it enables
the “audience to get on the stage” with them (Artist’s Journal, 30th July 2014).

With this in mind, I began a process of exploring the relationship between


the three stages of Maro’s Method and music, cognisant of the need for it
not to become a superficial addition or a means of lulling the performers
into an unthinking state of acquiescence. Anne Bogart talks of the habit of
contemporary performers to immediately “dance to the music” in a manner
that instantly imprisons rather than frees them (2005, 96). In order to resist
musical choices that dictate rather than motivate, Bogart suggests working
with juxtaposition, unexpected rhythm, and extremity (of volume, tempo,
pitch, duration). In the classes, therefore, we experimented with a range of
musical options to find unexpected connections with the states of miburi/
teburi, igata and chūtai.

As part of this exploration, I also adopted Maro’s metaphoric use of music in


performance:
I think music is basically the thing which wraps the body in performance. It’s like a
big, soft, gentle cloth. There are many ways to use music. I sometimes use it like a
machine gun, or put it between bodies like sandwiches. I think music occupies 90%
of my work – I may not even need bodies in it. Ok, I’m exaggerating! But bodies can
sometimes be obstacles to the music …. Like a Zen koan. Silence is of course music
too. (Maro 1991, 7).

Most importantly I found the music functioned as a framework to hold the


exercise. By providing a clear 3‑part structure through music/silence choices,
it allowed the performers to find a greater freedom with their image work.
Maro confirms that one of the keys to his method is that the imagination must
be as free as possible and, to facilitate this, certain restrictions are necessary.
He cites using “gravity” and “oppositional tension” as allies. In this manner, we
found that we were able to use music as a useful restriction for the performers
to work with/against whilst employing Maro’s Method in training.

2. Cross‑Fertilisation
By using exercises the Actor’s Dojo participants were already familiar with, that
had been drawn from other Butoh practitioners, in conjunction with Maro’s
Method, I was able to cross‑fertilise training practices to yield a more rigorous
result. These included material from Body Weather that utilised Omni‑Central
Movement as a technique in which different images are placed concurrently
in multiple, individual parts of the body. From the viewer’s perspective,

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this technique results in the body being moved (by the internal images) in
unexpected, often contrary ways. This in turn creates a complex movement
score that produces a disconcerting overall effect with the performer’s arms,
legs, head and torso moving in competing rhythms and shapes (like an
orchestra with dissonant instruments playing simultaneously). Introduced to
me by Tess de Quincey in 1996, it has formed a regular part of Zen Zen Zo’s
training repertoire since.

Another fruitful exercise to generate the experience of being moved was


Waguri Yukio’s Clay and Sculptor.52 This is a pair‑exercise that involves one
participant beginning as a block of clay, and the other as the sculptor. Over
the course of a set period of time the sculptor moulds the clay into a statue
(I used photographs of Francis Bacon’s paintings as the stimulus during
creative practice cycle 1). The role of the performer embodying the clay is to
be as receptive as possible and to allow the memory of the journey of “being
moved” to be stored in the body. Then after the statue has been completed,
the clay returns to its original block shape and, over a set period of time
(nominated by the facilitator), re‑creates the journey drawing on the body
memory of “being moved”.

PHOTO 42: Clay and Sculptor (New Zealand Stomp).


Fabrizia Gariglio, Damien McGrath. Photo: Lynne Bradley (2015).

52 Like many Butoh exercises, this is one that is used by a number of teachers but with variations. The version
offered here was demonstrated by Waguri whilst working with students from NIDA in 2014.

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I also utilised Nakajima Natsu’s Disappearing Walk to aide the performers in


finding a state similar to the initial igata of “forgetting” in Maro’s Method, which
he describes as the “nani mo nai (nothing) moment”. Helen Smith outlines the
Disappearing Walk as follows:
Here the participants walk across the length of a room over an extended period
of time. The self is gradually stripped away and vanishes to a state of emptiness
with each step taken. When the participants reach one side of the room, they turn
around slowly and begin the return journey of equal duration. On the return journey
they reappear, reforming with every step and with the potential to be anything …. I
create my own Butoh Fu along these lines: “Allow your memories and history to slip
away…they train behind you like an intricately woven cloak. The flesh dissolves,
and there is no boundary between inside and outside…you and the space are
one. Particles disperse and merge with the air around…you become nothing and
everything as you merge with the space…” (2016, 45).

Experiencing an image‑led exercise like the Disappearing Walk enabled the


Actor’s Dojo participants to bridge the gap between something and nothing,
and to find a productive approach to Maro’s liminal moment of forgetting/
falling down the crack into the world of miburi movement.

By the cross‑fertilisation of these and other similar exercises with Maro’s Method,
I found the performers in the Actor’s Dojo became much better equipped to
produce and inhabit both the igata and miburi movement required by Maro’s
training.

3. New Training Exercises


Drawing on Eugenio Barba’s idea of training exercises as pedagogical
fictions which allow the performer to “work on oneself” through a process
of “body‑memory” (2006, 112), I deconstructed the various stages of Maro’s
Method to find extended ways of developing the skills required in the
performers as discussed above. In addition to utilising existing exercises
in the Butoh cannon, I also created new material to achieve this end. The
following exercises comprise some of the new material generated during the
first creative practice cycle to aid the performers’ lived experience of the body
being moved which is at the heart of Maro’s Method.

FLOATING IN MA
The performer finds a simple standing neutral position. In the Actor’s Dojo
this includes the psychophysical starting point of a “strong centre, open heart,
clear mind”.53 Then over a period of 5‑10 minutes the performer brings their full

53 This concept was adopted after working with Buddhist teacher Lawrence Graziose from the USA in workshops that the
Zen Zen Zo company participated in annually between 2004‑2013). Lawrence advocated the lived experience of “strong
centre, open heart, clear mind” as an optimal one to aspire to in both life and art.

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awareness to the space around the body (ma) with a great deal of specificity,
including between the fingers, toes, legs, inside of the mouth, nostrils, etc.
Gradually the performer gently inflates the air (or their ma space) so that
the body begins to float in this expansive space like a body of water. Once
this state is achieved they are then guided by the facilitator to allow the ma
around their bodies to be successively filled with the four elements of water,
earth, air and fire at 5‑10 minute intervals. The introduction of each element
into the ma space should result in a responsive movement. Ideally each new
element will yield a different quality of movement and continue to change/
transform throughout the exercise, depending on the depth of the performer’s
presence and their ability to keep the image alive. For most performers (and
the audience watching) this exercise manifests a strong sensation of the “body
being moved” by something outside of the actor/dancer. By using simple,
recognisable elements (e.g. water, earth, air, fire), that most people have a
strong lived experience of, a more effective end‑result is ensured. As the
performers become more adept at this exercise, the facilitator can begin to
substitute more complex, less well‑known substances (e.g. lava, snow, glue,
rice) into their ma to generate more unexpected movement scores.

PHOTO 43: Floating in Ma (Actor’s Dojo). Harriet Devlin and James Kendall.
Photo: Lynne Bradley.

BODY BAG
In this exercise participants work in groups of two. One partner lies down on
the floor and achieves a state of complete relaxation with their eyes closed.
The other partner then begins to manipulate one limb at a time (left arm, right
arm, left leg, right leg), lifting it off the floor and then moving it to explore the
full range of movement possible. They then work more specifically with the

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PHOTO 44: Body Bag (New Zealand Stomp). Wayne Jennings and Peter Kraat.
Photo: Lynne Bradley (2016).

hands, fingers, feet, toes creating unusual shapes and positions during the
exercise. The whole time they hold the full weight of the limb (i.e. the person
lying down is required to relax completely throughout the first stage of this
exercise). Once this is achieved the standing partner works carefully with the
head, ensuring they support the neck at all times.

After each limb and the head have been manipulated, the standing partner
gently returns it to the ground. After a short time the partner lying on the floor
is then prompted to recreate the movement (or to create similar movements)
using their body memory to produce the sensation of being moved by their
partner. If they can achieve the external appearance of deep relaxation at the
same time as enacting movement that allows the viewer to imagine exactly
where they are being held/pushed/pulled, the result is extremely effective.
This requires a deep listening to the internal mechanics of the body, a lived
experience of gravity/suspension, and the ability to recreate movement
without purpose.

The standing partner then facilitates an experience of two or more limbs


moving simultaneously (which may require the aide of another standing
partner). This provides the person being moved with a more complex
movement score to draw on. The whole exercise, which is designed to give the
person lying down a deep and specific experience of the “body being moved”,
can take 30‑45 minutes, depending on the timeframes of the training session.

Once both partners have experienced this process, they then attempt to
combine the movement of the legs, arms and head simultaneously from the
body memory of being moved. The final step is to then repeat this last stage
of the exercise standing. At all times the goal is to be deeply specific and to
avoid generalised movements, particularly as additional limbs are added to
the movement score.

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When repeated regularly, the Body Bag exercise provides an excellent basis
for the performer to then begin to layer in the image work required by Maro’s
Method as the body is being moved. This includes qualities of movement,
such as those experienced in the Floating in Ma exercise, as the body is being
moved my a range of animate and inanimate objects and materials entering,
exiting and moving the body from the outside and the inside (see 4.2.2).

4.2.5 Convergence
At the conclusion of the first creative practice cycle, after all this data was colated, I
began to organise the information and structure it through a process of convergent
thinking and reflection. The usefulness of both Maro’s Method of Butoh training, and the
Cultural Translation concepts outlined above in 4.2.3 which allowed me to interpret/
translate/communicate it in the context of the Actor’s Dojo, became evident.

Whilst reflecting on this initial preparatory creative practice cycle, the decision was
made to begin the second creative practice cycle (the Creative Development of In the
Company of Shadows) in Japan with the whole cast undergoing intensive training and an
opportunity to perform with Dairakudakan. The impetus for this decision was based on:

1. My interest in what had been lost and/or gained with regards to my initial
attempt to translate Maro’s Method of Butoh. In order to establish this it
became evident that the cast would need to encounter the training first‑hand
with Dairakudakan.

2. The knowledge that being embedded in the Japanese culture had facilitated
a much greater depth of knowledge of Maro’s Method, and Butoh in general,
for me as a practitioner.

3. The belief that the experience of Deep Hanging Out with Dairakudakan
would allow the emergent work (In the Company of Shadows) to organically
grow from the shared experience of the two companies.

PHOTO 45 (from left): Muramatsu Takuya and Lynne Bradley. GAIA. Photo: Simon Woods (2009).
Matsuda Atsushi, Watanabe Tatsuya, Muramatsu Takuya, Tamura Ikko. Photo: Lynne Bradley (2014).
Muramatsu Takuya and Lynne Bradley. Crazy Camel Rehearsals. Photo: Yamamoto Ryo (2014).

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4.3 CREATIVE PRACTICE CYCLE 2:


CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT (2015)
4.3.1 Overview

The aim of the second creative practice cycle was three‑fold:

1) To enable the cast to experience Butoh training first‑hand with Dairakudakan


in Japan in order to interrogate the relative successes and failures of the initial
attempt to culturally translate Maro’s Method in 2014.

2) To observe how Dairakudakan employed Maro’s Method to devise new work


under the umbrella of Temputenshiki.54

3) To conduct a Creative Development for the emergent performance work, In


the Company of Shadows, which confirmed the Dramatic Question/Anchor/
Structure55 and explored ways to utilise Maro’s Method as a devising tool.

PHOTO 46: Dream Compositions. Photo: Lynne Bradley (2015).


54 While Maro formally translates Temputenshiki as “being born is a great talent itself”, he once explained it to me
more informally as “we are ok as we are”. He went on to say that even though there is much darkness in the
human being, the other side (of equal capacity and accessible in any given moment) is extraordinary beauty
and light. Consequently, his work is driven by this paradox of darkness/light and ugliness/beauty. (Personal
Conversation, 1st August 2007)
55 The paradigm of “Question/Anchor/Structure” is borrowed from Anne Bogart (2005, 154) and has been utilised
by Zen Zen Zo as the central dramaturgical framework for our devised work since 1998 (see 7.8.1).

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The second creative practice cycle, like the first, was also designed as a two‑part
process. This first phase lasted ten days, while the cast trained and performed in
Natsu no Inori (A Summer’s Prayer) with Dairakudakan during their Summer Camp in
Hakuba from 1st – 9th August, 2015. The second phase took place back in Brisbane over
a three‑month period (August‑November) during which time the cast trained once a
week on Monday evenings and attended Creative Development sessions on Tuesdays.
This process culminated in a Work‑in‑Progress showing on 1st December at The Loft in
QUT’s Creative Industries Precinct in Brisbane.

4.3.1.1 In the Company of Shadows


The emergent performance work had come to be titled In the Company of Shadows during
the conceptual development that took place between the first and second creative
practice cycles. Zen Zen Zo’s working process involves the director sourcing an idea or
starting point for a new work and doing initial research around the topic without making
any final creative decisions about the future of the piece. This enables the creative team as
a whole to be involved in the development of the show once the Creative Development
stage begins. Alison Oddey describes this typical devising process:

Devised theatre can start from anything. It is determined and defined by a group of
people who set up an initial framework or structure to explore and experiment with
ideas, images, concepts, themes, or specific stimuli that might include music, text,
objects, paintings, or movement. A devised theatrical performance originates with the
group while making the performance, rather than starting from a play text that someone
else has written to be interpreted. A devised theatre product is work that has emerged
from and been generated by a group of people working in collaboration. (1994, 1)

Coming into the Creative Development we planned to explore the idea of “Shadow”
with particular reference to the following key ideas:

1. Tanizaki Junichiro’s In Praise of Shadows (Ineiraisan, 1933)56

2. Carl Jung’s Shadow Archetype (1938)

3. Maro’s Method as a cornerstone in the devising process to access the “shadow


space”.

4.3.1.2 Selecting the Team


Between the first and second rounds of creative practice I had also confirmed the
collaborators for the project. These included: Gloria Ang (actor/dancer), Jordan Gilmore

56 Novelist Tanizaki Junichiro’s well‑known 1933 essay Ineiraisan, which was poetically translated as In Praise of
Shadows by translators Thomas J. Harper and Professor Edward G. Seidensticker in 1977, comprises a series of
sixteen meditations on the role of Shadow across a range of art forms, including architecture, theatre, music
and painting.

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(physical theatre performer), Elise Gettlieffe (designer), Richard Grantham (musician),


Nevin Howell (multimedia designer/performer), Wayne Jennings (musical director),
Jacqueline Marriott (actor), Kate Murphy (actor/director), Damara Sylvester (aerialist),
Travis Weiner (physical theatre performer), David Walters (lighting designer) and Scott
Wings (writer/spoken word artist). I had also approached Dairakudakan with the
proposition that Yuyama Dariichiro, one of their senior dancers whom I had previously
worked with on GAIA57 in 2009, perform in the emergent work, which they agreed to
discuss during our trip to Japan.

PHOTO 47: Creative Development Artists at Dairakudakan Summer Camp (sewing costumes).
Scott Wings, Jordan Gilmore, Kate Murphy, Travis Weiner, Damara Sylvester, Jacqueline Marriott, Gloria Ang.
Photo: Lynne Bradley (2015).

In order to achieve a high degree of innovation in Zen Zen Zo’s performance works
over the years, the company has gravitated towards artists who possess what Gijs
Van Wulfen identifies as the key characteristics of the innovator (2013). As Van Wulfen
observes, the core team members on a new creative project are likely to experience the
ideation process very intensively, and therefore they individually and collectively need
a combination of skills and personal attributes, including passion, drive, knowledge,
expertise, strong interpersonal competencies, and the ability to look at things from a
fresh perspective (2013, 83‑84). By bringing together a group of artists with different
cultural backgrounds, varying skills, and distinct approaches to art‑making, I have found
that the likelihood of divergent thinking as part of the ideation process is increased.
Stuart Cunningham (et al.) concur:

57 GAIA was a Zen Zen Zo / Dairakudakan collaboration that took place in Brisbane in 2009. Funded by Arts
Queensland it was directed by Muramatsu Takuya and featured Yuyama Daiichiro and myself as solo performers,
accompanied by a chorus of 20 Zen Zen Zo performers.

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Diversity in its various forms – including skills diversity – is critical in all innovative
organisations. The need for skills diversity is based on the realisation that much innovation
happens at the intersection of different disciplines and ways of thinking about problems.
(2016, 8)

Therefore I selected a team for this research project that included dancers, actors,
physical theatre performers, musicians, writers, designers and directors, from a range
of backgrounds. Further, by incorporating artists with a long history of working across
cultures, including Elise Gettlieffe, David Walters, Gloria Ang, Damara Sylvester, Wayne
Jennings and Yuyama Daiichiro, I hoped to maximise the likelihood of culturally
translating Maro’s Method of Butoh in a way that employed a model of transculturation
rather than acculturation, as we moved into the second and third stages of the project.

As the second round of creative practice unfolded, it became increasingly evident that
the artists involved displayed a high level of what Richard Slimbach terms “transcultural
competency” of “interculturally‑proficient persons” (2005, 206). He claims that the
current age of transculturalism demands that people develop “the attitudes and abilities
that facilitate open and ethical interaction with people across cultures”, which he groups
under six categories (see Figure 14). Slimbach developed this model by drawing from
social anthropology, international education and intercultural communication research.
The transcultural learner, therefore, is expected to engage in experiences of other
cultures that are “immersed, immediate, and emotional” to maximise the likelihood of
productive, ethically‑motivated transcultural exchange (2006, 207).

FIGURE 14: Richard Slimbach’s Transcultural Competencies (2006).

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4.3.2 Observation and Learning


The majority of the artists selected were able to attend both parts of the Creative
Development.58 As a result, we met up in Tōkyō at the end of July 2015, and travelled to
Hakuba in Nagano Prefecture together to attend Dairakudakan’s Summer Camp.

PHOTO 48: Rehearsals for Natsu no Inori (A Summer’s Prayer). Dairakudakan Summer Camp.
Photo: Lynne Bradley (2015).

4.3.2.1 Loss and Gain


After several days of training with Dairakudakan in Maro’s Method the Zen Zen Zo
members were able to observe that my Cultural Translation of Maro’s Method in the
Actor’s Dojo the previous year had resulted in both a loss and a gain (Roundtable
Discussion, 2nd August 2015). Wayne Jennings observed that:

Butoh made a whole lot more sense to me. After hearing you talk about it for four years
compared to one day here. (Everyone laughs). No I mean, in the sense of finally actually
seeing the concept made manifest of the dancer not being the one doing the moving
but the movement is being done externally. So the dancer is almost watching themselves
from the outside and moving like they are being puppeted. The introductory lesson
yesterday was like, “Oh I can see that now”.

With regards to the inevitable loss that occurs in any act of translation, Bassnett recalls
the famous Italian expression “traduttore, traditore” (“translator, traitor”), which implies
that translators always betray what they are translating (2014, 10). She goes on to
acknowledge, however, that there is a whole school of thought (following Benjamin)
that views translation as “a fundamental means of enriching a literary system.” (13) In
“The Poet’s Version; or, An Ethics of Translation,” Venuti weights up both the loss and
gain of the translation process and concludes:

58 The only members of the team who did not attend were Richard Grantham and David Walters.

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[The] interpretive force of translation means that the source text is not only
decontextualized, but recontextualized insofar as translating rewrites it in terms that
are intelligible and interesting to receptors …. When translated, then, the source text
undergoes not only a formal and semantic loss, but also an exorbitant gain. (2011, 236)

This process of recontextualising the source material to make it understandable, as


discussed in 2.6.2.5, involves the use of interpretants. As Nick Papastergiadis confirms,
the utilisation of correspondent terms or concepts will inevitably be “an uneven fit” which
“inspires both a lament for what is lost in translation, and a celebration of the extension
in conceptual understanding through creative improvisation and hybridization.” (2011, 5)
He goes on to say that the “imperfect labour of translating meaning [is] a stimulus for
both creative modification and conceptual extension.” (6) An unexpected finding of this
creative practice cycle was the diversity of interpretants generated and utilised by the
cast to interpret Maro’s Method which added a new layer of richness to the unfolding
translation (see 5.6). Coming to terms with this inevitable process of loss and gain was a
key learning for me in the second creative practice cycle.

PHOTO 49: Wayne Jennings and Travis Weiner during the Hair Shaving Ritual prior to the performance of
Natsu no Inori (A Summer’s Prayer). Photo: Lynne Bradley (2015).

4.3.2.2 Dairakudakan’s Process of Creation


During the Dairakudakan Summer Camp in 2015 the Zen Zen Zo company members
also participated in the rehearsals for the final performance of Natsu no Inori (A Summer’s
Prayer). This gave the cast an opportunity to observe firsthand how Dairakudakan utilise
Maro’s Method to create new work, under the umbrella of Temputenshiki (天賦典式).

An early observation made by the cast was that the concept of “Temputenshiki” applied
not only to Maro’s training method and Butoh‑based performance style, but also his

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company’s culture (Roundtable Discussion, 2nd August 2015). In the orientation speech
to the Summer Camp participants by Muramatsu Takuya,59 he explained that for them
Temputenshiki and Butoh are a way of life, and included everything on the stage as well
as off the stage:

We expect you to participate in a system of communal living while you are with us
because everything you do here – cooking, washing up, cleaning the floors, making your
own costumes – is Butoh training! There are lots of restrictions which you are expected to
follow here, but it’s just the same as the choreography. (Artist’s Journal, 1st August 2015)

For both Maro and Muramatsu, Temputenshiki entwines the sacred and the profane
worlds of art and life. The process of choreography for Dairakudakan, then, involves
“capturing the interesting moments in life and freezing them through rituals” (Maro,
Artist’s Journal, 1st August 2014).

In a recent review of their production Mushi no Hoshi (Space Insect), one critic sums up:

Dairakudakan, led by Maro Akaji, practice a unique style of Butoh he calls temputenshiki
(literally, “natural gift style”: being born into the world is a great talent in its own
right). It  collects what Maro terms miburi‑teburi, forgotten yet elementary human
movements and behaviour, and reconfigures them as dance. (2016, under “Dairakudakan
Temputenshiki Space Insect”)

Whilst a large part of choreography we learnt for the performance was already in
place, we came to understand that Maro had created it by weaving together miburi
(purposeless movement), created by the Dairakudakan dancers in rehearsal, with
various igata (moulds) drawn from art and mythology across cultures that have inspired
him. Maro acknowledges:

I sometimes borrow from other forms of art such as paintings, literature, and music to
develop my world of Butoh. Collaborating with other forms of art, I create … ”sakuhin”
(pieces) in my work. (2007, 4)

For this reason the choreographers at Dairakudakan are called shinchu (振鋳), because
“chu” means “mould” and “shin” means “to make somebody do something” or “the
maker”. Therefore the literal translation for the Dairakudakan choreographer is “the
person who gives the dancers the moulds” or “the mould‑maker”, according to Yuyama
Daiichiro (30th July, 2014).

59 Muramatsu Takuya is credited as the Head Teacher and most senior dancer after Maro in Dairakudakan. His role,
which includes directing productions for the company in Japan and abroad, is similar to “Associate Director”
in Australia. However, to my knowledge, Dairakudakan never refers to him in this capacity. The company’s
hierarchy of seniority operates on a typical Japanese system of longevity. So the ranking is created almost
exclusively according to when a dancer joined the company, which (with rare exceptions) appears to equate to
their relative skill‑level. Their roles, both on and off the stage, are largely determined by this hierarchy.

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PHOTO 50: Igata from Natsu no Inori (A Summer’s Prayer).


Wayne Jennings, Jaqueline Marriott. Photos: Lynne Bradley (2015).

In the piece the Zen Zen Zo cast performed during the 2015 Summer Camp, the
choreography drew from a wide range of well‑known sources to create the igata,
including: the famous “faun” pose of Russian ballet dancer Nijinsky; postures from
Flamenco; statues of the Japanese goddess of mercy, Kannon; and the fierce Nio warriors
that guard temple gates from evil spirits. In rehearsal Maro encouraged the performers
to be “loyal” to the forms and to “respect” them. He remonstrated that, “if you try to do
or express something by yourselves it will become boring. So disappear yourself! Let
yourself die and let the space around you live!” (4th August 2015) In this sense, as Maro
confirmed, the choreography is “part shape, part space” (5th August 2015). For this reason
he would sometimes say, “Your ma is decayed”, meaning that he perceived a performer
to be doing too much or too little in terms of the space around their bodies. Enigmatically
he would then posit that they could easily change their “decayed ma” into “fermented
ma”, like a good wine or cheese, if they just took more care of it (5th August 2015). As a
specific example, Muramatsu would encourage the performers when moving forward in
the space to feel and show twice as much space behind them. To help them achieve this
he suggested the images of “carrying your history on your back” or “dragging your life
like a heavy embroidered cloak behind you” (5th August 2015). Senior dancer Ikko Tamura
similarly challenged the participants to “taste the space around your body as if all your
skin is covered in tongues” or “write your name with your body – now do it again as if
you’re writing on the far away mountain side” (2nd August 2015). The goal was to enliven
all the ma space around the performer’s body and to make it denser by utilising evocative
imagery and extending his/her spatio‑temporal awareness. Maro also cautioned the
participants not to “think the images,” but rather to allow them to “go directly into the
body,” and that there was a big difference between the two in terms of the resultant

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movement from an audience’s perspective. The cast found these rehearsal notes, given
by Maro, Muramatsu and Ikko leading up the performance of Natsu no Inori (A Summer’s
Prayer), helped them to understand more concretely the various stages of Maro’s Method
in the devising and performing process (Roundtable Discussion, 18th August 2015).

When asked about the starting point for his new works, Maro responded by saying he
usually begins with a piece of art, a book, or an idea that fascinates him. He gave the
example of his last two shows emerging out of an obsession with insects and viruses,
respectively (3rd August 2015). Once you have selected the central idea, according to
Maro, you then need to “collapse what you know” to really understand something. From
here he returns to the body and the miburi gestures and behaviours that tumble out of
it. He collates these like “sifting through rubbish,” collecting the “tasty bits,” and builds
them up into a dance (3rd August 2015). He claims this is a much more fruitful method of
choreography than working from a piece of music: “If I hear a piece of music first, the
image of the music will come first and I will try to make the movement of my body follow
that image. That’s not interesting I feel.” (1991, 7) Similarly, if you start from a literal
interpretation of your core idea the work will also be dull, according to Maro. He likens
his process of art making to positioning the audience as “peeping toms” by only providing
short glimpses of meaning for them to work with:

If you have a hole in the wall between your house and your neighbours, you’d probably
watch for hours! (Everyone laughs). Because you can only see a bit of what’s happening,
so your imagination is filling in the rest – making a rich world and story and interpretation
around what you can see and hear. I want to create theatre like this, with a small hole for the
audience to see in and make up their own stories about what’s going on. (30th July 2012)

In this sense Maro is drawing on the Japanese


traditional aesthetic principle of yūgen 
(幽玄) which means “obscured”. It is used in
Japanese art to point to something, rather
than to show it directly. Art critic Ōmoto
cites the example of a painting portraying
a full moon partially hidden behind a cloud.
With the moon partly obscured, the viewer
is invited to use their imagination (deemed
to be richer than anything the artist could
render) to complete the picture and bring
it to life (in Sanders 1988, 151‑152).

PHOTO 51: Maro Akaji. Natsu no Inori (A Summer’s


Prayer). Photo: Simon Woods (2015).

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4.3.3 Experimentation and Synthesis


Having spent time observing and practicing Dairakudakan’s use of Maro’s Method to
devise and create new work, the time came for us to return to our own developing work.
The goal was to allow the knowledge and skills we had gained in Japan to organically
make their way into the emergent performance as part of the Creative Development
process. This occurred in a number of expected and unexpected ways.

PHOTO 52: Natsu no Inori (A Summer’s Prayer). Shioya Tomoshi, Takakuwa Akiko,
Yuta Kobayashi, Saimon Yuna. Photo: Simon Woods (2015).

4.3.3.1 The Emergent Concept


It gradually became apparent that the Zen Zen Zo company’s interest in Tanizaki’s In
Praise of Shadows as one of the core inspirations for the developing work was waning.
There was a general feeling that, whilst the meditations in Tanizaki’s 1933 essay on
“shadow” were interesting and certainly had relevance to Butoh, the cast felt less
connected to the material than they had before they arrived in Japan (Roundtable
Discussion, 7th August 2015). Talking to the Dairakudakan members, who had no
interest in Tanizaki’s essay and dismissed it as something archaic with little relevance
to them, made the cast rethink their position on the essay. In a Roundtable Discussion
we asked the question as to whether the initial interest in Tanizaki’s essay had been the
result of viewing the work through an Orientalist lens? (25th August 2015) Perhaps this
had created a fascination with something exotic and other to our usual way of thinking
about light/darkness/shadow both from an aesthetic and philosophical point of view?
Even Maro, who enjoyed the essay, questioned Tanizaki’s motivations:

When Tanizaki writes about [shadow] he suggests that it has some great significance,
that this is something very deep in the tradition of the Japanese culture. I think the way
he presents it is as if it has some kind of real depth as a concept and that’s because he’s a
good writer. He knows how to express things well! But I grew up in the shadows, in places

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that weren’t properly lit. I actually think that Tanizaki himself lived in cleaner and more
well‑lit places! But that sense of some kind of ill‑defined space from which something is
going to emerge, the intermediate colours …. ”We’d like to make it much lighter, but we’ll
live with less light; we’ll suppress the light” – that kind of attitude I think is still common
in Japan. It wouldn’t be true if I said I wasn’t influenced by that kind of thing, but I don’t
consider it to be a main theme of mine. (Interview, 22nd July 2014)

At the same time that the cast were beginning to problematise Tanizaki’s essay,
something else caught their attention. In one of Maro’s night‑time lectures he had said:

When I sleep I dream strange, unspeakable things. When I wake I cannot do them, so I
dance them! (3rd August 2010)60

This idea seemed to take root during the Summer Camp, and I noted a series of discussions
regarding the vibrancy of the Zen Zen Zo members’ dreams during this period, and
whether or not this was connected to their nightly exploration of the subterranean
world of miburi/teburi in Maro’s classes. A particularly fruitful conversation took place
one morning about the various “flying dreams” the cast members had experienced,
both leading up to and during the Summer Camp, which were incredibly varied in terms
of the modalities of “flying” (Artist’s Journal, 7th August 2015). The texture and tone of
the casts’ dreams were also vastly different, ranging from the overtly erotic, through the
utterly hilarious and absurd, to the deeply sad. The theatrical potential of this material
began to excite us, and a preliminary discussion was had between several members
about the artistic challenge of staging dreams, and capturing the anti‑rational quality
of dream states, in live performance (Artist’s Journal, 8th August 2015). Was it possible
to achieve what the Surrealist painters of last century had done so successfully in their
visual art works?

PHOTO 53: Natsu no Inori (A Summer’s Prayer). Zen Zen Zo members perform
alongside Dairakudakan member. Photo: Simon Woods (2015).

60 Whilst this was a quote from a lecture in 2010, I had shared it with the cast at the start of the Summer Camp in
2015, and Maro alluded to this idea throughout his classes.

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Yuyama Daiichiro, who by this time had been given permission to join the project as a
performer by Maro and producer Shinfune Yoko, also expressed a keen interest in this
challenge over dinner one evening (Artist’s Journal, 7th August 2015). Before becoming
a Butoh dancer Yuyama had studied existentialist philosophy at Kyoto University, and
had therefore been attracted to Butoh’s connections to existentialism, absurdism and
surrealism. He was also keen to collaborate once more with Zen Zen Zo, having spent a
month in Brisbane in 2009 working on GAIA.

PHOTO 54: Yuyama Daiichiro and Lynne Bradley. Dairakudakan Summer Camp.
Photo: Yamamoto Ryo (2015).

On our return trip to Australia the Zen Zen Zo cast continued to meditate on the
fertile concept of “dancing unspeakable dreams”, which we felt we had unwittingly
“tripped” or “fallen” into. On the one hand the idea seemed completely surprising and
unexpected as the throughline for the show, and on the other hand utterly inevitable
given the nature of the work we had been doing with Dairakudakan. For me personally
the emergent concept also linked several thematic threads in the research project to
date, including:

1. Maro’s idea of “playing” in the nonsensical world that opens up to us during


altered state experiences, including dreaming.

2. The idea of “capturing” the anti‑rational miburi/teburi movement (from our


dreams) and using this as a devising technique to create choreography.

3. The strong link between Jung’s Shadow Archetype and Maro’s acknowledgement
that his dances are the manifestations of his “dark, unspeakable dreams”.

The relationship between Butoh and the inverted world of sleep and dreaming was also
something Butoh co‑founder Hijikata Tatsumi had meditated upon. In a 1977 interview
with Suzuki Tadashi and Senda Akihiko, he stated:

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What is certain to me is that your measure is properly taken only when you get into bed,
and when you wake it falls apart, even the furniture. That’s why being in bed is reality and
getting up from it is a dream. (2000, 67)

The decision was therefore made on the shinkansen (bullet train) from Hakuba to Tōkyō
at the conclusion of the summer camp to focus on Maro’s quote, with all of the above
resonances, as the “creative hook” for In the Company of Shadows moving forward. The
entry in my Artist’s Journal the following day (10th August 2015) records the proposed
dramaturgical framework as follows:

Dramatic Question/Statement:
“When I sleep I dream strange, unspeakable things. When I wake I cannot do them, so I
dance them!”

Structure:
One night’s journey through the Shadowlands of one’s dreams (ending with the moment
of waking and confronting one’s “unspeakable dreams/ Shadow”).

Anchor:
Scott or Yuyama as the Sandman/dream narrator (guiding the audience through the
dream sequences)?

In our final debrief for the Creative Development (1st December 2015) it was noted that
the idea for the production had emerged organically out of the experience of being
embedded within the culture of Dairakudakan and the transcultural exchange that
took place as a result.

4.3.4 Cycles of Divergent Thinking


Upon our return to Australia in August, 2015, we began the second phase of the
Creative Development at the Zen Zen Zo studio and The Loft at QUT. Following a
loose innovation structure of ideation, incubation, execution (with cycles of divergent
thinking to knit the emergent work together), we developed a selection of performance
pieces which explored the dramaturgical territory of dreams, the Shadow space and
“unspeakability,” with Maro’s Method as the connecting thread. Several new artists were
invited to join the project at this juncture as we realised that the creative concept of the
emergent work would require a greater number of performers to realise. These artists
included Jordan Abil, Gina Limpus, Aurora Liddle‑Christie, Stuart Nix and Jennifer
Hogan. Further, I invited long‑term Zen Zen Zo company members Drew der Kinderen
and Melissa Budd to choreograph two of the dreams. Both had trained and performed
in Japan with Dairakudakan and worked on GAIA in 2009, so I felt confident in their
knowledge of Maro’s Method and past experience with Butoh.

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During this ensuing incubation stage of the Creative Development process, solutions
to creative problems were worked through and unusual combinations of associated
ideas began to appear. In the context of Cultural Translation, this phase equates to
Eugene Nida’s period of transfer (see Figure 4). The translator is in between the stages
of decoding and recoding, experimenting with creative interpretations of the source
text and, where equivalence is impossible, searching for interpretants. For me, this
included a full exploration of Jung’s Shadow Archetype and Carnival Theory to mine
the possibilities for the process of transculturation as we transposed Butoh into the
Australian landscape (see 2.3.3).

The Creative Development also included extensive experimentation with hybridity in


search of Bhabha’s Third Space as a zone for resistance, subversion and transgression.
In both the training and devising sessions we combined Maro’s Method of Butoh with
other styles and techniques, including: the Suzuki Method, Viewpoints, Composition,
Circus, Clowning, Standup, Satire, Camp, Tap Dance, Contemporary Dance, Hip Hop,
and Horror. We also explored the cross‑fertilisation of Butoh with language, in various
modalities (discussed below), as well as Butoh’s complex relationship to music. Finally,
we investigated the possibilities of interfacing Butoh with film and digital technologies.
Through trial and error, and numerous failures, we finally proposed a series of
“negotiable” and “non‑negotiable” elements that for us defined the borders of Butoh.

This process of hybridisation was fueled by the cross‑pollination of contributors from


diverse backgrounds and disciplines (see 2.4.2). This meeting of disparate ideas during
the ideation process in our Creative Development created what Henri Poincaré terms
“valuable” and “sterile” combinations (1913, 389). In order to ensure the production of
enough “valuable” combinations, we had produced around a dozen possible dream
sequences by the time of the Work‑in‑Progress showing in December. The following
recounts one of the many experiments with hybridity, during this divergent‑thinking
phase of the Creative Development, that typically yielded both successes and failures.

4.3.4.1 Butoh and Text: To Speak the Unspeakable


In an early analysis of Butoh during the first phase of the Creative Development in
Japan, the cast established that one of the non‑negotiable elements of Butoh for
them was the complete absence of the spoken word in performance (Roundtable
Discussion, 8th August 2015). Whilst Japanese Butoh dancers often use sounds called
kikkake to signal cues in the choreography (because they are not working to the music
but rather through it), they never speak on stage (Alishina 2015, 230). Working with
writer and spoken word artist Scott Wings, the cast of In the Company of Shadows
were keen to challenge this and see if we could create a three‑way link between the
anti‑rational spaces of poetry, Butoh, and dreams. We created a series of pieces in which

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the performers recited poems they had written in devising exercises based on their
dreams (see Appendix 7.8.2); recounted nonsensical dreams they had recorded in
Dream Journals (see Appendix 7.8.3); and worked to pre‑recorded voiceovers of Scott
reciting his poetry (see Appendix 7.8.4). Towards the end of the Creative Development
the cast concluded that spoken text, even when highly poetic or nonsensical, appeared
to bring a “rational” or “analytical” quality to the performance moment on stage, and
disrupted the anti‑rational space of the dream sequences for the audience (Roundtable
Discussion, 3rd November 2015).

PHOTO 55: Scott Wings. Creative Development (Actor’s Dojo). Photo: Lynne Bradley (2015).

A partial answer to this artistic impasse was offered by Sean Mee (Personal Discussion,
16th September 2015). He proposed the theory that movement is a human being’s “first
language” which the baby uses as the primary mode of communication for the first
1‐2 years of its life, before learning to speak. He referenced videos of babies expressing
basic needs and emotions to caregivers through movement and gesture alone. We
were struck by the similarity in movement to Maro’s Method of Butoh, and the cast
conjectured that Butoh’s affinity with this pre‐verbal phase of human life might account
for why Butoh and words were proving to be a “sterile combination.” 61 Further, it struck
me one day following a frustratingly unproductive session, that the very adjective
Maro had used in the key quote to describe his dreams was “unspeakable.”  The dreams
(as  they were manifesting in the emergent work) therefore appeared to be, literally,
places of “unspeakability.”62

61 It should be noted that Robert Lewis’ research (2011; 2013) counters this notion and looks at (Post-) Butoh
performance work that incorporates sound and text successfully in a range of scenarios.
62 It was a bitter‑sweet realisation because it meant we would no longer be able to utilise the significant talents of
Scott Wings in the production as a writer or performer. As Scott had been involved in the discussions about the
project from the beginning (after a particularly fruitful collaboration in 2012 on the Zen Zen Zo production Here
There Be Dragons) it was an unexpected outcome.

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Australian academic and director Robert Lewis counters the argument that Butoh must
remain a silent form with accounts of his successful experimentation through the Voice
Theatre Lab with Butoh and voice integration (2011; 2013). In line with this research,
in our next phase of experimentation with movement and text we unearthed some
productive findings that led to the development of pieces that were ultimately included
in the final performance (see 4.4.3). Creative writing tasks – such as the Surrealist
game of Exquisite Corpse,63 free‑association writing exercises, and dream journals –
produced excellent results in terms of generating text. These “scripts” were then used in
combination with Maro’s Method to generate movement scores, which we referred to
as “Butoh Fu” (Butoh notation/poems). Kurihara Nanako explains the origins of Butoh Fu,
which is now a common component of most Butoh artists’ repertoire:

Hijikata trained his dancers and choreographed works using words. His dance was
notated by words called butoh‑fu (butoh notation) ... But Hijikata’s words are not easy.
Often his writings are strange, equivocal, and incomprehensible even for Japanese people
.... He freely coined his own terms, such as “ma‑gusare” (rotting space) and “nadare‑ame”
(dribbling candy). His writings are like surrealistic poems. (Kurihara, 2000: 14 – 15)

For us, the Butoh Fu we wrote as an amalgam of the cast’s dreams, were equally
surreal. “Unspeakable Dreams,” a Butoh Fu we created on 1st September, 2015, became
the first version of the final piece in the Sensual and Sublime dream sequence (see
Appendix 7.10.2: Creative Development Video).

PHOTO 56: In the Company of Shadows. Nevin Howell, Gina Limpus, James Kendall, Travis Weiner.
Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

63 Exquisite Corpse is a game by which a collection of images words or images is collectively assembled. Each
participant adds to a composition in sequence, either by following a structural rule or by only being allowed to
see the end of what the previous person contributed. Surrealist founder André Breton reported that it started as
a game around 1925 but later became a much‑used method by the Surrealists.

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During this phase of experimentation with language, we also found that song
appeared to bypass the rational brain more effectively than the spoken word. This
led to us integrating song and vocal scoring into the dreamscapes in a largely organic
way as we devised new pieces. Further, a series of experiments was conducted by
the musical director Wayne Jennings, and musician/composer Richard Grantham, in
conjunction with the singers Jennifer Hogan and Gina Limpus, to explore the interface
between anti‑rational text/song/music. Meditating on the successes and failures,
Wayne comments:

Song does have its own special realities and expectations attached to that. We used song
very specifically in the context of a lullaby. And so with people in bed, a lullaby, well I think
we really could have been singing anything. There wasn’t any specific meaning other
than, this is a song about sleep. If they were listening they would have caught that it was
a bit odd. We did do that experiment with changing the text of the song to gibberish or to
other languages as well. We also did some Viewpoints work in scenes using gibberish and
foreign languages to see if we could provide speech without meaning. Why that didn’t
work, I’m not sure… (Roundtable Discussion, 5th September 2016)

In summary, the attempt to marry spoken text and Butoh in the context of a dreamscape
became relegated to the “graveyard of fabulous failures” (Roundtable Discussion,
17th November 2015). Nonetheless, we ended up using song and placing the written
text we had generated below the surface of the work, as the invisible score for much of
the movement, so it became an exercise in “swallowing the Shadow” (Artist’s Journal,
7th December 2015).

Once more we realised that we were returning to Maro’s Method, in the sense that Maro
uses language as a stimulus, something to fill the igata (moulds) and create movement
in the chūtai (space‑body), in order to generate choreography. Maro explains:

Basically the words are a means to an end like a Zen koan …. The body is like a mould
that is incapable of motion by itself. But you can move the body by making it respond to
words …. But that doesn’t mean the final movement is an embodiment of the words. The
meaning lies somewhere else. The body drinks in the words and they completely dissolve
there, leaving only the state of the body, with its movements, and that state, or whatever
you wish to call it, is all that exists. (2005, in “Artist’s Interview”)

4.3.5 Convergence
On December 1st we presented a Work‑in‑Progress showing to the creative team,
members of the Actor’s Dojo, and invited guests. We then elicited feedback from
the audience about the progress of the work via email, phone conversations and
one‑on‑one meetings. As a result, some key changes to the emerging work, In the
Company of Shadows, were implemented at the conclusion of the second creative
practice cycle. These included:

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1. The decision to largely adhere to the wordless aesthetic of Butoh and keep the
placement of text in the form of song lyrics or at a subliminal level, below the
surface of the performance.64

2. I also restructured the production to incorporate immersive, intimate, and


“choose‐your‐own‐adventure” theatre elements (hallmarks of Zen Zen Zo’s
work since 1998)65 by framing In the Company of Shadows as a Sleepover for an
intimate audience of four who would view a series of shared dreams (selected
by them at the time of booking) from a movable bed.

3. In order to maximise audience numbers, the cast agreed to perform four


25‑minute shows per night.

4. To top and tail the 25‑minute “dream sequences” I decided to create a


transitional immersive experience for the audience from the time they arrived
at the theatre (reconstructed as the “Zen Zen Zo Family Home”) until they
went to bed (and the show proper began). This included being greeted and
entertained by members of the “extended Zen Zen Zo family,” being dressed
in pyjamas, sharing a pre‑sleep hot chocolate, and bedtime stories. After the
audience “woke up” from their night of dreaming, they were also offered a
breakfast of orange juice and croissants.

PHOTO 57: Natasha Currant Welcoming the


Audience. In the Company of Shadows.
Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

The creative decision to limit the audience capacity to four patrons per show and to
transport them on a moving bed was received by members of the creative team and
stakeholders in contrasting ways. David Walters recalls:

64 An example of how we continued to incorporate text was the use of poems compiled from the collective images
of the cast’s dreams that were then used to score the choreography, loosely following a Butoh Fu technique.
65 As part of Zen Zen Zo’s larger innovation agenda, we had introduced both Immersive Theatre and Intimate Theatre
to Brisbane in our productions of Macbeth: As Told by the Weird Sisters (1998‑2002) and Sub‑Con Warrior 1 (2006),
and have utilised them extensively over the past 18 years. In both Sub‑Con Warrior 1 (2006) and Sub‑Con Warrior
2.0 (2008) we explored a “choose‑your‑own‑adventure” model with multiple narrative paths for the audience to
select and experience simultaneously.

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I think I came to grips with just what a different show it was when I realised that when I was
actually going to plot the show I wouldn’t be sitting at a production desk I would be lying
in a bed being wheeled around. That kind of really upended my sense of this not being a
normal show, and thinking, “this is something all together different!” I think the decision
to go with an audience of four was really interesting. I remember when I went to the
Work‑In‑Progress showing and there was stuff that didn’t work, and there was stuff that
was really interesting, and I remember our little meeting afterwards. I remember that you
sat down and had a big kind of think‑tank in your own brain after that and came back with,
“this is what I think we should do.” I can remember being in extraordinary concurrence
with what you said because you seemed to pick the eyes out of what was good, get rid of
some of the detritus, and really go to places that I found was interesting. (26th May 2016)

PHOTO 58: Lighting Plot. In the Company of Shadows. Yuyama Daiichiro, Lynne Bradley,
Bill Haycock, David Walters. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

On the other hand, the new concept confounded Dairakudakan. Associate Producer
Yamamoto Ryo emailed me to say:

We, included Maro and Yoko, are very surprised that audience is 12 persons per night. Is
it public performance? We don’t think it’s public performance …. If you want to show for
Zen Zen Zo audiences, which we know are very large, this performance will be for very
small capacity. How is this financially possible?? (9th December 2015).

Interestingly, at the conclusion of the project in April 2016, Dairakudakan performer


Yuyama Daiichiro, in his exit interview, reflected:

I have been very interested in your decision to use a moving bed in this show and have
a strange relationship to a very small audience. At first we all thought you were a little
bit crazy, but now I’m sure Maro will want to put it into our next Dairakudkan work!
(8th April 2016)

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PHOTO 59: Lynne and Maro Akaji: Photos: Mark Hill and Drew der Kinderen (2007, 2012, 2014).

Hearing this I was reminded of Slimbach’s use of “the embrace” as a metaphor to


describe the relationship that takes place during transcultural exchange. In order for it
to be productive, the hug needs to be both firm and soft. By way of example, Slimbach
quotes writer Miroslav Volf:

I may not close my arms around the other too tightly, so as to crush her and assimilate her,
otherwise I will be engaged in a concealed power‑act of exclusion; an embrace would
be perverted into a “bear‑hug.” Similarly, I must keep the boundaries of my own self
firm, offer resistance; otherwise I will be engaged in a self‑destructive act of abnegation
(Volf,  1996, 143).

The ongoing relationship with Dairakudakan was like this “hug.” I was cognisant of
the need to stay true to my own artistic practice whilst respectfully translating Maro’s
Method into a new cultural context. The
temptation, on the other hand, when working
transculturally is to create work that stops at
the imitation phase of emulating our heroes,
motivated by a deep desire to please them. A
number of the cast recounted initially feeling
this eagerness to please Dairakudakan whilst
working in Japan, before gradually learning
to relax and hold their own ground during
what eventually became a really productive
period of Deep Hanging Out. Travis Weiner PHOTO 60: Wakaba Kohei, Matsuda Atsushi,
Dale Thorburn, Tamura Ikko.
recalls: Photo: Lynne Bradley.

I just wanted to be polite, and I just wanted to please them. And I thought the best way
to please them is to just to be good at the dance and do that well. So that’s what I did on
the stage. But then, after there was no pressure to be good or whatever, at the post‑show
party all there was to do was to just hang out. And it went from there … [Hanging out

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and] when they laughed at the things they were saying or doing, you couldn’t understand
it but you could tell it was funny and you just laughed with them. Yeah, I think laughing
was the most humanising thing, when we all laughed together. (Roundtable Discussion,
5th September 2016)

Wayne Jennings also recalled the transition from feeling overwhelmed by the cultural
embrace to finding a place of equilibrium within it:

I’m reasonably socially inhibited and I have no fluent Japanese at all. So I probably didn’t
interact that intensely at the start. So I’d say I began by having a very shallow hanging out
experience. That said, it was an incredibly valuable part of the learning for me in that I’d
come to Butoh largely with the attitude of “it’s kind of intriguing, I don’t really get it, I’m not
that interested.” But by getting that close to the practitioners, people who have devoted
their life to it, it really did humanise them as artists. After you guys had left, we did some
hanging out with Seiya who took us out to dinner and to Karaoke and things like that and
we ended all crashing at his house, and wandering around Tōkyō suburbs. And yes, he
stopped being this very intimidating, informed figure and became just this guy. Yeah, the
whole “deep hanging out” process definitely enabled me to break through my resistant
barriers of ignorance in that respect. (Roundtable Discussion, 5th September 2016)

This metaphor of the “cultural hug or embrace” was one that we took into the final round
of creative practice, as we embraced Maro’s Method in a new artistic and cultural space.

PHOTO 61: Lynne Bradley and Maro Akaji.


Dancing to Waltzing Matilda at the Final Party for Crazy Camel.
Photo: Drew der Kinderen (2014).

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4.4 CREATIVE PRACTICE CYCLE 3:
IN THE COMPANY OF SHADOWS (2016)
“Immature poets imitate;
mature poets steal;
bad poets deface what they take,
and good poets make it into something better,
or at least something different.
The good poet welds his theft into
a whole of feeling which is unique,
utterly different from that from which it was torn.”
(T.S. Eliot, 1921)

PHOTO 62: Travis Weiner and Jacqueline Marriott. In the Company of Shadows.
Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

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4. CREATIVE PRACTICE

4.4.1 Overview
The goals of the third creative practice cycle were:

1. To explore ways of “reconstructing” or “recoding” Maro’s Method of Butoh into


the contemporary performance production, In the Company of Shadows.

2. To utilise Cultural Translation theory as a framework to articulate this process


of transculturation.

The third and final iteration of practice took place during a three‑month period from
February to April 2016, and comprised the rehearsals and performances of In the
Company of Shadows. The production was presented by QUT Creative Industries and
QUT Precincts, in collaboration with Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre, Dairakudakan and
members of the Deep Blue Orchestra. Funded by Arts Queensland, QUT and Zen Zen
Zo, it had a performance season from 5th – 9th April at the The Loft, QUT.

Rehearsals were initially held one day per week and escalated to two weeks full‑time
leading up to the performance season, during which time Dairakudakan dancer and
translator Yuyama Daiichiro reengaged with the project. During the break between the
second and third creative practice cycles, I invited long‑term artistic collaborators James
Kendall (performer)66 and Bill Haycock (designer)67 to join In the Company of Shadows.
I also recruited five members of the Actor’s Dojo to play the “extended Zen Zen Zo
family” in the pre‑show experience: Isabel Arroyave, Natasha Currant, Luke Goss, Jail
Nino and Samara Sutton‑Baker. Furthermore, Adam Cadell and Evan Setiawan joined
Wayne Jennings and Richard Grantham to complete the musicians’ ensemble. Leading
into the final rehearsal period we were joined by production manager Nicole Gaulter,
stage manger Maddison Penglis, and design assistant Cally Cronk.

PHOTO 63: Jail Nino, James Kendall, Samara Sutton‑Baker, Luke Goss, Natasha Currant.
In the “Zen Zen Zo Family Living Room.” In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

66 James Kendall was part of the Zen Zen Zo company from 2008‑2013, during which time he performed in
multiple Zen Zen Zo productions including Zeitgeist (2008‑2011), The Tempest (2009), GAIA (2009), Cabaret
(2011), and 2012: Apocalypse (2011).
67 Bill Haycock replaced French designer Elise Gettlieffe, who was offered work in a fashion house in Paris during
the period of the show.

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In the conceptual planning period between the Creative Development showing and the
start of rehearsals, in part as a response to feedback gathered from the Work‑In‑Progress
showing,68 the decision was made to offer two “dream sequences” for the audience to
select when booking – Naughty and (Not So) Nice or Sensual and Sublime. This allowed
the cast and creative team to gather the best material generated during the Creative
Development into two 25‑minute packages (see Figure 15).

FIGURE 15: Dramaturgical Map for In the Company of Shadows (2015).

68 Feedback pointed to two very different strands of material that could loosely be described as “comedy” and
“drama”. Whilst we had initially planned to mix these in the show, the general consensus was that they had strayed
too far apart in tone for this to occur. We therefore decided to separate them into two different self‑contained
pieces, themed as dream sequences. Interestingly, by the time the show was staged, the two sequences had found
a relational synergy and could likely have been merged into one 50‑minute piece. (Artist’s Journal, 15th April 2016)

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4. CREATIVE PRACTICE

The whole experience of In the Company of Shadows was then framed as a “sleepover”
for the guests who were sent “invitations” (rather than tickets) when they booked
(see Figure 16).

FIGURE 16: Sleepover Invitation for In the Company of Shadows (2016).

4.4.2 Observation and Learning


At the start of the rehearsal period I refocused the cast and creative team on the
overarching goal of transculturation. Returning to Eugene Nida’s model of translation,
we were reminded of the three‑step process of analysis, transfer and reconstruction
(see Figure 4):

The translator first analyses the message of the source language into its simplest and
structurally clearest forms, transfers it at this level, and then restructures it to the level
in the receptor language which is most appropriate for the audience which he intends
to reach (Nida and Taber 1969, 484).

Revisiting Carl Weber’s definition of transculturation, we were struck by the similarity


with Nida’s model:

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Often the foreign text is deconstructed, the resultant findings are then rearranged
according to the codes inscribed in the native culture, and an original performance text
constructed. Eventually, the model “dis‑appears” in a new text or technique, which gains
its own identity of form and of content. (Weber 1991, 34)

The rehearsal period, therefore, became the space in which to explore how Maro’s
Method would ultimately “dis‑appear” in the final work as it transformed into a new
“text” with its own identity. In this evolution we were cognisant of the double meaning
of “dis‑appear”, namely to become invisible, and to appear in a new context or framing.

PHOTO 64: Maro Akaji. Hakuba, Japan. Photo: Simon Woods (2015).

At the same time this process of transculturation was occurring, there was an underlying
tension regarding how far from the original “text” we could deviate. At this point I
returned to Bhabha’s notion of a translation as an “afterlife” or a tangent that “touches
the original [text] lightly and only at the infinitely small point of the sense, thereupon
pursuing its own course” (1955, 80‑81). Nonetheless, during the rehearsal period prior to
Yuyama’s arrival, I questioned whether Maro would approve of the Cultural Translations
we were producing of his method as the tangents veered far and wide. On the one hand
I felt confident that the innovations were grounded in a deep and informed practice that
had developed over a decade. Further, as the cast noted, the utilisation of Maro’s Method
grew out of an attitude of deep respect for Dairakudakan (Roundtable Discussion,
8th September 2015). In this sense, we were attempting to follow Austin Kleon’s model
(see Figure 3) of “good” artistic theft, with its priority on honouring, studying, crediting,
transforming and remixing (as opposed to degrading, skimming, plagiarising, imitating
and ripping off).

Writer Scott Wings, who likened our attempt to “remix” Maro’s Method to the
transformative process of “Flipping It” in Hip Hop, recorded our innovation journey as
follows (Artist’s Journal, 8th August 2015):

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1. Put the kettle on 5. Panic


2. Subvert 6. Do it
3. Revert 7. Drink tea…
4. Follow instinct

The occasional moments of “panic” for me, in the roles of director, co‑choreographer
and primary translator of Maro’s Method, were not so much motivated by a fear of
failure but rather a desire not to upset or offend Maro. It became apparent, as the
project unfolded, that the fear of offending (or its twin, the desire to please) was shared
by the majority of the cast (Roundtable Discussion, 5th September 2015). I came to
realise, therefore, that it was a byproduct, or a double‑edged sword, of the long‑term
relationship of entanglement between the two companies built upon mutual respect.

PHOTO 65: Cast of In the Company of Shadows with Maro Akaji and Lynne Bradley.
Backstage, Natsu no Inori (A Summer’s Prayer). Photo: Simon Woods (2015).

Nonetheless, I felt this period of complete independence from Dairakudakan in the


making process of In the Company of Shadows was an important step in the twin
and entwined processes of innovation and Cultural Translation. I was also buoyed by
a conversation with Yamamoto Ryo in 2014, recorded in my Artist’s Journal, which
touched upon Maro’s attitude towards Butoh and innovation:

Ryo asked me today at lunch what our next Butoh production would be. I clarified that
Zen Zen Zo no longer calls our dance‑theatre work “Butoh”. She was surprised and
asked why. I explained that since 2008 I felt that we had cross‑fertilised the Butoh form
with so many other influences, including cabaret, contemporary dance, performance art,
comedy, clown and so on, that I no longer felt it was right to call it “Butoh”, that it would
be a misrepresentation. She quickly and emphatically disagreed saying that Maro believed
what we were doing was “the real Butoh.” When I asked what he meant, she explained

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that for Maro, Butoh by its very nature is an eclectic and avant‑garde form that needs
to be constantly at the edge of the “next thing.” Therefore it is constantly shifting and
transforming. She went on to say that Maro and the Dairakudakan members thought
that many Westerners who claimed to be dancing “Butoh” were only imitating the Butoh
form as it existed 30‑40 years ago. Therefore it was already dead and not Butoh at all.
(1st August 2014)

In addition, Maro’s last words to all the participants at the 2015 Summer Camp during
his final lecture had been: “Please experiment with my training and take it back to your
own countries!” (5th August). Later Yuyama confirmed that Maro’s hope, when teaching
his method, was to give people the “Butoh virus”:

Maro often says to new students, “You got to think about Butoh like a virus. I’m having
fun every time spreading it. The Butoh virus is spreading now. You’ve got the Butoh virus
already!” Maro felt happy about making people “sick” with the Butoh virus. He knew they
would then go back to their countries and spread it to other people. (8th April 2016)

With this in mind I forged ahead, laying down the structure of the work in accordance
with what I came to call our “poet’s version” translation of Maro’s Method. This concept
of the “poet’s version” (see 2.6.2.4), developed by Cultural Translation theorist Lawrence
Venuti, became a key framework for In the Company of Shadows during the third creative
practice cycle. Mixing translation and adaptation, and weighting the translation towards
the receiving audience, we attempted to capture the spirit of the original.

PHOTO 66: Yuyama Daiichiro translating for Maro Akaji. Hakuba, Japan. Photo: Lynne Bradley (2015).

4.4.3 Experimentation and Synthesis


The goal of the rehearsal phase, therefore, became the restructuring of the material we
had deconstructed and analysed in the first and second cycles, as we attempted to find

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4. CREATIVE PRACTICE

“the new music” of Maro’s Method. Knowing that the departures were occurring not out
of ignorance, but rather out of a deep knowledge of and respect for the source text, we
gave ourselves permission (in the name of artistic innovation) to think laterally.

4.4.3.1 FORM: Immersive Theatre


After the Work‑In‑Progress showing, we decided to explore the possibility of the work
becoming an immersive theatre experience for the audience. “Immersive Theatre” is a
term that has become widely adopted in the past decade to designate performances
that use installations, site‑specific environments, mobile audiences, and invite audience
participation (White 2012, 221). Bruce Barton and Richard Windeyer expand:

One of the most compelling aspects of site‑specific theatre is the potential for heightened
immersion within a specific environment. Increased mobility (on the part of the
performance and its audience), combined with the inevitably performative architecture
of a hosting site, makes possible a pervasiveness of sensory stimulus unattainable in
conventional theatrical contexts. While these conditions appeal to the full range of the
senses, some modalities contribute to this experience with significantly more intensity
than others. (Barton and Windeyer 2012, 182)

Zen Zen Zo has been exploring this innovative performance modality in Australia
since the late 1990s, beginning with the production Macbeth: As Told by the Weird
Sisters (1998), which placed the audience inside a gutted theatre space and within the
unraveling world of Macbeth. Since then the company has staged multiple works that
utilise this form, whereby the action unfolds among/around/with the audience, most
notably in the Sub‑Con Warrior series (2006, 2008) and The Tempest (2009).

During the 2015 Summer Camp I was reminded that while Dairakudakan’s Butoh is in
many ways extremely radical, especially in the context of Japan, it is very conservative
in relation to the performer‑spectator relationship. This facet of contemporary
performance appears not to have been widely explored in Japan to date. In a
conversation with Yamamoto Ryo I confirmed that Dairakudakan (and indeed all
well‑known Butoh companies based in Japan) almost without exception stage their
productions in a traditional proscenium‑arch format, employing the 4th wall and a clear
spectator/performer divide, with no audience involvement. Yamamoto Ryo speculated
that Butoh needs to be viewed from the “front,” like a 2‑dimensional painting, because
of its focus on visual composition. (3rd August 2015).

Whilst acknowledging the highly visual component of Butoh as a performance style,


I was curious to explore its 3‑dimensional possibilities. If Butoh comprised the artist’s
attempt to realise or re‑create the “subterranean world,” I proposed that this experience
would be amplified if the audience were to be literally dropped into this anti‑rational
space. Drawing on Maro’s concept of chūtai (space‑body), and the exchange between

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FOUND IN TRANSLATION

the inside and outside spaces of the body through the porous skin of the performer,
I determined to disrupt the traditional audience/actor divide and play with notions of
inside/outside from a larger spatial perspective.

Initially we explored placing the audience in the centre of the studio inside a square
of pillows used to demarcate the metaphoric “bed” in which they were housed, with
their “dreams” unfolding around them in a 360‑degree panorama throughout the
performance. However, during the Work‑In‑Progress showing audience feedback
noted that:

1. The floor was uncomfortable (and not at all reminiscent of the relaxing state of sleeping)
2. Sightlines were poor at times because of the 360 degree configuration and an audience
of 30+
3. The concept of being immersed inside your own dream was excellent but could be pushed
further from a spatio‑temporal perspective
4. They loved the disorientation and intimacy of the “World Upside Down” sequence, which
took place above their heads as they lay on the pillows looking up, but not all audience
members got to experience that because of the disproportionate actor/spectator ratio
(Artist’s Journal, 2nd December 2015).
Three days later, in a moment that can only be explained as a byproduct of the
associative thinking and unconscious processing typical of the incubation phase, I
woke one morning having dreamed of a moving bed with four sleeping bodies, being
“flown” around the space as their surreal and unspeakable dreams unfolded. I realised I
had found the “anchor” for the show (see 7.8.1). This translation of Maro’s Method, which
played with Maro’s idea of transgressing borders, exchanging inside/outside spaces,
and inviting the audience on the journey through the “crack” and into the subterranean
world of our unconscious, became the major form‑based innovation of the work.

4.4.3.2 PURPOSE: The Skopos of Maro’s Method


Keeping the idea of the receptor or audience’s experience paramount as we restructured
the work, we returned to Skopos Theory to analyse the purpose of the original text (see
2.6.1.5). According to Hans Vermeer, Skopos Theory proposes that:

Each text is produced for a given purpose and should serve this purpose. The Skopos
rule thus reads as follows: translate/interpret/speak/write in a way that enables your text/
translation to function in the situation in which it is used and with the people who want
to use it and precisely in the way they want it to function. (1989, 2)

Skopos Theory therefore also does not dictate how the text should be translated, only
that it should adhere to its core purpose, and allows the translator the right to draw
from the target language or culture to find the appropriate language and form.

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PHOTO 67: Wayne Jennings. “World Upside Down.”


In the Company of Shadows.
Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

In dramaturgical discussions with the cast and creative team, it was determined that
the purpose of Maro’s Method could be interpreted in the following ways (recorded in
my Artist’s Journal, 9th September 2015):

1. MANIFEST THE UNCONSCIOUS


Like Surrealism, which has its semantic roots in the Latin meaning “below reality” (Ulowetz
2015, 1‑2), Maro’s Method attempts to excavate and express on stage the irrational content
of our unconscious reality. Somewhat ironically, this includes the “purpose” of salvaging the
“purposeless” movement of miburi.

2. WUD (WORLD UPSIDE DOWN)


Like Carnival, Maro’s Method subverts hierarchical binaries such as reality/dream‑state,
rational/irrational, conscious/unconscious, visible/invisible, light/dark. Further, it creates
a “grotesque body” through the dissolution of boundaries and the radical exchange of
inside/outside.

3. MAKE STRANGE
Like Brecht’s verfremdungseffekt, the goal is simultaneously to distance and draw in or
engage the audience in a dialectical relationship of attraction/repulsion through various
“making strange” techniques. In ITCOS,69 these should include a number of techniques from
Surrealism, including: non‑sequitur; accidental associations; and irrational juxtaposition of
images; and the use of cubomania. From Butoh we should draw on various disruptive
characteristics, including: the white body paint; the grotesque body (including mask
work); extreme uses of tempo and duration (including bisoku);70 inhabiting the “no‑mind”;
and the body “being moved”.

69 “ITCOS” became the shorthand title used by the cast and creative team to refer to the production In the
Company of Shadows.
70 Bisoku is a technique I first experienced while training with Tess de Quincey in 1995, and refers to the use of
incrementally slow movement.

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4. BYPASS THE RATIONAL MIND


Like a Zen koan, Butoh attempts to bypass the logical mind in order to facilitate a direct
experience between the dancer and the audience. Therefore Butoh presents itself as an
anti‑rational style that is as multivalent and as open as possible to interpretation.

As we assembled the final pieces in rehearsals, therefore, we focused on achieving


these four goals throughout the work in order to bring Maro’s Method of Butoh to life in
a new context.

4.4.3.3 CONTENT: Cubomania and Montage


The approach we used to assemble many of the
pieces was a combination of Dairakudakan’s
creation methods, discovered during the
second creative practice cycle (see 4.3.2.2),
in combination with Zen Zen Zo’s principal
devising technique of Composition (see Figure
6).71 These were then paired with the Surrealist
technique of “Cubomania,” which we had
discovered during our early research period.
Cubomania is a method of making collages in
which a picture or image is cut into squares or
small pieces and these are then reassembled,
without regard for the image, creating an
entirely new work (Rosemont 2003,  500).

Zen Zen Zo Associate Director Drew der


Kinderen devised The Nightmare piece based
PHOTO 68: Jordan Abil. “The Nightmare.”
on this multi‑disciplinary approach. Starting
In the Company of Shadows.
with Maro’s Method to create sections of miburi Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

and teburi movement, and undertaking compositions with the cast based on their own
unspeakable nightmares, he compiled the most evocative images generated, then
rearranged them into the final piece. His notation of The Nightmare shows this collage
approach, which combines igata (called “containers” in his score) devised by a number
of different performers, and then structured with time/space directions and notes on
emotional intention (see Figure 17).

71 Composition is based on the filmic principle of montage and works to generate a series of short images or scenes,
divided by “blackouts” (achieved by asking the audience to open and close their eyes), to encourage quick, intuitive
decisions. In this sense, “Composition work functions the way sketching does for a painter” in that the performers
sketch out preliminary ideas which can be rearranged and used later in the final work of art (Bogart 2005, 137).

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FIGURE 17: Drew der Kinderen’s notation of The Nightmare.

His goal in using this combination of techniques in the context of The Nightmare, was to
“break the everyday habits … the patterns of movement embedded in the bodies of the
performers” in order to create something truly terrifying from an audience’s perspective
(11th November 2015). He reflects that the legacy of Maro’s Method, as exemplified by
this process, is manifold:

The work of Maro Akaji, and Dairakudakan, has opened up a plethora of devices that
help performers and creators build expressive and non‑rational movement material that
is simultaneously grounded in their own embodied experiences, and disassociated from
their everyday habits. (11th November 2015)

PHOTO 69: Stuart Nix. “The Nightmare.” In the Company of Shadows.


Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

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The final piece in the Sensual and Sublime sleepover, the eponymously titled dream
In the Company of Shadows, was choreographed by myself in a similar manner to The
Nightmare. During the Creative Development the cast recorded a series of unspeakable
dreams in a creative writing exercise that required them to write continuously without
stopping for an extended period of time (in order to minimise self‑censoring). Then
in pairs they created a Butoh Fu (Butoh poetry or notation) combining images drawn
from their collective dreams (see Appendix 7.8.2). From this point I selected some of
the most evocative and unspeakable images and dropped them into a training session
using Maro’s Method:

The train that does not stop speeds through the empty world
Zombie schoolgirl, legs wide open, as if beckoning to dog “come inside”
It feels like fate is pulling me
Towards an inevitable doom of green eyes and blinding whiteness
Water monsters and spiders and escapism in cupboards
Vibrations, hums, coffee, toffee
The beautiful, the non‑existent souls, are they here?
Large Venus Fly Traps grow high into the sky
A child falls, down, down, splat…
I dream dreams, I dream memes, I dream psychedelic dreams.

This produced a series of anti‑rational physical offers in response to the material, as the
performers allowed the images to move their bodies. Directly afterwards I facilitated
a rehearsal where the cast recreated the miburi/teburi movement generated during
this improvised training exercise (to the best of their memory). They then showed one
another and selected their favorite offers from the material produced by the group as a
whole. These were then collated into a movement sequence that became the first draft
of In the Company of Shadows (see 7.10.2: Creative Development Video). During the
rehearsals this piece was subsequently refined and each igata (mould) was filled with
multiple images to create a truly open and multivalent dream sequence. As outlined in
4.2.2.3, this is achieved by the performer holding multiple and often competing images
in the same performance moment. When rehearsing with Muramatsu on GAIA in 2009, I
recorded six things he had instructed me to attend to and cultivate. Number three was
“Multiple Meaning”:

MULTIPLE MEANING. Instead of settling for one meaning for any given movement,
Muramatsu was constantly encouraging me to think of different interpretations, and
would not let me lock in on one image/ emotional state. Simple example: he would say “you
must bite the earth as if you don’t know what it is with curiosity; and with destructive
power; and playfully like a child; and sexually like it’s your lover.” He said that if I did not
do this it would be too “boring” or simplistic – dead to the audience because they have

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nothing to do in terms of interpretation. I’m sure this is one of the reasons he changed
the choreography for the whole show so much, so that each new section had resonances
of the old choreo to make it richer, and more complex. (Artist’s Journal, 15th March 2009)

Therefore, for In the Company of Shadows, we constructed a series of images for the cast
to draw from, in addition to the original Butoh Fu, to fill each igata or section of miburi/
teburi movement throughout the piece. During rehearsals I continued to call out these
images to remind the dancers of the “unspeakable dream text” that lay beneath their
skins (like an invisible skeleton to “hang” the flesh of their performances on).

PHOTO 70: Nevin Howell, Yuyama Daiichiro, Gina Limpus. “In the Company of Shadows.”
In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

4.4.3.4 LAYERS: Design and Music


Working with long‑term creative collaborators Bill Haycock (designer), David Walters
(lighting designer),72 and Wayne Jennings (musical director),73 I started with an
exploration of Butoh and its relationship to shadow. One of the key “interpretants” being
employed to translate Maro’s Method was Jung’s Shadow Archetype, which also became
a central throughline thematically for examining the “unspeakable” aspect of dreams
(see 2.3.3.2). So defining the relationship between Butoh and the Shadow space was
key to understanding the dramaturgical framework for the entire show. Returning to
Skopos Theory’s focus on purpose as the key motivator in any new translation, I elicited
firstly what the designers, Haycock and Walters, understood the function of Butoh to be:

72 Prior to In the Company of Shadows, Bill Haycock and David Walters had worked on a number of Zen Zen Zo
projects since 2003, including The Odyssey (2004), Sub‑Con Warrior 1 (2006), Sub‑Con Warrior 2.0 (2008), Cabaret
(2011), 1001 Nights (2012) and Freda’s Girls (2014).
73 I had previously worked with Wayne Jennings on Here There Be Dragons in 2013, and he has also been a
long‑term member of the Actor’s Dojo, training with Zen Zen Zo since 2012.

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[It’s] about exploring the darker aspect, as a way of coming out into the light, I suppose;
out of the darkness into the light. As a way of moving forward, not to sort of hide it and
pretend it didn’t happen. But to keep exploring that and pushing it …. In the Company
of Shadows is a development of that idea that Butoh is dealing with the shadow. It’s like
a blinding light of an atomic bomb going off, but the shadow is like the negative blast
that’s left of that, which as I said, translates across all sorts of cultures, you know light and
dark, light and shade. So the form you’re using explores something that’s quite universal
because it’s so ubiquitous. You know that it’s everywhere – when you’ve got a strong
light, you’ve got a shadow. (Haycock, 27th April 2016)

PHOTO 71: Bill Haycock, Lynne Bradley, Evan Setiawan. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

[My] understanding of Butoh was that it was a way of really challenging the status quo,
really shaking up the normal standard perceptions of things. I think you were highly
successful there inasmuch as what you produced was a piece of theatre that really
challenged, in many different ways, the normal concepts of an audience‑performer
relationship. I know that Zen Zen Zo does that because that’s been one of the strongest
aspects of your performance style. But I think very much in this show, there were a whole
range of challenges that shook an audience into a different state. (Walters, 26th May 2016)

Jennings, having a more intimate knowledge of Maro’s Method of Butoh from his
first‑hand experience of training in Japan, reflected:

What I’ve taken away from that [experience] … is that the three main techniques that
he’s built his company around, all seem to be three ways of approaching the quest for an
irrational movement style. That seems to be the goal that he is going for. (30th May 2016)

After these initial discussions around the purpose of Butoh from the creative team’s
perspective, I then shared the Dramaturgical Map the cast and I had collectively created.
This incorporated our Cultural Translation of Maro’s Method of Butoh (as articulated in
4.2.2), the use of interpretants (2.3.3), and the overarching purpose of creating a World
Upside Down (WUD) through manifesting the irrational unconscious (4.4.3.2). With
these objectives in mind, we proceeded to analyse ways we could realise these ideas

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4. CREATIVE PRACTICE

PHOTO 72: Wayne Jennings. “Welcome.” In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

in the design74 journey to achieve the overarching creative aim of rendering a surreal
world of dreams. Eventually we ascertained five key means of achieving this:

1. Use of the bed to facilitate a WUD experience for the audience;

2. Distorted ways of seeing, through strategic framing;

3. Aesthetic use of shadow to manifest the core thematic concerns;

4. Disconcerting juxtapositions and hybridisations;

5. Borrowing Surrealist tropes in art and music to create a distorted, dream‑like


world.

Reflecting upon the first and second goals, Haycock recalls the pivotal decision to
employ an immersive theatre modality by placing the audience on a moving bed with
the production unfolding as a 360‑degree performance around them:

I think probably [the work’s] major innovation was in form for me, the fact that it centred
around an experience of theatre …. I was constantly excited by the further possibilities of
that as a form … it’s a completely different form like a movie, where we were absolutely
choosing what they saw by using close ups, long shots and editing to totally manipulate
their view. [It was like what] a theme park does in terms of: you’re locked into a ride and
it’s been a very designed experience and you will be startled, you’ll be shocked, you’ll be
calmed, you’ll be excited, you’ll have your heart race! But it’s usually done in a fairly thin
emotional way … I think what’s really interesting about this [show], is that it took that
form, in part, and pushed that to enable the possibilities of something more poetic, more
emotionally grabbing, more direct, and more exciting at every level of accessing theatre
as an audience member. You’re not statically sitting there in a chair watching something

74 This included the design of the set, costume, prop, lighting, music and sound scores.

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… The physical movement and the physical reframing of how you experienced what you
did [via the moving bed], I think, was a really exciting addition, and that form push was
really interesting. (27th April 2016)

For Jennings, the decision to focus on the bed as the single set piece in the entire show
was an unexpected choice that facilitated a truly innovative audience experience and
framing of the work:

The use of the mobile “bed‑platform” was a particularly creative way to use the enormous
black box space of The Loft. Further, it allowed a promenade and immersive theatre
approach, which Zen Zen Zo is well known for, in which the audience’s perspective could
be controlled. In this way the vast cavern of the theatre could be reduced to a small,
intimate space or become a vast abyss. Also, mention must be made of the small peepholes
provided in the bedhead, used for the Imagineer piece to create the voyeuristic framing
of a secret fantasy world …. I believe that the audience’s experience would have been
one of floating through a mysterious and uncertain abyss. Each night as I approached the
audience at the end of the show, I saw in their eyes confusing and unexpected emotions
– they seemed very vulnerable. Not unlike sleepwalkers just awakened. (19th April 2016)

PHOTO 73: Stuart Nix, Jordan Abil + Audience Exiting. In the Company of Shadows.
Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

It therefore became imperative for us that the journey of the bed was as tightly
choreographed as the entire movement score. The art of moving the bed (to facilitate
the alternating experiences of drifting through a dream, juxtaposed with the
unexpected interruption of disturbing/unsettling images) became the job of a number
of the physically stronger members of the cast.

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Journalist Baz McAlister, in a review of In the Company of Shadows (see 7.4), commented
on this aspect of the design and its impact on his experience:

Top and tail, we are tucked in and sent off to sleep. The lights go out – but, is the bed
moving? There are a few nervous titters from the tiny audience, then a bright light – and
an actor is just inches from my face, looming over the bed, staring upside‑down into
my eyes.  As the canopy is whisked off, the bed begins to move around a yawning black
space, where about a dozen sprite‑like dancers semi‑clad in luminous PJs and musicians
are just barely visible …. Bradley has created an intricate and emotionally involving
theatrical experience here. I begin to appreciate just how intricate when I watch a second
show from the sound and lighting booth above the theatre – it’s a little like the magician
revealing their secrets, as I can see the actors behind the bedhead, spinning the bed,
or those concealing themselves beneath it awaiting cues, the subtleties of the costume
changes and the byzantine challenges of the blocking for the 15 or so performers.
(15th April 2016)

PHOTO 74: Peter Kraat and Lynne Bradley in Rehearsal. In the Company of Shadows.
Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

In conjunction with the moving bed, the design team explored multiple “ways
of viewing or framing” the dreams as they unfolded, to try to capture the surreal
perspective of dreaming. These including the utilisation of the peepholes in Imagineer,
and the disorientation of World Upside Down, where the audience experienced the
carnivalesque, topsy‑turvy dreamscape lying down as the performers’ faces appeared
and disappeared directly above them in torchlight. In both the Musicians’ Mausoleum
and Dancing Salvador Dali the bed moved continuously, like a theme park ghost‑train
ride, changing the scale and perspective of the unfolding images. Comparing the
experience to the lens of a camera zooming in and out to focus the spectator’s vision,
reviewer Anja Ali‑Haapala wrote:

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Here we snuggled into the bed while the family


wheeled us around the space, steering the bed like
you would a video camera capturing a movie in
one take. As we kept changing direction, different
scenes of the family were presented to us. The
family crawled underneath and over us like insects,
they ‘nibbled’ our feet, and spun us around as fast
as they could. The guest next to me (a stranger)
squirmed in response, and clung on to me for
support in particularly visceral moments. We did
not ‘sleep’ well that night. (See 7.4 – 14th April 2016)

Turning our attention to the potential use


of shadow in the final presentation of the
work, the creative team shared our collective
PHOTO 75: Lynne Bradley in Rehearsal.
In the Company of Shadows.
understanding of the term “shadow”, both
Photo: Simon Woods (2016). philosophically and aesthetically. Jennings
and Haycock mused:

It immediately suggests taboo. Hidden, forbidden,


secretive, intimate things. The seduction of
mysteries and danger. Of rebellion and subterfuge.
(Jennings, 19th April 2016)

I suppose it’s the form that follows the light. So


it’s the necessary other side. Looking in the light
blinds you but as you turn back you’ve got the
trace of what’s been. If you’re looking forward
into the light, you’re looking backwards into
the shadow …. I love visually the notion of a
shadow, where you’re distilling away the surface
appearance of something and just getting an
essence of something …. Obviously shadow is also
like the dark side of the psyche or things that are in
PHOTO 76: Luke Goss and Stuart Nix.
shadow are hidden or suppressed or not wanting
“World Upside Down.” In the Company of to be brought out and revealed … [which] we also
Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016). explored in Cabaret. (Haycock, 27th April 2016)

As the lighting designer, David Walters was invited to the join the project in part because
of his long history and expertise around the core concept of shadow:

I call myself a “shadow designer” because I don’t design light, I design the play of light
[which] is all about the interplay of light and shadow. So what is a shadow? We always
think of it as an absence of light but it’s not it’s an absence of direct light. A shadow is filled
with ambient light so it’s only in really rare circumstances … that you get black shadows
…. [If] you look at an impressionist painting you never see black …. So what is a shadow?
There are so many ways of thinking about it. So often we think of a shadow as the stark

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4. CREATIVE PRACTICE

PHOTO 77: Yuyama Daiichiro, Nevin Howell and Stuart Nix. “Boyzzz.”
In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016)

silhouette black and white sort of thing. I see shadows as deeply enriched plays of colour
but not only that … shadows are three‑dimensional. They’re an absence of light in three
dimensions or an absence of a direct light filled by an ambient light in three directions
…. But then the other thing is (and I pun very briefly), it’s without a shadow of doubt that
human beings are creatures of light. Light is so important to us, it’s something we rely on
for our survival and it wasn’t till we could artificially create light through the use of fire
and stuff that survival at night became a little bit safer …. So words and expressions like
“a shadow of doubt”, “gloomy”, “black”, all of these words that are without light usually
have connotations of something frightening or evil or nasty because we as human beings
don’t exist well without light. (26th May, 2016)

PHOTO 78: Travis Weiner and


Jordan Gilmore. “The Nightmare.”
In the Company of Shadows.
Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

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Thematically, every sequence in the show connected Maro’s “unspeakable” dreams to


the concept of Jung’s “unspeakable” Shadow Archetype. Visually, after this discussion
around shadow with the creative team, we began to layer in a journey that employed
shadow as a key design concept throughout the work.

PHOTO 79: Wayne Jennings with the Musical Score for “The Nightmare.”
In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

Designing and performing a musical/sound score for In the Company of Shadows that
would both culturally translate Maro’s Method and capture the surreal nature of dreams
was a challenge which Jennings, and the other members of the Deep Blue Orchestra,
gladly embraced.75 Building on the experiments with song, sound and music in the
Creative Development (see 4.3.4.1), we collectively selected works by composers
known for their interest in avant‑garde experimentation and/or connection to the
Surrealist movement. These included: György Ligeti (Dancing Salvador Dali), Eric Satie
(Imagineer), Astor Piazzolla (Musicians’ Mausoleum), Angelo Badalamenti (World Upside
Down), and Tom Waits (Lullaby). Wayne Jennings recalls his excitement at Yuyama
Daiichiro’s request for Ligeti as the musical accompaniment to Dancing Salvador Dali,
which Yuyama choreographed after his arrival in Australia in March:

Dancing Salvador Dali brought back one of my favourite jettisoned ideas from the
experimental phase of the Creative Development, that Richard and I had particularly
enjoyed doing with the company, which was trying to find ways to provide anti‑rational
music by improvisation and experimentation with several members of the group. That
was a very fruitful session for us which then didn’t get used, but we then came back and
salvaged a lot of that material when we put together the score for Dancing Salvador Dali
…. Rather than strictly notated stuff or music per se, we worked with the idea of sounds.

75 The Deep Blue Orchestra, made up of all classically trained musicians, are well‑known for their willingness to
experiment with content and form. They incorporate techniques more commonly associated with popular music,
and include multimedia, physical theatre, and theatre design elements into their performances. Their stated aim is to
break down the audience‑performer divide, and incorporate non‑traditional elements of orchestral playing including:
performing all music by memory, no conductor, and audience interaction. (2013, under “About Deep Blue”).

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PHOTO 80: Evan Setiawan, Adam Cadell, Wayne Jennings, Richard Grantham. “Dancing Salvador Dali.”
In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

There was a cross reference here to the work of John Cage and of course choosing Ligeti,
who was always someone who explored sound as a musical form in the first place, fitted
in perfectly. Rather than going for a literal performance of his work, we just took Ligeti’s
textural ideas as a jumping off point, and then worked with the dancers, with Daiichiro
directing, to create the piece. This was extremely rewarding for us. The four of us have all
had more experience with improvisation and with extended techniques than the average
classical musician, so we had a great group for that …. It enabled us to engage with the
work on a creative level, rather than just an interpretive or responsive level. (30th May 2016)

This creative play was further explored in the innovative development of Imagineer
(see 4.4.4.1).

One final opportunity to incorporate my early translation of Maro’s Method as a means


for training performers occurred unexpectedly in the final rehearsal period. Once the
musicians joined us full‑time in the final two weeks of the project, Jennings and I found that
their lack of Butoh training was creating a disparity between the dancers and musicians in
performance that was disrupting the fabric of the dream state we had been weaving over
the preceding months. Prior professional engagements, rather than a lack of enthusiasm,
had prevented them from being present throughout the Creative Development and

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early stages of rehearsal. For this reason I spent several rehearsals working closely with
the musicians, using Maro’s Method of training, and employed the entire arsenal of
interpretants we had gathered to culturally translate Butoh since travelling to Japan in
2015. The most successful of these became the ideas of “making strange” and creating
something “off kilter” (which is the loose translation of Kabuki) in terms of both their
persona and movement qualities. Further, the musicians responded favourably to the idea
of the music “entering their bodies” and moving them, as if they were “being played” like
instruments (Artist’s Journal, 2nd April 2016). The speed with which I was able to facilitate
the transformation of these performers as non‑dancers, using Maro’s Method, was a turning
point in my understanding of how effective a technique it potentially could be.76

PHOTO 81 : Adam Cadell, Wayne Jennings, Jennifer Hogan, Richard Grantham,


Gina Limpus, Evan Setiawan. In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

The final stage of rehearsals leading into performance was marked by three significant
phases of divergent thinking and creative exploration: the devising of Imagineer and
Boyzzz, and the reintegration of Yuyama Daiichiro from Dairakudakan.

PHOTO 82: Zen Zen Zo “Youngest Sister” Natasha Currant’s Pig Slippers. Zen Zen Zo “Family Photo”
(displayed in the Living Room). Zen Zen Zo “Middle Sister” Samara Sutton‑Baker. Photo: Lynne Bradley (2016).

76 The openness with which the musicians worked with these and other foreign techniques and concepts during
the two weeks was a key factor in the speed with which we were able to implement these changes in rehearsals.

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4. CREATIVE PRACTICE

4.4.4 Cycles of Divergent Thinking


4.4.4.1 Imagineer
The first of these three cycles saw the
creation of Imagineer. The concept
of Imagineer was born during the
hybridisation phase of the Creative
Development. Multimedia designer
Nevin Howell and I became increasingly
interested in exploring the ways in which
digital technologies could interface with PHOTO 83: Lynne Bradley and Yuyama Daiichiro.
Rehearsals for In the Company of Shadows.
Butoh, and in particular Maro’s Method. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).
In collaboration with Wayne Jennings
and Travis Weiner we created a piece that lyrically portrayed the fertile imagination of
a man‑child manifested through an extended daydream. Jennings, reflecting on his
interpretation of Imagineer, recalls:

This piece was the Boy’s escape into his imagination. In using these themes the work drew
from the idea of the Shadow space being a suppressed part of ourselves. The images
that the Boy created/discovered were often dark, threatening, and harmful. This was not
exclusively a happy escapist daydream. In this way, the work suggested a Shadow space
that held threats and unpleasant revelations. (14th September 2016)

PHOTO 84: Travis Weiner. “Imagineer.” In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

In order to frame the piece for the audience so that they felt privy to “a private shadow
act,” they were required to view the piece through small peep‑holes in the bed head.

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In the development of Imagineer we were keen to explore how the images generated
as part of these Shadow musings could be externalised and manifested simultaneously
through and onto the body. Imagineer became a kind of creative play between the
imagination, the body, light and sound as the threads of an extended daydream that
were woven together to create the final score.

Using Maro’s Method, we experimented with ways in which these elements could
both penetrate and surround the body of the performer and subsequently facilitate
movement (in a similar manner to “the body being moved” in Maro’s space‑body
training). Further we explored images of corporeal exchange such as those used by
Maro during the Summer Camp:

Now all the bones and muscles and blood start to push through the skin of the body bag.
Gradually the body becomes empty. The insides of your body now swim outside your
body, filling the space around your body. The space is fertile, pregnant, growing. It begins
to move your body from the outside. (Maro quoted in Artist’s Journal, 25th July 2014)

PHOTO 85: Wayne Jennings and Travis Weiner. “Imagineer.” In the Company of Shadows.
Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

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4. CREATIVE PRACTICE

The question became whether we could achieve this through digital body mapping.
Working together we collated an image score drawn from our own imaginings, visual
stimuli, and latest examples of projection mapping to create a “score” for the work (see
7.10.3). Multimedia designer Nevin Howell recalls:

A lot of the imagery was workshopped … through play. We had the simple starting point
of a black box, a cello player and Dandypunk’s The Alchemy of Light live art performance.
Lynne knew there were specific images she wanted to play with, such as the elements.
But organically (through negation between all the creatives involved) other ideas
surfaced. It became my job to collate and realise them through the multimedia design.
(14th September 2016)

PHOTO 86: Travis Weiner. “Imagineer.” In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

Wayne Jennings subsequently proposed Erik Satie’s “Gnossiennes No. 3” for the musical
score because of Satie’s connection with the Surrealist movement and interest in the
anti‑rational. In the second rehearsal for Imagineer, Jennings observed that Satie’s score
from which he was working was notated with random, illogical directions for the musician:

In his piano works like this Gnossienne, Satie gives several anti‑rational instructions
for the performance, instructions that are either impossible to physically perform or
characteristics difficult to convey. Satie apparently forbid these instructions to be read
out or otherwise conveyed to the audience. Interpretation of these whimsical instructions
are left to the individual performer. Examples include: Measure 11: Arm yourself with
clairvoyance; Measure 16: Alone for an instant; Measure 39: Open your head. (Jennings,
14th September 2016)

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In rehearsals we determined to use this notation as a second language score in the


developing work to provide performer Travis Weiner with two sets of conflicting images
to fill each igata (see Figure 18). This hybridisation of multiple and conflicting image
scores, in conjunction with Maro’s Method of allowing these to “move the body” from
both inside and outside, proved to be a highly effective way to devise this piece and to
explore the interface between digital technology and Butoh.

FIGURE 18: Excerpt from the draft “score” for Imagineer (2016).

In performance Weiner found that an unexpected third space opened up for him, one
where he was being moved not simply by his imagination or the written / projected
images but in unison with them.

To me as a performer it was a different experience


…. There are two usual ways I most commonly
engage with Butoh images, the first being
demonstrative and the second being reactive ….
With the multimedia it was completely different.
The mentality was complementary … because
any images that were inside the body were also
around the body. It was less an experience of ‘I
have this inside me’ and more an experience of ‘I
am part of this.’ Like a drop of water in my blood
moving through my veins compared to a drop of
water in the ocean …. I was that drop, and I was the
waves and the current while simultaneously the
projection was also the drops, waves and currents.
PHOTO 87: Travis Weiner. “Imagineer.”
We were light and flesh acting as water, becoming
In the Company of Shadows.
Photo: Simon Woods (2016). something neither of us could ever be, but working
together to achieve it. (15th September 2016)

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4. CREATIVE PRACTICE

In addressing the relative success in performance of the hybridisation of Maro’s Method


of Butoh with the multiple physical, aural and visual scores to create an anti‑rational
daydream, Weiner and Jennings reflected:

It worked well but to me it wasn’t Butoh …. This doesn’t mean it is wrong, it was actually
brilliant. It just severed the connection between Butoh and body‑mapping. I loved
weaving in and out of Butoh in the piece. It was tricky mentally, but performatively it felt
great because it was as destabilising as the thing we were trying to recreate, which was a
dream. (Weiner, 15th September 2016)

Initially I thought adding AV projections to Butoh had great potential to illustrate to an


audience the otherwise wholly imaginary stimulus moving the performer. However, I
now wonder if by doing so some of the uncanniness and mystery of a committed Butoh
performance is lost? (Jennings, 14 September 2016)

PHOTO 88: Wayne Jennings and Travis Weiner. “Imagineer.” In the Company of Shadows.
Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

Multimedia designer Nevin Howell, however, felt the work was highly innovative in its
cross‑form ambitions, if not technically challenging:

I made a lot of ‘rookie’ errors [but] the piece was extraordinary to watch …. We were
juggling three forms from completely different worlds: live music, projection and Butoh.
It’s not uncommon to see two elements mixed together in a theatrical context. But adding
a third element into the mix greatly heightens how problematic the piece could be. Yes,
that’s how I gauge whether or not something is innovative. ‘How badly could this fuck
up? Am I playing with fire yet??’ In Imagineer I certainly felt I was. (14th September 2016)

This final comment is interesting in that it points to the state of the artist as they
innovate. In my experience it is rarely a conscious decision to “innovate,” but rather a
journey following threads of interest that lead to the cliff‑face of discovery. The feeling

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of “playing with fire” and associated risk that Howell points to, therefore, are indicative
of this sense of entering new territory. It was only later, whilst reflecting back on the
work, that Howell was able to label it as “innovative.”

PHOTO 89: Travis Weiner. “Imagineer.”

4.4.4.2 Boyzzz
A second “dream” in the production generated from the exploration of hybridisation
was Boyzzz. Emerging out of creative writing exercises and compositions produced
by the male performers during the Creative Development, the piece was a playful
exploration of “genderised dreaming”. We began asking the question: “how are male
and female dream experiences different?” Whilst this led to two sequences, performed
by the girls and boys respectively, the decision was made in the final rehearsal phase by
the cast as a whole to only include Boyzzz.77

77 The dream sequence involving the female cast members underwent extensive workshopping as they
responded to the twin question, “what do girls dream about?” This included thematic exploration of the female
grotesque through the “Monstrous;” the hybridisation of Butoh with various forms of comedy and dance; and
more politically‑driven concepts relating to gender. While the work yielded some provocative material, the cast
concluded it was not performance‑ready by the full‑time rehearsal period in March and therefore it was cut
from the Naughty But (not so) Nice dream sequence.

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4. CREATIVE PRACTICE

PHOTO 90: Nevin Howell, Travis Weiner, Yuyama Daiichiro, Stuart Nix, James Kendall, Jordan Abil.
“Boyzzz.” In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

The creation for Boyzzz began with the simple provocation: “What do boys dream
about?” In a free‑association writing session one cast member penned the following in
response to the lead‑in stimulus, “words I associate with being male are:”

Tough, hard, big, large, grand, gross, straight‑up, real, blah, smelly, mate, grotty,
fart‑fart‑fart, laugh‑laugh, doesn’t matter bro, sick, lad, hectic, good‑times, rad, hot‑brah,
dick, whoa‑ha, good‑on‑yah, come‑here‑brah…all good. (3rd November 2015)

This evolved into a playful and partially satirical exploration of the stereotype of the
“young Australian male,” through the lens of their dreams. We subsequently devised a
“dreamscape” of images drawn from the male cast members’ collective dreams, fantasies
and nightmares. This included material drawn from compositions, dream journals, and
creative writing exercises:

As a child I dreamed of being a husband, being a dad, driving a car, having a house…
As a teenager I dreamed of sex, heaps of sex, weird sex, more pleasurable than the real
thing…
As an adult I dream of being free, being the best, being respected, no side‑job or cop‑out,
no more dreaming… (Creative Writing Exercise: 3rd November 2015)
I am in a corridor at work. Mal is there, talking to some people. He is naked, holding his
clothes in his hand … Arrange to have sex with Ruby at lunchtime. We have no car so must
walk through a wet field with a hairy guy up a ladder to a wooden house. Wait. Two girls
and a guy are arguing about the activity. Rearrange the contents of the box. Cancer.
What type? … Looks like a dead man on the back of a truck. A woman hoses it. Waters
my holes. Two women from the Courier Mail, arguing. My holes are wet. (Dream Journal
Entry: 24th August 2015)

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PHOTO 91: “Boyzzz.” Rehearsals. In the Company of Shadows.


Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

By splicing together images from this source material we then created a notated score
to use as the dramaturgical map for the piece. This was then handed to the choreographer
to shape through a combination of Butoh, contemporary dance, and action sequences
(such as fighting, hanging out, showing off ).

Experimenting further with hybridisation, we cross‑fertilised Pharrell William’s


funk‑hip‑hop anthem “Freedom” with
the lyrics from Joan Armatrading’s
“What Do Boys Dream?” (See Figure 19).

Thematically, the goal during the


rehearsals was to create a series of
igata, or archetypal moulds, that
played on the border between: the
cast’s lived experiences; images drawn
from the songs; and stereotypes of the
young Australian male. These igata
were designed to capture the Shadow
aspect of the male psyche as well as the
larrikin‑like play that had characterised
our Creative Development sessions,
something designer Bill Haycock later
reflected upon: FIGURE 19: “What Do Boys Dream?” Lyrics
(Armadrading and Barbara, 1983).

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4. CREATIVE PRACTICE

The idea of a shadow being a darker, repressed side of ourselves was variously explored
…. Even the boys’ dance, funny as it was, was a darker vision of what’s going on, despite
the satin boxers. There was sort of darkness in their treatment of women and various
aspects of misogyny …. It was a strange nightmare world that was a series of darknesses.
(27th April 2016)

Baz McAlister described the piece in his review favourably as one of “a series of moments
snatched from the aether – boys’ macho dreams are showcased by a cadre of male
dancers, set to Pharrell’s Freedom, with slow‑motion fight moves and guttural grunting.”
(15th April 2016)

PHOTO 92: Nevin Howell and James Kendall. “Boyzzz.” In the Company of Shadows.
Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

In exit interviews and roundtable discussions, however, both James Kendall and Yuyama
Daiichiro expressed their difficulty accessing the piece as latecomers to the rehearsal
process.78 They also acknowledged that it presented challenges because it did not
resonate with their personal lived experiences from the perspective of age, sexuality
and culture. Like several of the other cast members, they also questioned the relative
success of the piece in terms of genuinely creating a “third space” in Bhabha’s terms, an
innovative and disruptive place of potential. Reflecting on why this was, Gina Limpus
and James Kendall speculated (Roundtable Discussion, 5th September 2016):

GINA:
I think it comes down to the approach both from a personal perspective and a creative
perspective. So say for the Boys’ Dance and the Girls’ Dance (which got cut) it was
interesting because they were both approached from a little bit more of a contemporary
dance angle. When they were started, we created the shell and then tried to find a way to

78 James Kendall, who relocated from Melbourne back to Brisbane in early 2016, joined the production in the final full‑time
rehearsal period at the same time as Yuyama Daiichiro.

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inform it from a Butoh perspective. And I think for the Girls’ piece, we didn’t really get that
and it’s one of the main reasons it didn’t work because we weren’t able to find the Butoh
within it. We were kind of like, “here’s a dance and now let’s place Butoh on top,” instead of
letting Butoh lead from the start.

JAMES:
Exactly that. You can move in any particular way, in any particular style, do a particular
thing, but the framework you approach that movement from, in terms of your thinking
and your energy behind that movement, that changes the way it presents to an audience
and the message that you’re conveying. So if you’re trying to mix Butoh with comedy,
or whatever, yes it’s possible, but whether it works? It depends on how much of which
energy, of which framework you bring to the piece.

GINA:
Yes. You can do a comedy piece with a Butoh mask, but that doesn’t mean it’s Butoh.

PHOTO 93: Nevin Howell, Travis Weiner, Stuart Nix, Jordan Abil. “Boyzzz.”
In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

The cast concluded that the failure to hold onto some of the “non‑negotiable” elements
of Butoh (established in the first and second creative practice cycles), including the
“body being moved” and the inclusion of the nonsensical, purposeless miburi/teburi
movement, meant that Boyzzz became a contemporary dance piece with a taste of
Butoh. In Carl Weber’s paradigm, then, the end result was closer to “acculturation” than
“transculturation”.

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4. CREATIVE PRACTICE

PHOTO 94: Nevin Howell, Travis Weiner, Yuyama Daiichiro, Stuart Nix, James Kendall, Jordan Abil.
“Boyzzz.” In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

4.4.4.3 The Collaboration with Yuyama Daiichiro


In late March Yuyama Daiichiro rejoined the project for the final two weeks of rehearsals.
During this time he learnt material already created for the production (including Boyzzz),
choreographed a new dream sequence (titled Dancing Salvador Dali), and integrated
solo material that he had worked on in Japan. In the months leading up to this arrival,
we had exchanged emails and talked via skype about the emerging work, but it was not
until Yuyama was physically in Australia that we knew exactly how he would re‑engage
with the work. His role, both as choreographer and performer, evolved organically
throughout the process, as he simultaneously contributed and responded to the work.
As the first week of rehearsals progressed, he emerged symbolically in performance in
what people later variously interpreted as the “shadow master,” the “puppeteer,” or the
“Sandman.” Baz McAlister wrote:

Present throughout is a bald, butoh‑inspired Dream Master‑like figure in black, the


ringmaster of the dreamworld if you will, and as the bed seemingly floats around the
space from scene to scene – at one point, spinning as fast as the hollering, hissing actors
can make it go – he seems to be the puppeteer of these phantasms. (15th April 2016)

PHOTO 95: Yuyama Daiichiro. In the Company of Shadows. Photos: Simon Woods (2016).

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Reflecting on the organic nature of Yuyama’s Daiichiro’s re‑integration into the process
and impact on the final production, David Walters commented:

I was surprised at how much it changed the piece frankly …. We’d talked about the
intellectual stuff behind the show and as I said I really liked your synthesis of it when you
actually pulled it down and worked out just how you were going to present the style, but
I never fully understood Daiichiro’s role …. I knew you were communicating with him and
I knew you and he had an exchange. But when you started including him in stuff in earlier
scenes so there was a consequence to his existence, and a through‑line started to emerge
for him, then it made a great deal of sense to me and greatly enriched what was going
on overall I thought …. Just witnessing that was kind of another leap in the cross‑cultural
experience. (26th May 2016)

PHOTO 96: Yuyama Daiichiro. In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

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4. CREATIVE PRACTICE

Analysing the reasons for the relative ease with which he re‑engaged with the work
after a break of seven months, Yuyama credited two entwined concepts. The first was
the Japanese idea of kibi, and the second was his articulation of “Deep Hanging Out.”
Attempting to explain kibi, an idea that is notoriously difficult to translate, Yuyama
articulates:

My dictionary says, “subtlety of the human mind” …. Japanese people use kibi a lot,
especially old people. You understand kibi. It’s a very good word. It’s a very complimentary
thing when someone says “you’ve got kibi” …. It’s very tied to culture. In each situation
when you meet someone, or you try to have a conversation with someone, you have
to find the right words for the conversation, like you’re playing catch …. For a good
conversation you need to understand a person deeply, their internal way of thinking. For
that exchange between people from different cultures, even if we are talking about the
same thing, the first or second step can be a different way of thinking already. So when
we are creating together, we should go back to the very first or second step because
it’s uniquely connected to the deep cultural experience for each of us. That’s the most
interesting thing for me, and the hardest thing too. So if we can understand each other,
at that basic starting point, we can then solve a lot of problems together. (8th April 2016)

In order to facilitate this depth understanding of one another and develop kibi, Yuyama
advocates allowing non‑agenda driven downtime, which could be interpreted as Deep
Hanging Out:

The most important thing is that we’re going to have a good time and lots of time. So too
busy a schedule is not going to work because we need to “waste time” together. So it’s not
a logical thing, you know. But if we’ve got a very busy schedule, each of us is going to be
in a rush, so we’re going to try not to waste time. So we’re not going to have good, deep
conversations, like talking about family or talking about sports. So talking about [the art]
is very important, but Butoh involves a very mental process of creation. So you have to
understand each other at a deep level as
much as possible. So for that we have to
waste time. Like here with you I went to
watch the AFL, even though I didn’t
know what it was! And I learned to
Boogie Board from your son, Kai. But
these are very important for me to
understand the Australian people …. So
my opinion is that the most important
thing is to not be afraid to waste time
together. (8th April, 2016)

PHOTO 97: DEEP HANGING OUT – Yuyama Daiichiro


and Kai Woods at the AFL (Brisbane).

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In their exit interviews, David Walters and Bill Haycock, neither of whom had travelled
to Japan to work with Dairakudakan during the Creative Development, felt this was
to their disadvantage. Responding to my question about what challenges they’d
encountered working with Yuyama, or whether they would do anything differently in
future collaborations, they reflected:

In some ways it wasn’t so much a challenge as it was a failure on my part. I actually didn’t
give myself time to sit down and talk with [Yuyama] because I’d been relating to you and
because you were the director. And because I was used to that kind of format I didn’t
actually open myself up to the nature that there was another major artistic element in the
piece. And I didn’t give myself over to him in a way that I would’ve liked to in retrospect.
It’s always handy to have a retrospect, isn’t it? (Walters, 26th May 2016)

Perhaps just to talk to [Yuyama] more. I should have done that because there were
opportunities and I could have drawn him out more perhaps, but I was conscious that
his focus in that amount of time needed to be more on the show rather than on the
philosophical discussions with me. (Haycock, 27th April 2016)

Nonetheless, Walters and Haycock found the inclusion of Yuyama in the production
(as both creative collaborator and performer) highly beneficial. They recalled that he
utilised their designs in unanticipated ways, prompting both surprise and amusement –
he wore his costume sideways; and instead of dancing in the light that Walters provided,
he “moved in and out of it” dancing as much in the shadow as the light. The result was
the emergence of new meanings and possibilities that the design team indicated they
would have liked to push even further given more time.

PHOTO 98: Nevin Howell and Yuyama Daiichiro. In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

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4. CREATIVE PRACTICE

Wayne Jennings, when asked whether he felt bringing Yuyama back into the project
was a productive part of the Cultural Translation process, responded:

Absolutely. I would particularly like to use as an example the piece he choreographed for
the ensemble, Dancing Salvador Dali. This presented, I feel, the entire work in miniature:
the audience was taken through a series of surreal scenes, sometimes light, sometimes
dense with emotion, rarely obvious in their intent. (30th May 2016)

PHOTO 99: Evan Setiawan, Adam Cadell, Wayne Jennings, Richard Grantham. “Dancing Salvador Dali.”
In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

Weaving together the “original text” (Maro’s Method of Butoh as manifested in Yuyama’s
piece) alongside our Zen Zen Zo “translations,” provided a wonderful opportunity
to compare and contrast them, side by side. But even for Yuyama, working with
an all‑Australian cast in Brisbane, in the context of a Zen Zen Zo production (that
employed forms such as immersive and intimate theatre), forced him to produce a new
“translation” himself. At the conclusion of his stay, he commented that this was one
of the things he most enjoys about working transculturally – being pushed out of his
comfort zone and discovering new ways of working and looking at the world (Artist’
Journal, 12th April 2016).

Observing the transcultural exchange that took place between Yuyama and the rest of
the cast, Haycock observed:

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I think there was a sort of two‑way street ultimately through the time that he was here ….
There was obviously respect in both directions, which was lovely…. I loved watching him
in the Boys’ dance, performing in a way that was obviously so foreign to his physical
practice. That was lovely to see, how he absorbed himself into their world, which they
very much created and you could see how they owned that dance …. [It] was nice to see
him pushed out of his comfort zone in a way, where these kids were being pushed out of
theirs to absorb, relatively quickly, a lot of his thing. It was nice to see that crossover
actually, and to see that there was great humour and discipline and focus in the process
from everyone. (27th April 2016)

In this sense, cross‑cultural practice can be seen


to benefit greatly from an ongoing circulatory
process of extended long‑term interaction.
As Diana Taylor observes, “Transculturation
suggests a shifting or circulating pattern of
cultural transference.” (Taylor 1991, 93) Ideally,
the process of Cultural Translation, then, will
continue to cross‑reference the original text
even as it finds its way towards a “poet’s version”
manifestation of something completely new.
PHOTO 100: Yuyama Daiichiro. Rehearsals. Incorporating Yuyama in both the devising
In the Company of Shadows.
Photos: Simon Woods (2016).
and performance stages of In the Company of
Shadows allowed us to continue to reference
(and even clarify) Maro’s Method of Butoh, even
as we forged a new contemporary performance
piece with all the hallmarks of a Zen Zen Zo
production.

4.4.5 Convergence
After a one‑week season of In the Company of
Shadows at the Loft, and a farewell party for
Yuyama on his birthday (9th April), the cast and
creative team engaged in a series of formal and
informal discussions around the work. Returning
to the notion of the “poet’s version” translation,
we felt we had achieved something independent
of, but simultaneously deeply connected to,
Maro’s Method of Butoh. Translator and poet Don
PHOTO 101: Gina Limpus. “In the Company
Paterson recapitulates with regards to “poet’s
of Shadows.” In the Company of Shadows.
Photo: Simon Woods (2016). version” translations:

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4. CREATIVE PRACTICE

Versions … are trying to be poems in their own right; while they have the original to serve
as detailed ground plan and elevation, they are trying to build themselves a robust home
in a new country, in its vernacular architecture, with local words for its brick and local
music for its mortar (2006, 73).

In order to achieve this, as Venuti points out, the translating “poet” is required to utilise
a different set of interpretants, both intertextual and interdiscursive, to recontextualise
the source material (2011, 236). In In the Company of Shadows, by employing the primary
interpretants outlined in 2.3.3 and 4.4.3.2, we were able to build “a robust home in a
new country”.

The question of whether we had produced a “good” or “bad”“poet’s version” translation


remained. By creating a contemporary performance production in which Butoh had
“dis‑appeared” into the work, which had gained its own “form and content,” we felt we
had succeeded in achieving Weber’s notion of transculturation. However, was the loss
greater than the gain? Returning to Venuti, we were reminded that, in his opinion:

A translation [is ultimately] evaluated according to its impact, potential or real on cultural
and social institutions in the receiving situation, according to whether it challenges
the styles, genres and discourses that have gained institutional authority, according to
whether it stimulates innovative thinking, research and writing. (2011, 240)

The question of value then, lies with the future impact of this research investigation’s
Cultural Translation of Maro’s Method, and whether it is deemed, as Venuti claims it must
be for a successful “poet’s version” translation, as an act of “cultural innovation” (2011, 246).

PHOTO 102: Yuyama Daiichiro, Travis Weiner, Nevin Howell, James Kendall, Gina Limpus.
“In the Company of Shadows.” In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

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5. FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS:
CULTURAL TRANSLATION
I imagined literal shadow smoke ghosts, each of which represents a different darkness
I hold within myself. There is a gathering in a 1920’s sitting room by a fireplace, where
all my shadows sit with me on leather couches facing in, staring in my direction waiting
for me to address them. The things I have suppressed, the things which cause me
anguish, have come once more to see me and I, in the company of shadows, must speak.
(Travis Weiner, 15th September 2016)

PHOTO 103: Yuyama Daiichiro and James Kendall.


In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

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5. FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

This eloquent interpretation of the production’s title by performer Travis Weiner could
well symbolically represent this practice-led study’s initial motivation. After a career
spanning 30 years of almost non-stop production, the half-articulated ghosts that
represented the threads of my practice, including its successes and failures, demanded
an audience. By confronting them I have been forced to speak, to articulate the weave
and fabric of my intercultural practice, to use Fischer-Lichte’s apt metaphor (2010). The
process of deconstruction, analysis and reinterpretation that I have used to do this
employs the models of transculturation, drawn from Intercultural theory, and Cultural
Translation, as it has been articulated within the field of Translation Studies.

The goal of finding a language to capture this process was instigated by the realisation
that the pedagogical and performance practices of Zen Zen Zo had mostly drawn
criticism only when the innovative processes at their core were applied across cultures.
In this new “cross‑cultural” context, the interweaving of diverse cultural threads to
form a cohesive whole was sometimes interpreted as being tarred with a postmodern
brush, and critiqued from an intercultural and postcolonial theoretical standpoint. The
research question at that point therefore became: “How can one transpose pedagogical
and performance practices from one cultural context to another, as part of the natural
flow of innovation, whilst remaining ethically‑conscious?”

5.1 CULTURAL TRANSLATION: A NEW PARADIGM


Starting with a basic model of transculturation the project slowly wove its way towards
the more complex cluster of theories that surround Cultural Translation. These provided
a highly effective language to talk about the twin and entwined processes of innovation
and cultural transfer of ideas/practices that have guided my work as a theatre practitioner
over the past 30 years working between Asia and Australia. Finally, the research question
emerged through the three iterations of creative practice as follows:

How can Cultural Translation theory be utilised


by performance practitioners to articulate and
implement transcultural practice that remains both
innovative and ethically-driven?

Drawing on the decade‑long relationship between Zen Zen Zo and Dairakudakan as


the case study for this investigation, I determined to examine three different modes of
transcultural practice by Zen Zen Zo: training, devising and performance. Each creative
practice cycle focused on the transposition of Maro’s Method of training and devising

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FOUND IN TRANSLATION

Butoh into an Australian context, and utilised the theoretical lens of Cultural Translation
to record these processes. The final work, In the Company of Shadows, represents the
practical culmination of this research.

PHOTO 104: Jenifer Hogan and Gina Limpus. In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

What has emerged from this practice‑led research study is a set of guiding principles
that have contributed to a best‑practice model for innovative, ethically‑driven,
transcultural work as we have practiced it in the context of the Zen Zen Zo/Dairakudakan
collaboration. This final chapter of the PhD outlines these guiding principles which have
all emerged from the theoretical paradigm of Cultural Translation and been transposed
(or “translated”) into the context of performance studies. The goal has always been to
make them available to other artists wishing to navigate the fraught, but rewarding,
territory of cross-cultural and transcultural performance practice. Rather than being
discouraged by the enormity of the challenges, it is my hope that these principles,
which together form a new language for how we can talk about performance work that
takes place across cultures, will provide a useful tool for the increasingly mobile artistic
communities of our transcultural age.

PHOTO 105: Nakahara Kazuhiko (Stage Manager), Lynne Bradley, Agatsuma Emiko. Photo: Simon Woods (2015).
Matsuda Atsushi and Simon Woods. Photo: Lynne Bradley (2015).
Lynne Bradley and Watanabe Tatsuya. Photo: Simon Woods (2015).

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5. FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

5.2 INNOVATION AND TRANSCULTURATION


“The Butoh was everywhere and nowhere.” (Haycock, 27th April 2016)

This observation by designer Bill Haycock, in relation to Zen Zen Zo’s productions of
Cabaret and In the Company of Shadows, sums up the journey towards transculturation
as articulated by Carl Weber:

Often the foreign text is deconstructed, the resultant findings are then rearranged
according to the codes inscribed in the native culture, and an original performance
text constructed. Eventually, the model “dis-appears” in a new text or technique, which
gains its own identity of form and of content. (1991, 34)

At the same time, the double meaning of “dis-appear” was evident, as Butoh
“re‑appeared” with quotation marks around it, as evidenced in the hero image used
in the poster and sleepover invitations. In this instance, Butoh took on new semiotic
meanings, reconstructed as a tongue-in-cheek parody of B-grade Horror movies, and
played with the production’s title In the Company of Shadows (See Figures 16 and 20).

FIGURE 20: Hero Image used in publicity materials for In the Company of Shadows.

This process of transculturation proved to be intimately tied to innovation. Returning


to John Barker’s definition of innovation – as something new (or at least new to the
innovator), which comprises a “process” that involves changing something, which is
ultimately intended to be beneficial to somebody (2016, 5) – we unanimously felt that
this had been achieved (Roundtable Discussion, 5th September 2016). David Walters
summed up the creative teams’ overall opinion on this matter: “Oh I would say [this
project was innovative] without a shadow of doubt, no pun intended! [laughs] Most
innovative. I mean every aspect of it, innovative for an audience and innovative for the
practitioners doing it.” (26th May 2016)

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FOUND IN TRANSLATION

PHOTO 106: Jennifer Hogan, Gina Limpus, Stuart Nix, Jordan Abil. “Dancing Salvador Dali.”
In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

Borrowing from Immersive, Site-Specific and Promenade theatre paradigms (all


hallmarks of Zen Zen Zo’s work since the mid 1990s), I aimed to capture the renegade,
subversive energy that characterises Butoh as a performance genre and Maro’s work in
particular. Whilst Immersive, Site-Specific and Promenade theatre forms are all largely
unheard of in Japan, by employing them I was proposing a “sense-for-sense” (rather
than “word-for-word”) translation of Butoh in In the Company of Shadows. Yuyama
Daiichiro, who found these forms intriguing and thought-provoking, commented in his
exit interview:

We moved the audience’s seat in the theatre! It’s very hard to do. I have had a lot of theatre
experience before but we have never moved the audience’s seat before in a show. That
direction had a lot of possibilities to create a new emotional feeling or a new atmosphere.
Basically we had a big focus on that, moving the audience around the theatre, so we don’t
have to be afraid to be experimental and challenge things. (8th April 2016)

Reviewers Baz McAlister and Anja Ali-Haapala also reflected on the use of Immersive,
Site-Specific and Intimate theatre as innovative frameworks for the production:

It’s a bit strange to be instructed to turn up to the theatre in your pyjamas – but then,
a joyful and complete immersion in the strange has always been the modus operandi
of Brisbane troupe Zen Zen Zo, under the practiced eye of Lynne Bradley – their work
is bold, innovative and memorable. From the beginning, Bradley’s new work In the

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5. FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

Company of Shadows shows all these hallmarks. The preamble to the show has the four
– yes, just four, audients showing up to be part of a sleepover, which begins over hot
chocolate with marshmallows in a room where we sit around in a circle with a few other
pyjama-clad actors, playing spin the bottle and talking about dreams. There’s a hint of the
strange even in this informal scene, as a girl wearing goggles on her forehead, looking
like some kind of pioneering oneironaut, stares at me expressionlessly throughout.
From there, holding hands, we all troop down the hall to talk more about the weird
and scary dreams with our eyes closed, then unite to turn a simple clothes rack into a
dreamlike pirate ship as we careen down another darkened hallway to a canopied bed.
(McAlister, 15th April 2016)

This performance was memorable because it was designed to be experienced by the


audience. I was greeted, fed, played games (including ‘pirate ships’), and was tucked into
bed. Interestingly, at no point was this event referred to as a ‘performance’. Instead, it was a
‘sleepover’. The cast, ‘family members’. The tickets, ‘invitations’. (Ali-Haapala, 14th April 2016)

Whilst the “push in form” that earned the production the “innovation” moniker (Haycock,
27th April 2016) was clearly evident in the final product, the process followed to arrive
at that point was characteristically uncertain and “promiscuous” (Brockman, 2007), as it
interwove ideas, forms and methods across disciplines. Our “innovation journey” (Van
Wulfen, 2013), was typically long in duration and was threatened by a number of obstacles
identified by the cast as: The Self-doubt Sandstorm; Disconnect Dunes; Failure Forrest;
Fatigue Falls; Impatient Isles; Distraction Depths and Complacent Crags (Roundtable
Discussion, 17th November 2015). The antidotes that enabled these obstacles to
be overcome included: physical and
mental endurance, dedication, faith
and courage (Roundtable Discussion,
5th September 2016).

It was generally acknowledged that


some of the most “awkward” and
uncomfortable creative stages of the twin
and entwined processes of innovation
and transculturation, were the imitation
and hybridisation phases. As articulated
in 4.3.2.1, imitating with as much fidelity
as possible Maro’s Method of training and
devising (as we’d experienced it in Japan
with Dairakudakan), was not in an of
itself successful. However, it proved to be
an important step in the transculturation
PHOTO 107: Nevin Howell and Gina Limpus. In the
Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016). and Cultural Translation processes, as we

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FOUND IN TRANSLATION

came to intimately understand the “grammar, syntax and vocabulary” of the original
text. On the other side of imitation, adaptation and transformation followed, as the
Cultural Translation of Maro’s Method wove its way towards something unique and
potentially more suited to the receiving audience. Jeremy Neideck, who utilised Maro’s
Method as part of his recent production of Deluge, reflects on this challenging journey
through imitation to transformation:

I tried to teach my Korean collaborators what I knew of Butoh [and] it didn’t go very
well. But we eventually ended up with what I think was an interesting result …. [For me]
once I came up against enough tension, like my kind of half sketchy, half recollections of
whatever method I had learned, once I couldn’t get any further with that, it became really
easy for us to create something new. I remember trying to facilitate things like … the
kind of stream of consciousness exercise - the repetitions of everyday gestures and then
having this experience of a ‘crack’ moment and then moving into a kind of direct stream
of consciousness image work. That didn’t work for us because I couldn’t communicate
what we were actually trying to do because actually the problem that Maro is trying to
perform, the problem that his company is investigating, wasn’t a problem that we were
interested in. It wasn’t something that we found compelling. Whereas this idea of making
manifest the invisible was. (12th May 2016).

He goes on to articulate a series of adaptations of Maro’s Method of training, that he


created with his cast, which better suited their needs and interests.

Similarly, Helen Smith, one of the few other artists currently working with Maro’s Method
in Australia, explains her Cultural Translations of the work:

[What] I’ve probably taken from miburi/teburi is this idea of a threshold, over which
you step and enter a completely different realm and world. I don’t do this the way that
[Maro] does it, through daily gestures, but I think that I do use the idea of a normal world.
You step over a threshold into something weird and strange. I actually physicalise that
threshold. So one example of that was using weaving frames in a performance …. So, I
brought those in for the dancers to play with as a threshold, which they approached and
had to get over and through, into another space beyond, which was their transformation.
And the igata, I do use that idea, but in a different way …. I’ve allowed the environment
to shape the igata. So, I’ve taken people out into nature and asked them to crawl into the
spaces that they see and sit in them for a while. So, it might be around a tree or inside a
bush, and just be in that space and allow that environment to shape and form the body
into an igata. The spirit that is created comes from that immediate environment, and it
might be one of peace, or discomfort, and you allow that to fill the igata, and then use
that vocabulary for creation. (17th April 2016)

The other awkward stage of the highly experimental creative development process
was the hybridisation phase (see 5.7). There was a distinct sense of uncomfortableness
(alongside a keen interest to experiment) which was evident among the cast, as we
explored “odd combinations” of Maro’s Method of Butoh with other forms and styles,

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5. FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

with the hope of “composing surprisingly successful combinations” (Christensen et.


al. 2011, 51). This was engendered by the knowledge that these “odd combinations”
could be interpreted as examples of Weber’s “acculturation:” “appropriation of a
foreign performance code without change, or with merely superficial adjustments”
(1991, 34). However, as Weber points out, acculturation can indeed act as a stepping-
stone to transculturation, so long as the process “moves towards an analytical, critical
reassessment” and pushes past imitation to “deconstruction [which will] eventually lead
to transculturaltion.” (1991, 35) Finally this phase yielded some “fertile combinations”
(see 4.4.3) and the knowledge that often, with sustained engagement and a critical
framework, acculturation is a legitimate part of the journey towards transculturation.

PHOTO 108: Preparing the Gold Body Paint. Photo: Drew der Kinderen (2014).

5.3 VISIBILITY OF THE TRANSLATOR


Acknowledging my role as the “translator” of Maro’s Method was for me, personally,
one of the most challenging parts of the process. Previously, Simon Woods and I
have remained relatively invisible, preferring to credit our translations of forms and
techniques (such as the Suzuki Method or Viewpoints) to their originators (i.e. Suzuki
Tadashi or Anne Bogart). Nonetheless, the fact remains that they have in fact been
Cultural Translations of these original texts, extensively reformulated over extended
periods of time for new audiences in a new cultural context.

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Lawrence Venuti has advocated at length (since 1995) for translators to become more
“visible” for several reasons. Firstly, he maintains that the role of the translator is often
devalued and not appreciated for its original contribution in the translational act.
Translation, he argues, is an inherently creative process which includes multiple stages
of rereading and rewriting. Susan Bassnett concurs, “the translator’s decision as to what
constitutes invariant information with respect to a given system of reference is in itself
a creative act” (2002, 45). Ultimately, translation is a creative process of “métissage,
interbreeding, hybridization, grafting, creolization” which involves the translator’s
“literariness” as both reader and writer (Scott 2006, 116).

Secondly, Venuti critiques the “highly prized illusion of transparency” that publishers seek
in translations because it creates the impression that it is a product of the target culture:

What is so remarkable here is that this illusory effect conceals the numerous conditions
under which the translation is made, starting with the translator’s crucial intervention in
the foreign text. The more fluent the translation, the more invisible the translator, and,
presumably, the more visible the writer or meaning of the foreign text. (1995, 1–2)

Venuti goes on to argue (following Schleiermacher


and Benjamin) for the “foreignisation” of the
translation in order to highlight rather than
erase that which is culturally distinct or foreign.
For Venuti, whose writings bring the powerful
role and agency of the translator into full
focus, it is an ideological choice which aims
to challenge the hegemony of English and
Anglo-culture in particular. Venuti claims that
translators have compounded this problem by
rendering themselves invisible, and he calls for
translators, publishers and readers to collectively
reflect on what he refers to as “the ethnocentric
violence of translation,” arguing for a greater
acknowledgement by all parties involved that
PHOTO 109: Lynne Bradley teaching “translations derive from works produced in other
Maro’s Method. The Actor’s Dojo.
Photo: Simon Woods (2015). cultural contexts” (1995, 41-42).

Put in this light, I have come to realise the importance of owning my translations of
the methods that I work with and disseminate nationally and internationally in my
role as director and actor-trainer at Zen Zen Zo. Claiming my position as the first
major translator of Maro’s Method into English, and into the Australian performing
arts landscape, also involves acknowledging the specific personal and cultural history

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5. FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

and positioning I bring to my interpretation, which in turn locates the context of my


translation. What I have offered is therefore not a single unequivocal truth, but rather
a translation that represents (following Spivak, 2000) an intimate act of surrender to
a text with which I have a strong personal connection. It is my hope that it will be the
first of many translations of Maro’s Method, as its multiple applications are explored by
future generations of artists outside of Japan.

5.4 EQUIVALENCE AND UNTRANSLATABILITY


Understanding the fundamental mechanics of translation proved to be extremely
helpful in learning the “new language” of Cultural Translation. Beginning with Eugene
Nida’s model, translation can be seen to follow the basic structural model of: analysis,
transfer and reconstruction (see Figure 4). Nida explains the process as follows:

The translator first analyses the message of the source language into its simplest and
structurally clearest forms, transfers it at this level, and then restructures it to the level in
the receptor language which is most appropriate for the audience which he intends to
reach (Nida and Taber 1969, 484).

As already noted, this parallels the stages of transculturation – deconstruction,


rearrangement, reconstruction. The process of reconstruction involves the translator’s
aim to find some form of “equivalence” between the original language/culture and
the target language/culture. Nida proposed three kinds of equivalence – “formal”,
“dynamic” and “directional” (1964).
This distinction between word-
for‑word (“formal”) and sense-for-
sense (“dynamic” and “directional”)
translation, has been useful for
understanding the fundamental
question a translator faces: whether
to try to replicate exactly the concept
being transferred or to subject it to
an informed process of adaptation PHOTO 110: Lynne Bradley and Yuyama Daiichiro.
in order to best capture its essence. Rehearsals. In the Company of Shadows.
Photo: Simon Woods (2016).
Translators choosing the latter
option subsequently focus on the target audience in the translational process, and take
into account their knowledge sets and cultural conventions. Further, Nida’s “directional
equivalence” theory refers to the asymmetric relation between source and target-texts,
which then acknowledges that the translation of a text one way does not mean that
the same equivalence will apply if the process is reversed. This proposition recognises

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that the translator has a choice between multiple translation solutions, which are not
wholly dictated by the start text (Pym 2014).

The model of Cultural Translation utilised by Zen Zen Zo, both in relation to Maro’s
Method of Butoh and other cross-cultural projects, employs both dynamic and
directional equivalence. Creating translations that capture the essence and maintain
the integrity of the forms and ideas inherent in the source practice, but are relatable to
artists in the Australian cultural context, has always been our goal.

When encountering concepts in the source text/culture that have no equivalent in the
target text/culture, the dilemma of “untranslatability” arises. Using translation theory I
came to understand that in these instances I had three options:

1. Create a new term in the target language as an adaption of the original;

2. Use descriptors or “interpretants” to point to the concept in the target


language/culture;

3. Import the foreign term as it stands in a translational act that supports Venuti’s
notion of “foreignisation”.

An example of this latter strategy can


be seen in my decision to acknowledge
the “foreignness” and relative
“untranslatability”of the core concepts at
the heart of Maro’s Method (such as igata
and chūtai) by retaining the Japanese
words followed by the unusual English
translations (“mould” and “space-body”)
provided by Dairakudakan.
PHOTO 111: James Kendall and Kate Murphy.
The goal was to resist the temptation “Dancing Salvador Dali.” In the Company of Shadows.
Photo: Simon Woods (2016).
of over-simplification for the sake of
easy consumption, and acknowledge the complexity of these terms, which are deeply
rooted in both Japanese culture and Dairakudakan’s own worldview.

Whilst Bassnett observes that translators who fall into the “optimistic category” believe
that everything is translatable by way of employing a range of skillful strategies (2014,
12-13), the concept of “untranslatablity” holds other wider political implications that
the translator needs to acknowledge. At times it can be a product of various resistances
offered by that which is being translated (whether texts, culture, or people) and therefore
can be interpreted as a productive act of agency. From a cultural theory position,
according to Bhabha (1994) this notion of the “untranslatable” should be embraced,

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5. FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

rather than easily circumnavigated, because it prompts a rethinking and transformation


of the target culture as it grapples with the complex interaction. As Iser observes:

[The] foreign culture is not simply subsumed under one’s own frame of reference; instead,
the very frame is subjected to alterations in order to accommodate what does not fit
(1994, 5).

In a similar manner, “mistranslations” can result from these resistances as “the culturally
translated are translating even as they are being translated – they are not just being
observed, they are observing” (Bery 2009, 215). As Bery comments:

[The translated] modify and adapt the versions of their translated selves [so that the]
version of self being offered [is] altered, adapted or resisted in the very process of delivery
and reception (2009, 215).

For this reason, Bery calls for a greater attention on the “addressee” to help counter the
commonly held notion that the translated might be passive – “mere clay in the hands
of the translators.” (2009, 214)

In the context of the Dairakudakan/Zen Zen Zo transcultural exchange, all these


translational challenges have been present at one time or another. The slipperiness of
Maro’s Method, both because of its inherent “foreignness” and because of Maro’s love
of “grey zone” answers, made translating it a complex and at times fraught process.
Eventually I realised that there was no “end point” to the translational process, and that
as Taylor (1991) advocates, at its best it is a circulatory transaction where the translator
continues to revisit the source text again and again (101). Without a deep engagement
with Maro (as the “addressee”), and an extended durational process which allowed for the
“mistranslations” to be identified and subsequently revised, this translational act may well
have resulted in a superficial, partial, and potentially incorrect version of Maro’s Method.

PHOTO 112: Lynne Bradley. Rehearsals. In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

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5.5 SKOPOS THEORY


When navigating the journey of translating Maro’s Method into my creative practice as
an Australian performing artist, I found the functionalist approach of Skopos theory
very useful. Skopos, according to Hans Vermeer refers to “the purpose of a translation”
(2000, 221), and his proposition is that the skopos of the translation justifies the
strategies used. Skopos theory, therefore, does not dictate how a text should be
translated, only that it should adhere to its core purpose. Bassnett elaborates:

For example, an instruction manual needs to be translated in such a way that the advice
given is clearly stated and in terms that comply with target culture expectations; legal
correspondence must be shaped in accordance with the prevailing norms of legal texts
in the target language. [For] jokes to work, they have to be reformulated (in those cases
where reformulation is possible), and news items have to be written with the express
intention to communicate with the target group for whom the news is intended. In short,
the translator has to put the requirements of the designated audience before any abstract
theories of faithfulness and aim to be faithful only to reproducing whatever the function
of the original text might have been. (2014, 148)

The goal of the translator, therefore, is to achieve equivalence only in the sense that
the function of start text and translation are the same. This results in a much greater
freedom for translators who work
across form and genre. Katharina
Reiss (2000) further elaborates that
skopos translations will be either
“content‑focused,” “form-focused” or
“appeal focused.” As a consequence of
this unprecedented freedom, Vermeer
proposes that the translator working
with skopos as their guide be given
PHOTO 113: Muramatsu Takuya, Seiya Miyamoto, Okuyama
the new title of “co‑author” (1994, 13). Barabasu. Hakuba, Japan. Photo: Lynne Bradley (2007).

Analysing the core purpose of Maro’s Method with the cast and creative team during
the Creative Development of In the Company of Shadows (see 4.4.3.2) provided us
with a pragmatic way forward throughout the process. It also facilitated a deeper
understanding of the start-text as it required in-depth dramaturgy to unpack what we
believed the purpose was in relation to form, content and appeal/impact. By way of
example, we determined that “making strange” was one of the impact-oriented goals
of Maro’s Method of Butoh.

Yuyama concurs that getting away from the “everyday” way of moving one’s body and
finding a new anti-rational body language is the goal of miburi/teburi:

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5. FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

[We’re] taking our everyday life and how we do things – everybody is using a computer
like this …. Somebody designed these things to use like this. So we can’t use in another
way. You can’t type with your toes. So miburi/teburi is like our experimental training to
try to get away from that way of [everyday] thinking …. to get new, strange movement.
(8th April, 2016)

For us, then, the goal of “making strange” became a guiding principle as we devised In
the Company of Shadows and attempted to bring to life the anti-rational space of our
dreams. Drawing on other notions of “making strange” (like Brecht’s verfremdungseffekt),
we set about devising strategies to achieve this end:

MAKE STRANGE
Like Brecht’s verfremdungseffekt, the goal is simultaneously to distance and draw in or
engage the audience in a dialectical relationship of attraction/repulsion through various
“making strange” techniques. In ITCOS, these should include a number of techniques from
Surrealism, including: non-sequitur; accidental associations; and irrational juxtaposition of
images; and the use of cubomania. From Butoh we should draw on various disruptive
characteristics, including: the white body paint; the grotesque body (including mask
work); extreme uses of tempo and duration (including bisoku);79 inhabiting the “no-mind”;
and the body “being moved” (Artist’s Journal, 9th September 2015).

Returning to the purpose of the material that I am attempting to translate, whether


artistic or pedagogical in the case of my work within the context of Zen Zen Zo, has
been a critical step in the translational process. It has ensured that the end result moves
beyond a superficial imitation of “form” to a deeper understanding and exploration of
“the source text” and its relevance to the “target audience/culture.”

PHOTO 114: Zeitgeist. Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre. Photo: Simon Woods (2008).

79 Bisoku is a technique I first experienced while training with Tess de Quincey in 1995, and refers to the use of
incrementally slow movement.

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5.6 POET’S VERSION TRANSLATION AND


INTERPRETANTS
Inspired by the great poet-translators, including Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, John Dryden and
Ted Hughes, Venuti’s “poet’s version” is a second-order creation that mixes translation
and adaptation out of necessity. As Edward Hirsch observes:

It is axiomatic that in a poem there is no exact equivalent for the valences of sound, the
intonations and sequences of words, the rhythm of separate lines, the weight of accruing
stanzas, the totality of musical effects. That’s why its untranslatability has been one of the
defining features of poetry. Samuel Taylor Coleridge coined the word untranslatableness.
Robert Frost famously said, “Poetry is what gets lost in translation.” …. The translation
of poetry inevitably strives to re-create a totality that can never be fully recovered. But
something else emerges. Joseph Brodsky reformulated Frost’s position: “Poetry is what is
gained in translation.” (2014, 649-651)

Therefore the goal of a poet’s version translation is to capture the spirit of the original
text because, as Dryden claims (referring to his translations of Pindar), “so wild and
ungovernable a Poet cannot be Translated literally” (in Venuti 2011, 231).

PHOTO 115: Crazy Camel. Dairakudakan Summer Camp. Photo: Lynne Bradley (2014).

Like Pindar, Maro is indeed a “wild and ungovernable poet” who requires a poet’s version
translation. Yuyama, who has acted as Maro’s translator for almost 20 years, agrees and
shares some of his translational strategies:

Sometimes people say to me, “Maro’s language is totally different from Japanese
language!” so even Japanese can’t understand his language. First of all I realised that I
need to understand his basic way of thinking …. His language is very complicated and
very poetic. So I try to understand it in my own brain first, then I try to explain it to other

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5. FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

Japanese people, and then to foreigners. That’s my method …. So you have to use your
imagination to understand what he’s thinking …. I’m trying to find a good word or good
sentence or good experience from my own experience in another country …. I could try
to explain it using a hundred words, but [instead] I try to find a common experience in the
other culture as a starting point. (8th April 2016)

In order to capture “the new music” and “allow the poem to be heard in the translation
language” (Weinberger 2000, 8), the translation must be weighted towards the receiving
culture. For this to occur, extensive departures from the original are necessary. Building
on Benjamin’s (1956) metaphor of the circle and the tangent to represent the relationship
between source text and translation, Venuti claims that the poet’s version requires a
complex process of deconstruction and reconstruction of the source material, with a
focus on the receptor and target culture (2011, 236). This process of recontextualisation,
which he acknowledges inevitably submits the source text to degrees of loss and gain,
involves a translational act that employs the use of “interpretants.” Defined by Venuti
as linguistic and cultural alternatives employed by the translator to mediate between
source and target language/culture, interpretants provide a productive strategy when
there is no equivalent term or concept in both languages or cultures. For Venuti, the
creative use of interpretants by the translator can contribute to an “exorbitant gain” and
lead to “cultural innovation” (2011, 246).

Apart from my own formulation of interpretants to translate Maro’s Method (outlined in


2.3.3) I was interested to observe the In the Company of Shadows cast searching for new
interpretants to translate Maro’s Method for themselves. Reflecting on the experience
of being moved vs. moving oneself, Wayne Jennings likened the concept to “being
puppeted,” whilst Scott Wings paralleled the experience to clowning:

Last night in Maro’s lecture I thought, “Oh, Butoh’s just very close to clowning.” Because
something’s moving you, like you’re inner clown is moving you … and it just kept going,
and unravelling, like when you’re doing clowning training. The devil [that Maro gave as an
example] has connotations, but that cheeky, clown-like character I find is more accessible
in those spaces for me. Then I don’t need to make sense of anything. (Roundtable
Discussion, 3rd August 2015)

Damara Sylvester compared the moment of the initial igata (mould), or “nani mo nai”
(nothing) moment, to past experience with the Chinese martial art of Qigong:

I’ve practiced Qigong for six plus years, and I’ve found that it’s been an excellent reference
point for all the training we’ve been doing. Because every time you start, you’re always
starting with relaxing and emptying your body. And then it’s a totally empty vessel. And
then you expand that emptiness far out into the universe, latch onto chi energy and then
start bringing it in. So it’s making some of these ideas easier for me to realise. (Roundtable
Discussion, 3rd August 2015)

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Wayne Jennings tackled that same concept in Maro’s Method by paralleling it with
experiences in his own life:

Probably the best way I can explain that, is that moment of sudden blankness when you
cannot remember a word, or when you walk into a room and instantly forget what it is
you’ve walked in there for. They’ve tried to find that moment of when the conscious mind
just turns off, and extend that. (Roundtable Discussion, 3rd August 2015)

Finally, Travis Weiner, grappling with the idea of the “empty body” as the starting point,
found his way to an analogy of a whiteboard:

My observation yesterday was to do with the idea of the empty vessel because I don’t
believe it can be achieved …. [How] can that be “empty” when there are still things there?
So I think it’s more like a whiteboard. Because, when you look at a whiteboard, sure, it’s
an empty whiteboard, but you can still see all the markings of the characters there. If you
draw something on top of it, everything behind become less noticeable because this is
what draws your attention, if that makes sense? So I think it’s less about being completely
empty and more about what you’re filling it with to cover the things that can’t be let go of.
(Roundtable Discussion, 3rd August 2015)

These and other shared interpretants were gradually accrued by the project team and
employed as we translated Maro’s Method back into the context of both the Actor’s
Dojo and rehearsals for In the Company of Shadows.

5.7 HYBRIDITY AND THE THIRD SPACE


In the Creative Development of In
the Company of Shadows I explored
hybridity during a period of divergent
thinking as a generative strategy.
Drawing on Benjamin (1923), in his
essay “How Newness Enters the World,”
Homi Bhabha (1994) proposed that
hybridity leads into an exploration of
the “third space,” a zone for resistance,
subversion and transgression. The
translator’s role, then, situated at the
border between cultures, between
source and end texts, is to facilitate
or enact this hybridity: “The focus is
on making the linkages through the PHOTO 116: Kate Murphy and Jordan Abil.
Creative Development (Actor’s Dojo).
unstable elements of literature and Photo: Lynne Bradley (2015).

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5. FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

art – the dangerous tryst with the ‘untranslatable’ – rather than arriving at ready-made
names” (Bhabha 1994, 325). Stallybrass and White also propose that the “dangerously
unstable zone” of hybridity can lead to major conceptual breakthroughs:

Hybridisation … produces new combinations and strange instabilities in a given semiotic


system. Hybridisation therefore generates the possibility of shifting the very terms of the
system itself, by erasing and interrogating the relationships which constitute it. (1986, 58)

PHOTO 117: Wayne Jennings and Travis


Weiner. “Imagineer.” In the Company of
Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

In search of this third space for our emergent work, we began a phase of research and
experimentation early in the project that investigated the borders of Butoh. As Susan
Blakely Klein observes, Butoh is by its very nature a hybrid style which draws from
multiple forms of high and low culture, including Noh, Kabuki, Yose, Misemono, Kathakali,
Tai Chi, German Expressionistic dance and Tanztheatre (1988, 21). She comments:

Butoh’s pastiche style, which picks and chooses among modern and premodern dance
techniques, elite and popular forms, with little or no regard for their original context or
meaning certainly accords with Fredric Jameson’s characterization of the postmodern as
‘the random cannibalization of all styles of the past, the play of random stylistic allusions.’
(1988, 21)

Our goal was to continue this exploration of hybridity and to ascertain how tolerant
this already inclusive performance modality was. We were also keen to determine the
point at which “Butoh stopped being Butoh” or, as performer Gina Limpus articulated
it, ask the question “how far can you go before something stops becoming Butoh and
starts becoming your own thing that was originally inspired by Butoh?” (Roundtable
Discussion, 5th September 2016).

As we tested fusing Maro’s Method of Butoh with a range of performance styles and
devising techniques that the cast were more “fluent” in (including aerials, clown, spoken
word, digital body mapping, and composition) we were nonetheless alert to the danger
that the resultant material might turn into “Chop Suey,” to use Carl Weber’s metaphor:

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A great number of transcultural projects, trying to combine, fuse, blend … features of


the indigenous with those of an alien culture, arrive at performances which use the alien
component as a spicy sauce to make some old familiar gruel palatable again. Quite like
the Chop Suey once concocted in the Chinese railway worker camps of the West – a dish
which superficially looked and smelled like Chinese cuisine while it merely tried to make
edible whatever was available to the hapless cooks. (1991, 30)

Heeding Weber’s advice to avoid such an unpalatable concoction by ensuring a


deep “awareness of a given foreign culture’s historic and social conditions, and their
inscription,” we returned time and again to reflect on the cultural origins of the “start
text” (Maro’s Method) from the cast’s first-hand experience of being embedded in the
culture (see 5.8).

The inherent uncomfortability experienced during this phase of hybrid experimentation


in search of a “third space” (see 5.1) can also be understood in terms of Bhabha’s
proposition that translators inhabit a liminal space between borders:

Because difference is at the heart of translation, the task of the translator is to negotiate
in the highly-charged in-between space that, according to Bhabha, ‘carries the burden of
the meaning of culture’ (Bassnett 2014, 58).

We came to understand this feeling of discomfort as a necessary part of the translational


act, the product of the “highly-charged in-between space,” and a sign that we were
productively engaging in the “dangerously unstable zone” where “newness can enter
the world.”

5.8 EMBEDDED PRACTICE: DEEP HANGING OUT


AND ENTANGLEMENT
Drawing heavily on Cultural Translation’s roots in anthropology and ethnography, this
research investigation utilised Clifford Geertz’s (1973) notion of culture as text, and
the importance of being embedded in the culture that you’re attempting to translate.
Further, by engaging in what Geertz (1998) refers to as “Deep Hanging Out” (long-term,
extended, non-agenda driven interaction), I have become productively “entangled”
with the people, the forms, and the culture I have been translating.

Part of my core beliefs regarding ethically-motivated cross-cultural and transcultural


practice were consolidated at the outset of this research investigation after reading
Geertz’s famous essay “Found in Translation” (1983). In it he claims that whilst it is
challenging to “apprehend another people’s or another period’s imagination neatly, as
though it were our own,” this does not mean we can “never genuinely apprehend it at
all” (44). Geertz proposes Cultural Translation as an act that attempts to comprehend

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5. FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

as fully and deeply as possible the radically different terms of another’s position in the
world and to communicate it in a way that does it justice. The translator, therefore, is
irrevocably changed and transformed by the encounter.

PHOTO 118: Okamoto Aya, David Charmley and Hannah Farrelly.


Dairakudakan Summer Camp. Photo: Lynne Bradley (2014).

Adhering to this philosophy, I have always acknowledged cross-cultural and


transcultural practitioners’ need to be embedded in a culture because, as Geertz
claims, “Anthropologists don’t study villages…; they study in villages” (1973, 22). This
leads, through a process of Deep Hanging Out, to productive “entanglements” with the
people of the culture that is being translated. As Mary-Louise Pratt observes, “any act
of translation arises from a relationship – an entanglement – that preceded it.” (2010,
96) These entangled relationships, Chelsea Hauge notes, are sometimes fraught but
ultimately rich and generative (2013, 7). Fellow Australian transcultural performance
researcher and practitioner Jeremy Neideck sees long-term engagement as imperative
to build entangled relationships with integrity and longevity that push past the “first
blush” or honeymoon period:

One of the things that I have really loved about working cross-culturally is maintaining
relationships and maintaining friendships …. [Over] the last 12–13 years it’s become
more about the interpersonal relationships, because that’s where the most interesting
works come from. It has become about those tensions of relationships, rather than me
picking up some kind of new skills in a foreign country. That being said, especially really
early on, when I was travelling to Japan to do a bit of Butoh training and I was training in
Korea, actually training in the cultural and social context gave me a much greater insight
into what I was doing and what I was trying to do, and then coming up against that, and
having to decide where I wanted my practice to go. I think those were really formative
times for me. But I’m glad that I personally have had the kind of privilege of going

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backward and forward and pushing past that first blush, that first glow of a relationship
with a new culture. It feels really good to have sustained engagement, and that’s where
those relationships have really come in. (12th May 2016)

PHOTO 119: Brisbane, 2009 (during GAIA rehearsals). Muku Naomi, Yamamoto Ryo, Muramatsu Takuya,
Yuyama Daiichiro, Lynne Bradley, Kai Woods, Simon Woods, Zak Woods.

Applying these principles (drawn from the anthropological roots of Cultural Translation)
to the interaction with Maro and Dairakudakan over the past decade, and more
specifically for the three-year duration of this research investigation, has resulted in a
multitude of productive outcomes. For me personally, these include: a high degree of
access to the company and their various activities; a “behind-the-scenes” view of the
company’s operations; an in-depth understanding of Temputenshiki and Maro’s Method
based on participation, observation, and dialogue with Maro and other members of
Dairakudakan; and a comprehensive knowledge of the cultural, social and political
context from which these concepts and methodologies have been born.

For the cast of In the Company of Shadows,


the experience of being embedded for
an intensive period of time in the cultural
context of Japan, and entwined with the
Dairakudakan company members, was
similarly fruitful. Commenting on the impact
of this part of the process, Jacqueline Marriott
said she felt she’d gained another dimension
to her pre-existing knowledge, “like another
layer of Japanese washi paper” (15th August
2015). Wayne Jennings simultaneously cited
PHOTO 120: Kate Murphy and Jacqueline
“a greater confusion re. miburi/teburi” and Marriott. Dairakudakan Summer Camp (2015).

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5. FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

“a greater understanding re. miburi/teburi” as a direct result of meeting and working


with Maro and Dairakudakan (18th August 2015). Travis Weiner reflected that he started
to “do as the Dai boys” did, in terms of eating and sleeping patterns, in order to survive
the rigor of (and better grasp) their work (18th August 2015). Many cited the impact the
communality of the living (eating, sleeping, bathing together) had on them, and how it
yielded a greater insight into the true meaning of “ensemble” and its impact on their art
making. Spoken Word artist, Scott Wings, resorted to poetry to process his experiences
of being “embedded and entangled” with Dairakudakan:

You’ll probably feel like an anomaly


It’s a bit daunting isn’t it? Obviously
Language and meaning, a collective autonomy
You’ll feel rich and poor and probably the whitest guy in the corroboree
There’s something about the land you reside in
Where you can pull silver lining from the sun beating time but
Here you’re really nothing but a gaijin80
So how do you sift gold from the ground we are mining? (6th August 2015)

PHOTO 121: Nevin Howell on Cooking Duty. Dairakudakan Summer Camp.


Photo: Lynne Bradley (2015).

Answering his own question about how to engage with the challenges of collaborating
across cultures, and understanding a different way of working, Scott Wings wrote:

Grit teeth split belief into a few pieces of peace


ask questions point to stuff and respect you are well out of your reach
and depth (either, or, each)
teach yourself to eat a humble beast you call yourself in your sleep.
(6th August 2015)

80 Gaijin is the Japanese slang word for “foreigner”. Literally meaning “outside person” it has a slightly derogatory
implication.

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FOUND IN TRANSLATION

For some of the younger artists involved in the project, exposure to an international
company in their own environment, with a unique way of working, was an extraordinarily
fertile experience. Nevin Howell, during an early roundtable discussion reflected:

It’s all just at another league of intensity and explosiveness, isn’t it? I’m like, “How is
Yuyama doing that?” It’s just mind-blowing. Nearly passing out yesterday during training
made me realise, “Wow, this is really intense”. Watching these guys, I just don’t think
they’re real! They’re just insane – how do they do the things they do? It’s not a bad thing
to realise where you are in comparison. You just accept, “This is where I am and I’ll just
keep working harder so I can get to that level ‘coz it’s insane, it’s so cool. I want to be able
to do that!” (3rd August 2015)

PHOTO 122: Dale Thorburn, Lynne Bradley, Maro Akaji, Martin Ventura.
Mexico City. Photo: Yamamoto Ryo (2010).

There was an overwhelming feeling among the cast that they had gained a great
deal from the experience of being embedded in the culture of the company, and the
opportunity to watch Dairakudakan work with Maro’s Method in training and creation.
(Roundtable Discussion, 1st December 2015).

However, as Mette Bovin points out in “Provocation Anthropology,” the exchange needs
to be two-way to be a truly transcultural experience:

What happens when our status as guests who enjoy privileges without giving anything in
return grows stale? The old Danish saying, "fish and guests start to smell on the third day,"
is valid the world over. Friendship and local "native sponsors" are not enough. (1998, 24)

Apart from my producing commitments to Dairakudakan to assist them in touring to


Australia (which included annual grant applications) and bringing groups of students
to train with them in Japan, artistically influences have flowed both ways. Discussing
what we have gained from working together, Maro and I reflected:

MARO: I think the Australian men [you bring] are so bestial. (Laughing). They have a very wild
animal kind of energy. They don’t think too much about “what is dance?” When something
interests them they laugh out loud. I think we’re losing that kind of spirit [in Japan], that

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5. FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

kind of energy. So when we work together there’s a sense of liberation. These sort of
ridiculous, great big burly men. I think you and I share the same kind of eye to pick that
up and use it …. I’m really moved and impressed by that. I feel a bit of nationalist pride in
that I feel like we shouldn’t be left behind by you, that we should catch up with you if you
can do something we should be good at! Those are some of the things that make it fun to
work with Zen Zen Zo.

LYNNE: Yes, once I remember you yelled out in the middle of class, “Watch out Japanese or Zen
Zen Zo will steal the Butoh!”

MARO: Exactly. It was because of the strength of the wildness, of the undomesticated movement.
It’s also the combination of the undomesticated and intellectual, you’ve got that mix. So
whilst it’s ridiculous, at the same time it’s also fearsome, threatening. Japanese people
therefore need to try to imitate that and I want to use the wiliness of age to steal that
as a form of art. We could make it into a more sophisticated art when we merge these
two elements …. So I think as a mutual thing, if our companies could really bring
those two aspects or elements together, it could be very fearsome. If we just evaluate
the look of something like that just from a Japanese perspective, then we get into that
emphasis on the single culture. So it’s important for us to ask, “what is Zen Zen Zo trying
to do”? Working together from our different cultural perspectives is very fruitful I find.
(22nd July 2014)

PHOTO 123: Scott Wings and Nevin Howell. Rehearsals for Natsu no Inori (A Summer’s Prayer).
Dairakudakan Summer Camp. Photo: Lynne Bradley (2015).

The deep mutual interest in our two respective companies, and the way we make art,
has been a byproduct of this long-term process of being embedded and entwined over
a decade of working together.

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This in turn has enabled me to culturally translate Maro’s Method in consultation and
dialogue with Dairakudakan. From this perspective the process has been ethically-driven
in its desire for genuine transcultural dialogue and exchange. It is my proposition that
these outcomes would have been highly unlikely should my methodology have simply
entailed “distance research” or the short-term, first-hand exposure that characterises
“parachute anthropology,” or what Geertz refers to as “hit-and-run ethnography” (1998,
72). My long-term engagement with Japan (and with Dairakudakan) has also culminated
in a fair degree of linguistic and cultural bilinguality which, whilst not a prerequisite for
transcultural practice to occur, substantially increases the depth-understanding of the
source text and culture. It has also enabled a systemic innovation born of sustained
and cyclical transcultural engagement, as opposed to a one-off explosion of artistic
creativity, which often defines cross-cultural arts practice.

In this manner, transcultural practice can be seen to benefit greatly from an ongoing
circulatory process of extended long-term interaction. As Diana Taylor observes,
“Transculturation suggests a shifting or circulating pattern of cultural transference.”
(1991, 93) Ideally then, the process of Cultural Translation will continue to include
intimate contact with the source culture/text through embedded experiences, even as
it wends its way towards a new language and identity.

PHOTO 124: Kashiwamura Sakura. Wearing a Zen Zen Zo T-Shirt and a Dairakudakan Scarf.
Dairakudakan Summer Camp. Photo: Simon Woods (2015).

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5. FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

5.9 TRANSCULTURAL COMPETENCIES


The success of any Cultural Translation depends a great deal on the transcultural
competence of the translator or participants involved in the transcultural journey.
According to Richard Slimbach, “competence of a transcultural kind must exhibit the
attitudes and abilities that facilitate open and ethical interaction with people across
cultures.” (2005, 206) Drawing on social anthropology, intercultural communication and
international education, Slimbach outlines 6 categories of “transcultural competency:”
1) perspective consciousness; 2) ethnographic skill; 3) global awareness; 4) world
learning; 5) foreign language proficiency; and 5) affective development (see Figure
14). Neideck (2016) comments that this relationship-oriented approach to transcultural
practice has been particularly influential in his work:

Slimbach’s entreaty to engage in practices that are “immersed, immediate, and emotional”
held strong resonances for me, especially by the time that Nathan Stoneham and I were
developing 지하 Underground in 2011 where our modus operandi could be accurately
described as bringing “knowledge of relationships within [our] own culture to the process
of cultivating rela- tionships across cultures” (Slimbach, 2005, p. 207). (36)

Neideck goes on to elaborate upon the


usefulness of Slimbach’s model as a pragmatic
tool in his transcultural performance projects:

No singular aspect of Slimbach’s


framework seemed ground-breaking,
however the way that they were articulated
together with pragmatic suggestions
on implementation made them easy to
communicate to my collaborators, and
meant that they became useful tools with
which to evaluate my practice, and identify
the ways I could improve — generally as
a person caught between cultures and
countries — and as an artist facilitating PHOTO 125: Lunch at the Summer Camp.
transcultural projects. (2016, 51) Photo: Lynne Bradley (2015).

In the final debrief with the creative team of In the Company of Shadows, they reflected
on what they believed were the prerequisites for a productive and ethically-driven
transcultural exchange. The majority of the responses resonated with Slimbach’s
transcultural competencies. David Walters, who has lived and worked extensively in
Iceland, posited:

I think the basic thing has to be mutual respect. I think that has to be a starting point. It
also has to be an “Emperor's New Clothes” style of approach, I believe, so that you can

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FOUND IN TRANSLATION

actually open yourself up to the understanding of that culture and get rid of all your
cultural baggage …. I think that's really important and that has to be reciprocal I feel.
(26th May 2016)

Similarly Jennings, who tours regularly to Asia with the Deep Blue Orchestra,
commented:

Everyone has to be prepared to listen to each other and respect other performers from
other cultures. Respect what they have to bring to the table. I have found in a number
of different musical cultures and sub-cultures, there’s a tendency to place others from
different cultures on pedestals. Also, just to make unspoken assumptions that, “well
everyone does this, therefore why aren’t you doing this?” Which is the opposite of putting
someone on a pedestal. There’s the, “we can’t ask you to do that, because that sort of
musician doesn’t do that sort of thing.” And the opposite, which is, “everyone works this
way, why don’t you work this way?”

The importance of approaching transcultural exchange without assumptions, is also a


key theme for Neideck who observes:

I think the most important thing that I have learned is that it’s not productive to make
assumptions about anything. Anything at all …. So, in terms of best practice for me, best
practice is not to have assumptions, and also releasing expectations. (12th May 2016)

Upon returning from Japan in 2015, the cast of In the Company of Shadows listed a
number of strategies they had found useful in overcoming the challenges of working
transculturally. These included: not making assumptions, staying open-minded,
being culturally sensitive, being curious, being flexible, listening, forming friendships,
and having a translation app on their phone. As stated in 4.3.1.2, the success of this
transcultural project was in part due to a team who displayed a high level of transcultural
competency throughout the project, allowing for true personal and professional
transformation to take place.

PHOTO 126: Yuyama Daiichiro and Simon Woods. Hakuba, Japan. Photo: Lynne Bradley (2015).

194
5. FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

5.10 THE TRANSCULTURAL EMBRACE


Developing Slimbach’s proposed competencies becomes a healthy prerequisite for
engaging in “the transcultural embrace” that occurs in transcultural partnerships.
The danger that emerges from long-term embedded and entangled cross-cultural
practice is that the “transcultural embrace” becomes a “bear hug” – an unproductive
act of abnegation in order to please those that we are “in-relationship” with. Slimbach
suggests the hug, therefore, needs to be both firm and soft:

Such an embrace begins by opening our arms wide to the people – desiring our self not
to remain isolated culturally, but for community members to be a part of us, and us of
them. This embrace is mutual and sincere, but also soft …. In each of our journeys we
seek to maintain a conscious awareness of our self as a “centre,” a cultural being ultimately
responsible for its own thoughts and behaviours. (223)

The ongoing relationship with Dairakudakan can therefore be interpreted as an example


of such a “transcultural embrace.” Throughout the past three years of this research
investigation I have been cognisant of
the need to stay true to my own artistic
practice whilst respectfully translating
Maro’s Method into a new cultural context.
Acknowledging the temptation when
working cross-culturally to create work that
stops at the imitation phase of emulating
our heroes or masters, or simply pleasing
them, I attempted to offer resistance when
needed during the embrace in order not to
be crushed by my admiration and respect
for Maro and the work of Dairakudakan.
In turn I tried not to assimilate their work
unproblematically into my cultural space in PHOTO 127: Lynne Bradley and Dairakudakan
Executive Producer Shinfune Yoko.
a negating power-hug. Photo: Simon Woods (2015).

Out of this soft but firm “transcultural embrace,” ethically-motivated practices developed
between Zen Zen Zo and Dairakudakan that I believe maintained the integrity of both
companies’ core aesthetic and political positions. As Fischer-Lichte observes:

Interweaving cultures in performance does not mean erasing their differences or


homogenizing them. Rather, because of the multiple states of in-betweeness …
performances are particularly good sites for different cultures to meet and negotiate
their relationships through various processes of interweaving that result in something
completely new and beyond the scope of any single participating culture. (2009, 400)

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FOUND IN TRANSLATION

For Schleiermarcher, the translator who oversees this process of interweaving and
translating cultures should operate in a state of in-betweeness, between languages and
cultures, between the domestic and the foreign (in Rendall 1996, 362). In this manner
they are able to evoke in the reader or
audience a similar experience to that which
is being translated as both familiar and
foreign, accessible yet alien. It has therefore
been my aim throughout the translation
and implementation of Maro’s Method
to inhabit this in-between space as the
translator, and to maintain a relationship
of equilibrium between source-text and
translation, a dynamic push-pull exchange
of the domestic and the foreign, in which
neither culture is subsumed or annihilated.
Through the transcultural embrace and
inhabitation of the in-between space, I
have come to comprehend the paradoxical
process by which Geertz claims “the deeply
different can be deeply known without
PHOTO 128: Lynne Bradley, Takakuwa Akiko and
becoming any less different” (1983, 48). Elise Gettliffe. Photo: Simon Woods (2015).

5.11 MARO’S METHOD: LOST AND FOUND IN


TRANSLATION
The central case study for this investigation focused
on Maro’s Method, a term coined by Dairakudakan
translator Yuyama Daiichiro to describe the Butoh
practices employed by the company and developed
by founder Maro Akaji (8th April 2016). In a final
translational act of rewriting, it is my suggestion that
Maro’s Method be renamed Temputenshiki Training.
Having engaged in Maro’s training and devising
techniques now for a decade, the term “method” feels
completely alien to the core of this practice. Taking
an anti‑rational and predominantly postmodern
PHOTO 129: Dairakudakan’s form, it is constantly in flux. The definition of
Temputenshiki Banner. “method” according to the Oxford English Dictionary,
Dairakudakan Summer Camp.
Photo: Lynne Bradley (2014). on the other hand, includes “the quality of being

196
5. FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

well organized and systematic in thought or action.” Maro’s Butoh, however, and its
associated practices of training and devising, are intentionally chaotic and fluid. Like
sand through your fingers, once you think you’ve finally grasped it, it disappears. This is
further problematised by Maro’s desire to confound and add layers of complexity, like
his former mentor Hijikata Tatsumi. Both are notorious for their willingness to propagate
Butoh as a kind of “inchiki” or “bogus trick” (Maro, 14th December 1991) by intentionally
engaging in contradictory and nonsensical dialogue and discourse.

By re-naming it Temputenshiki Training, this translation holds on to the poetic phrasing


(utilising alliteration) that appealed to Yuyama in his initial, spontaneous act of labeling.
Further, and more importantly, it points to its origins in Maro’s unique worldview.
Yuyama explains:

Temputenshiki is our slogan, and also it became the name of our performance. Recently
it became the name of the performances that my boss Maro makes or directs. He made
it up. It basically means, “being born in the world is the only talent itself.” We use a lot of
words like, “he’s talented” or “he’s not talented.” But he says that talent is not so easy word.
This is very original already. Nobody has this hand in their body because this is talent.
So you’ve been born. We are using body for the performance, so this is talent. So you’ve
already got talent when you’re born. (8th April, 2016)

Therefore for Maro, each time we train, or create new work, or perform becomes
a ceremony or festival (tenshiki 典式) to celebrate our innate and unique talents
(tempu 天賦) as human beings.

Adopting a predominantly Japanese name for Maro’s training and devising methodology,
also constitutes a translational act that
strategically employs Venuti, Schleiermacher
and Benjamin’s notion of “foreignisation.”
Whilst my goal has always been to make this
training and devising system as accessible as
possible for non-Japanese artists, it is
important to acknowledge it’s specific
historical and cultural origins in the work of
Dairakudakan as a Japanese Butoh company. PHOTO 130: Dairakudakan’s Temputenshiki logo.

Whether Maro will endorse this new title, or whether (like a good “poet’s version”
translation) it will appeal to the target audience of English-speaking Butoh practitioners,
has yet to be established (beyond the borders of Zen Zen Zo’s Actor’s Dojo). As Hermans
notes, we can never know if our translations “have wrapped themselves ‘correctly’
around phenomena.” (2003, 385) All we can hope is that certain choices of words will
capture aspects of the world in a way that holds on to the “music” of the original.

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FOUND IN TRANSLATION

5.12 CONCLUSION
I prepare for class with the soundtrack of a Balinese gamelan orchestra playing in the
background. I finish my preparation and send a few emails to friends and colleagues in
New Zealand, America and Hong Kong. I then head upstairs to eat a dinner of Japanese
home‑style sushi and miso soup prepared by my teenage son wearing a t‑shirt his
father recently brought back from the Philippines. I listen to the news featuring stories
from around the world, translated from Syrian, Mandarin, Polish and Spanish. I get in
my Japanese car, set out for work, and pass restaurants offering cuisine from Thailand,
India, Portugal, Italy and China. The houses near where I park reflect styles drawn from
Mediterranean, Japanese and Australian architectural styles. I walk into my class – which
includes students from Australia, Canada, Columbia, Singapore, Spain and Hong Kong – to
teach actor training methods which originated in Japan and America. Where am I? I live in
Brisbane, not known as an overly international city. (Artist’s Journal, 20th September 2016).

As Richard Slimbach observes, “Ready or not, a ‘transcultural’ era is upon us.” (2005,
205) The rapid expansion and innovation of digital technologies and communication
strategies, global trade and economic policy, international tourism, and an increasingly
mobile world population has led to the birth of the transcultural age. The ramifications
of this increasingly multifaceted, multilingual world mean that intercultural
communication and linguistic and Cultural Translation have become critical skills for
the transcultural era. Susan Bassnett reflects:

The twenty‑first century is the great age of translation. Millions more people are moving
around the planet than at any time in history …. As those millions move around,
taking their own languages with them, they encounter other languages, other cultural
frameworks and other belief systems, hence are compelled, whether consciously or not,
to engage in some kind of translation …. [It] is surely more important than at any time
in the past for there to be greater awareness of cultural difference and a greater need for
intercultural understanding. (2014, 1‑2)

PHOTO 131: In the Company of Shadows. Jordan Gilmore, Travis Weiner, Yuyama Daiichiro, Nevin Howell,
Gina Limpus, James Kendall, Kate Murphy. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

198
5. FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

Earlier research and writings around intercultural communication and arts practices
such as theatre focussed on cross‑cultural failure, misunderstanding, misappropriation
and highlighted cultural differences. However, as Juliane House observes:

[Recent] intercultural research increasingly focuses on how interactants manage to


understand one another, and how intercultural understanding is constructed in processes
of translation …. The new cosmopolitan turn requires a new complex framework not
necessarily compatible with [a] traditional culturally oriented view of communication
(2016, 37).

This research investigation has aimed to find such a new framework to discuss
intercultural, transcultural and cross‑cultural practices in the context of contemporary
performance, drawing on Translation Studies and the emergent theories around
Cultural Translation. The significance of the findings is that they offer performance
makers interested in working across cultures a new language to articulate their
practices, and strategies to resolve some of the challenges inherent in cross‑cultural
and transcultural work. In addition, as the translator of Maro’s Method (or Temputenshiki
Training) into the context of my practice as an Australian actor‑trainer and director,
and through the decade‑long creative collaboration with Dairakudakan, I have been
irrevocably changed by the encounter.

At the closing night celebrations in 2010 in Japan of Hoshi no Itonami (in which Zen Zen
Zo performed alongside Dairakudakan), Maro celebrated this union in a speech that
playfully referred to the loose translations of Dairakudakan (Great Camel Battleship) and
Zen Zen Zo (Never the Elephant). With me beside him he announced:

The camel and the elephant have mated and a strange new beast has been born. We are
now its parents and our job is to raise it well so that it might grow into a magnificent
creature. (Artist’s Journal, 10th August 2010)

PHOTO 132: Lynne Bradley, in response to Maro’s “Hybrid Creature” Speech.


Dairakudakan Summer Camp. (2010).

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FOUND IN TRANSLATION

This research investigation has therefore traced the development of this “hybrid
creature” over a three‑year period, tracking its growth and investigating the challenges
and benefits of this kind of transcultural exchange. For us it has been hugely rewarding
and transformative. It is our hope that this relationship will continue to flourish and that
other Australian companies and artists will engage in the “transcultural embrace” and
continue to be lost and found in translation.

PHOTO 133: Maro Akaji and Lynne Bradley. Dairakudakan Summer Camp.
Photo: Simon Woods (2015).

200
6. REFERENCE LIST

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7. APPENDIX

7.1 LIST OF PHOTOGRAPHS


PHOTO 1 GAIA (Zen Zen Zo). Lynne Bradley and Dale Thorburn. Photo: Simon Woods (2009).
PHOTO 2 Lynne Bradley and Maro Akaji. Backstage Katari Gusa (Dairakudakan). Photo:
Mark Hill (2007).
PHOTO 3 In the Company of Shadows. Jordan Gilmore, Nevin Howell, Gina Limpus, James
Kendall, Kate Murphy, Travis Weiner. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).
PHOTO 4 Maro Akaji. Backstage Yuhi no Utage (Dairakudakan). Photo: Yamamoto Ryo
(2005).
PHOTO 5 The Sea-Dappled Horse. Dairakudakan. Photos: Yamazaki Hiroto (2001).
PHOTO 6 Maro Akaji and Lynne Bradley. Hakuba, Japan. Photo: Shinfune Yoko (2014).
PHOTO 7 The Cult of Dionysus (Brisbane Festival). Peter Lamb. Photo: Christabelle Baranay
(1996).
Zeitgeist (Edinburgh Fringe). Harriet Devlin, Helen Smith, Mark Hill. Photo: Lynne
Bradley (2009).
Cabaret (Zen Zen Zo/QPAC/PowerArts). Harriet Devlin, Krystal Hart, Sandro
Colarelli, James Kendall, Dale Thorburn. Photo: Justine Walpole.
PHOTO 8 Posters from Dairakudakan performances in Hakuba, Japan involving Zen Zen
Zo members:
Yuhi no Utage (Sunset Banquet, 2008).
Hoshi no Itonami (The Star’s Life, 2010).
Yakusoku no Natsu (The Promise of Summer, 2012).
PHOTO 9 Lynne Bradley and Family and Matsuda Atsushi, Muku Naomi, Yuyama Daiichiro,
Muramatsu Takuya. Dairakudakan Kochuten Studio in Tōkyō. Photo: Simon
Woods (2012).
PHOTO 10 In the Company of Shadows. Travis Weiner, Yuyama Daiichiro, Gina Limpus.
Photo: Simon Woods (2016).
PHOTO 11 Local Companies Featured in the inaugural Brisbane Festival (Matrix Theatre,
Kooemba Jdarra, Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre). The Brisbane News. Photo: Leah
Broadfoot (1996).
PHOTO 12 Zeitgeist. Ellen Rijs. Photo: Simon Woods (2008).
GAIA. Mark Hill. Photo: Simon Woods (2009).
PHOTO 13 The Marriage of Figaro (Stage X Festival). Scott Witt, Lewis Jones, Caroline Chown,
Jason Klarwein. Photo: Christabelle Baranay (1997).
Unleashed (Adelaide Fringe). Chris Beckey. Photo: Christabelle Baranay (2000).
Macbeth: As Told by the Weird Sisters. Chris Beckey. Photo: Christabelle Baranay
(1999).
PHOTO 14 Zeitgeist (Adelaide Fringe). Mark Hill. Photo: Jenny Coyne (2009).
Zeitgeist. Fleur Nobel, Tora Hylands, Ellen Rijs, Mark Hill. Photo: Sara Moss (2008).
Zeitgeist. Photo: Simon Woods (2009).
PHOTO 15 Maro Akaji and Hijikata Tatsumi (Tōkyō). Photo: Miyauchi Fumio (1960s).
PHOTO 16 Original Daiirakudakan Members (Tōkyō): Amagatsu Ushio, Ōsuka Isamu,
Bishop Yamada, Murobushi Ko, Tamura Tetsuro and Maro Akaji. (1972).

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7. APPENDIX – List of Photographs

PHOTO 17 Dobu (Ash Man). Dairakudakan. Muramatsu Takuya. (2009).


PHOTO 18 Tess de Quincey (2011), Cheryl Heazlewood (1996), Yumi Umiumare (2015).
PHOTO 19 Zeitgeist. Photos: Simon Woods (2008).
PHOTO 20 Maro’s Method (Actor’s Dojo). Katherine Wilkinson, Indigo Keane, Merlynn Tong.
Photos: Simon Woods.
PHOTO 21 Lynne Bradley performing Noh (Kyoto, Japan). 1990.
PHOTO 22 Cabaret (Zen Zen Zo/QPAC/PowerArts). Sandro Colarelli, Harriet Devlin. Photo:
Justine Walpole (2011).
PHOTO 23 Natsu no Inori (A Summer’s Prayer). Shioya Tomoshi, Takakuwa Akiko. Photo:
Simon Woods (2015).
PHOTO 24 Maro’s Method (New Zealand Stomp). Martine Baanvinger, Damara Sylvester.
Photo: Lynne Bradley (2016).
PHOTO 25 Training in The Actor’s Dojo. Photos: Simon Woods (2015).
PHOTO 26 Zen Zen Zo Masterclass (Melbourne Women’s Circus). Photo: Lynne Bradley
(2014).
PHOTO 27 Viewpoints Training in The Actor’s Dojo. Photo: Simon Woods (2008).
PHOTO 28 Lynne Bradley. In the Company of Shadows Rehearsals. Photo: Simon Woods
(2016).
PHOTO 29 Viewpoints Training in The Actor’s Dojo. Aurora Liddle-Christie, Heidi Harrison,
Billy Steward-Keed, Jordan Albi. Photo: Simon Woods (2015).
PHOTO 30 Bill Haycock Interview with Lynne Bradley. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).
PHOTO 31 Artist’s Journal. Photo: Lynne Bradley (2016).
PHOTO 32 Roundtable Discussion. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).
PHOTO 33 Simon Woods. Photo: Self Portrait (2015).
PHOTO 34 Amadeus (Hong Kong). Erica Brennan, Cloe Fung, Jess Samin, Rian Howlett,
Laura Dean. Photo: Simon Woods (2009).
Waterwall (Creative Generations). Krystal Hart. Photo: Simon Woods (2010).
Medea: The River Runs Backwards. Lauren Jackson. Photo: Chris Marr (2013).
1001 Nights (QTC/Zen Zen Zo). Tina Torabi, Dan Crestani, Steven Rooke. Photo:
Justine Walpole (2013).
PHOTO 35 In the Company of Shadows. Jordan Gilmore, Nevin Howell, Gina Limpus, James
Kendall, Photo: Simon Woods (2016).
PHOTO 36 Hakuba, Japan. Dairakudakan Summer Camp. Photo: Lynne Bradley (2014).
PHOTO 37 Dairakudakan Summer Camp. Photos: Lynne Bradley (2014).
PHOTO 38 Maro Akaji teaching at the Dairakudakan Summer Camp (2014).
PHOTO 39 Summer Camp Stage. Hakuba, Japan. Photo: Lynne Bradley (2007).
PHOTO 40 Maro’s Method – Chūtai Training (New Zealand Stomp). Photo: Lynne Bradley
(2016).
PHOTO 41 Ryoanji Zen Rock Garden (Kyoto, Japan). Photo: Lynne Bradley (1989).
PHOTO 42 Clay and Sculptor (New Zealand Stomp). Fabrizia Gariglio, Damien McGrath.
Photo: Lynne Bradley (2015).
PHOTO 43 Floating in Ma (Actor’s Dojo). Harriet Devlin and James Kendall. Photo: Lynne
Bradley.
PHOTO 44 Body Bag (New Zealand Stomp). Wayne Jennings and Peter Kraat. Photo: Lynne
Bradley (2016).

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PHOTO 45 Muramatsu Takuya and Lynne Bradley. GAIA. Photo: Simon Woods (2009).
Matsuda Atsushi, Watanabe Tatsuya, Muramatsu Takuya, Tamura Ikko. Photo:
Lynne Bradley (2014).
Muramatsu Takuya and Lynne Bradley. Crazy Camel Rehearsals. Photo:
Yamamoto Ryo (2014).
PHOTO 46 Dream Compositions. Photo: Lynne Bradley (2015).
PHOTO 47 Creative Development Artists at Dairakudakan Summer Camp (sewing
costumes). Scott Wings, Jordan Gilmore, Kate Murphy, Travis Weiner, Damara
Sylvester, Jacqueline Marriott, Gloria Ang. Photo: Lynne Bradley (2015).
PHOTO 48 Rehearsals for Natsu no Inori (A Summer’s Prayer). Dairakudakan Summer Camp.
Photo: Lynne Bradley (2015).
PHOTO 49 Wayne Jennings and Travis Weiner during the Hair Shaving Ritual prior to the
performance of Natsu no Inori (A Summer’s Prayer). Photo: Lynne Bradley (2015).
PHOTO 50 Igata from Natsu no Inori (A Summer’s Prayer). Wayne Jennings, Jaqueline
Marriott. Photos: Lynne Bradley (2015).
PHOTO 51 Maro Akaji. Natsu no Inori (A Summer’s Prayer). Photo: Simon Woods (2015).
PHOTO 52 Natsu no Inori (A Summer’s Prayer). Shioya Tomoshi, Takakuwa Akiko, Yuta
Kobayashi, Saimon Yuna. Photo: Simon Woods (2015).
PHOTO 53 Natsu no Inori (A Summer’s Prayer). Zen Zen Zo members perform alongside
Dairakudakan member. Photo: Simon Woods (2015).
PHOTO 54 Yuyama Daiichiro and Lynne Bradley. Dairakudakan Summer Camp.
Photo: Yamamoto Ryo (2015).
PHOTO 55 Scott Wings. Creative Development (Actor’s Dojo). Photo: Lynne Bradley (2015).
PHOTO 56 In the Company of Shadows. Nevin Howell, Gina Limpus, James Kendall, Travis
Weiner. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).
PHOTO 57 Natasha Currant Welcoming the Audience. In the Company of Shadows. Photo:
Simon Woods (2016).
PHOTO 58 Lighting Plot. In the Company of Shadows. Yuyama Daiichiro, Lynne Bradley, Bill
Haycock, David Walters. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).
PHOTO 59 Lynne and Maro Akaji: Photos: Mark Hill and Drew der Kinderen (2007, 2012,
2014)
PHOTO 60 Wakaba Kohei, Matsuda Atsushi, Dale Thorburn, Tamura Ikko. Photo: Lynne
Bradley.
PHOTO 61 Lynne Bradley and Maro Akaji. Dancing to Waltzing Matilda at the Final Party for
Crazy Camel. Photo: Drew der Kinderen (2014).
PHOTO 62 Travis Weiner and Jacqueline Marriott. In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon
Woods (2016).
PHOTO 63 Jail Nino, James Kendall, Samara Sutton-Baker, Luke Goss, Natasha Currant. In
the “Zen Zen Zo Family Living Room.” In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon
Woods (2016).
PHOTO 64 Maro Akaji. Hakuba, Japan. Photo: Simon Woods (2015).
PHOTO 65 Cast of In the Company of Shadows with Maro Akaji and Lynne Bradley. Backstage,
Natsu no Inori (A Summer’s Prayer). Photo: Simon Woods (2015).
PHOTO 66 Yuyama Daiichiro translating for Maro Akaji. Hakuba, Japan. Photo: Lynne
Bradley (2015).
PHOTO 67 Wayne Jennings. “World Upside Down.” In the Company of Shadows. Photo:
Simon Woods (2016).

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7. APPENDIX – List of Photographs

PHOTO 68 Jordan Abil. “The Nightmare.” In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods
(2016).
PHOTO 69 Stuart Nix. “The Nightmare.” In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods
(2016).
PHOTO 70 Nevin Howell, Yuyama Daiichiro, Gina Limpus. “In the Company of Shadows.” In
the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).
PHOTO 71 Bill Haycock, Lynne Bradley, Evan Setiawan. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).
PHOTO 72 Wayne Jennings. “Welcome.” In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods
(2016).
PHOTO 73 Stuart Nix, Jordan Abil + Audience Exiting. In the Company of Shadows. Photo:
Simon Woods (2016).
PHOTO 74 Peter Kraat and Lynne Bradley in Rehearsal. In the Company of Shadows. Photo:
Simon Woods (2016).
PHOTO 75 Lynne Bradley in Rehearsal. In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods
(2016).
PHOTO 76 Luke Goss and Stuart Nix. “World Upside Down.” In the Company of Shadows.
Photo: Simon Woods (2016).
PHOTO 77 Yuyama Daiichiro, Nevin Howell and Stuart Nix. “Boyzzz.” In the Company of
Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016)
PHOTO 78 Travis Weiner and Jordan Gilmore. “The Nightmare.” In the Company of Shadows.
Photo: Simon Woods (2016).
PHOTO 79 Wayne Jennings with the Musical Score for “The Nightmare.” In the Company of
Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).
PHOTO 80 Evan Setiawan, Adam Cadell, Wayne Jennings, Richard Grantham. “Dancing
Salvador Dali.” In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).
PHOTO 81 Adam Cadell, Wayne Jennings, Jennifer Hogan, Richard Grantham, Gina Limpus,
Evan Setiawan. In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).
PHOTO 82 Zen Zen Zo “Youngest Sister” Natasha Currant’s Pig Slippers.
Zen Zen Zo “Family Photo” (displayed in the Living Room).
Zen Zen Zo “Middle Sister” Samara Sutton-Baker. Photo: Lynne Bradley (2016).
PHOTO 83 Lynne Bradley and Yuyama Daiichiro. Rehearsals for In the Company of Shadows.
Photo: Simon Woods (2016).
PHOTO 84 Travis Weiner. “Imagineer.” In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods
(2016).
PHOTO 85 Wayne Jennings and Travis Weiner. “Imagineer.” In the Company of Shadows.
Photo: Simon Woods (2016).
PHOTO 86 Travis Weiner. “Imagineer.” In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods
(2016).
PHOTO 87 Travis Weiner. “Imagineer.” In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods
(2016).
PHOTO 88 Wayne Jennings and Travis Weiner. “Imagineer.” In the Company of Shadows.
Photo: Simon Woods (2016).
PHOTO 89 Travis Weiner. “Imagineer.”
PHOTO 90 Nevin Howell, Travis Weiner, Yuyama Daiichiro, Stuart Nix, James Kendall, Jordan
Abil. “Boyzzz.” In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).
PHOTO 91 “Boyzzz.” Rehearsals. In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

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PHOTO 92 Nevin Howell and James Kendall. “Boyzzz.” In the Company of Shadows. Photo:
Simon Woods (2016).
PHOTO 93 Nevin Howell, Travis Weiner, Stuart Nix, Jordan Abil. “Boyzzz.” In the Company of
Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).
PHOTO 94 Nevin Howell, Travis Weiner, Yuyama Daiichiro, Stuart Nix, James Kendall, Jordan
Abil. “Boyzzz.” In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).
PHOTO 95 Yuyama Daiichiro. In the Company of Shadows. Photos: Simon Woods (2016).
PHOTO 96 Yuyama Daiichiro. In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).
PHOTO 97 Yuyama Daiichiro and Kai Woods at the AFL.
Yuyama Daiichiro, Lynne Bradley and Kai Woods at Mooloolaba.
Yuyama Daiichiro and the Cast in the Valley on his birthday.
PHOTO 98 Nevin Howell and Yuyama Daiichiro. In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon
Woods (2016).
PHOTO 99 Evan Setiawan, Adam Cadell, Wayne Jennings, Richard Grantham. “Dancing
Salvador Dali.” In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).
PHOTO 100 Yuyama Daiichiro. Rehearsals. In the Company of Shadows. Photos: Simon Woods
(2016).
PHOTO 101 Gina Limpus. “In the Company of Shadows.” In the Company of Shadows. Photo:
Simon Woods (2016).
PHOTO 102 Yuyama Daiichiro, Travis Weiner, Nevin Howell, James Kendall, Gina Limpus. “In the
Company of Shadows.” In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).
PHOTO 103 Yuyama Daiichiro and James Kendall. In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon
Woods (2016).
PHOTO 104 Jenifer Hogan and Gina Limpus. In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon
Woods (2016).
PHOTO 105 Nakahara Kazuhiko (Stage Manager), Lynne Bradley, Agatsuma Emiko. Photo:
Simon Woods (2015).
Matsuda Atsushi and Simon Woods. Photo: Lynne Bradley (2015).
Lynne Bradley and Watanabe Tatsuya. Photo: Simon Woods (2015).
PHOTO 106 Jennifer Hogan, Gina Limpus, Stuart Nix, Jordan Abil. “Dancing Salvador Dali.” In
the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).
PHOTO 107 Nevin Howell and Gina Limpus. In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon
Woods (2016).
PHOTO 108 Preparing the Gold Body Paint. Photo: Drew der Kinderen (2014).
PHOTO 109 Lynne Bradley teaching Maro’s Method. The Actor’s Dojo. Photo: Simon Woods
(2015).
PHOTO 110 Lynne Bradley and Yuyama Daiichiro. Rehearsals. In the Company of Shadows.
Photo: Simon Woods (2016).
PHOTO 111 James Kendall and Kate Murphy. “Dancing Salvador Dali.” In the Company of
Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).
PHOTO 112 Lynne Bradley. Rehearsals. In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods
(2016).
PHOTO 113 Muramatsu Takuya, Seiya Miyamoto, Okuyama Barabasu. Hakuba, Japan. Photo:
Lynne Bradley (2007).
PHOTO 114 Zeitgeist. Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre. Photo: Simon Woods (2008).

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7. APPENDIX – List of Photographs

PHOTO 115 Crazy Camel. Dairakudakan Summer Camp. Photo: Lynne Bradley (2014).
PHOTO 116 Kate Murphy and Jordan Abil. Creative Development (Actor’s Dojo). Photo:
Lynne Bradley (2015).
PHOTO 117 Wayne Jennings and Travis Weiner. “Imagineer.” In the Company of Shadows.
Photo: Simon Woods (2016)..
PHOTO 118 Okamoto Aya, David Charmley and Hannah Farrelly. Dairakudakan Summer
Camp. Photo: Lynne Bradley (2014).
PHOTO 119 Brisbane, 2009 (during GAIA rehearsals). Muku Naomi, Yamamoto Ryo, Muramatsu
Takuya, Yuyama Daiichiro, Lynne Bradley, Kai Woods, Simon Woods, Zak Woods.
PHOTO 120 Kate Murphy and Jacqueline Marriott. Dairakudakan Summer Camp (2015).
PHOTO 121 Nevin Howell on Cooking Duty. Dairakudakan Summer Camp. Photo: Lynne
Bradley (2015).
PHOTO 122 Dale Thorburn, Lynne Bradley, Maro Akaji, Martin Ventura. Mexico City. Photo:
Yamamoto Ryo (2010).
PHOTO 123 Scott Wings and Nevin Howell. Rehearsals for Natsu no Inori (A Summer’s Prayer).
Dairakudakan Summer Camp. Photo: Lynne Bradley (2015).
PHOTO 124 Kashiwamura Sakura. Wearing a Zen Zen Zo T-Shirt and a Dairakudakan Scarf.
Dairakudakan Summer Camp. Photo: Simon Woods (2015).
PHOTO 125 Lunch at the Summer Camp. Photo: Lynne Bradley (2015).
PHOTO 126 Yuyama Daiichiro and Simon Woods. Hakuba, Japan. Photo: Lynne Bradley
(2015).
PHOTO 127 Lynne Bradley and Dairakudakan Executive Producer Shinfune Yoko. Photo:
Simon Woods (2015).
PHOTO 128 Lynne Bradley, Takakuwa Akiko and Elise Gettliffe. Photo: Simon Woods (2015).
PHOTO 129 Dairakudakan’s Temputenshiki Banner. Dairakudakan Summer Camp. Photo:
Lynne Bradley (2014).
PHOTO 130 Dairakudakan’s Temputenshiki logo.
PHOTO 131 In the Company of Shadows. Jordan Gilmore, Travis Weiner, Yuyama Daiichiro,
Nevin Howell, Gina Limpus, James Kendall, Kate Murphy. Photo: Simon Woods
(2016).
PHOTO 132 Lynne Bradley, in response to Maro’s “Hybrid Creature” Speech. Dairakudakan
Summer Camp. (2010).
PHOTO 133 Maro Akaji and Lynne Bradley. Dairakudakan Summer Camp. Photo: Simon
Woods (2015).
PHOTO 134 Gina Limpus. In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).
PHOTO 135 Wayne Jennings. In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).
PHOTO 136 Simon Woods, Muramatsu Takuya and Maro Akaji. Smoker’s Corner, Summer
Camp. Photo: Lynne Bradley (2015).
PHOTO 137 Jacqueline Marriott, Travis Weiner, Wayne Jennings and Simon Woods.
Backstage, A Summer’s Prayer. Photo: Lynne Bradley (2015).
PHOTO 138 James Kendall, Travis Weiner, Stuart  Nix, Jordan Abil, Nevin Howell, Yuyama
Daiichiro. “Boyzzz.” In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).
PHOTO 139 Travis Weiner and Jacqueline Marriott. “Dancing Salvador Dali.” In the Company
of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016)
PHOTO 140 Yuyama Daiichiro. In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

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FOUND IN TRANSLATION

7.2 LIST OF FIGURES


FIGURE 1 Threads of Butoh Definition (2014).
FIGURE 2 Christensen, Dyer and Gregersen’s Innovator’s DNA Model (2011).
FIGURE 3 Austin Kleon’s Good Theft vs. Bad Theft (2012).
FIGURE 4 Nida’s Model of the Translation Process (adapted from Koller 2011).
FIGURE 5 Action Research Cycles (based on McNiff and Whitehead 2006).
FIGURE 6 Zen Zen Zo and Composition (2012 Drama Queensland Conference).
FIGURE 7 Bill Haycock’s Costume Design for In the Company of Shadows (2016).
FIGURE 8 Anne Galletta’s Interpretative Activities Model (2013, 151).
FIGURE 9 Project Design (Three Creative Practice Cycles).
FIGURE 10 Dairakudakan 2014 Summer Camp Staff List and Daily Schedule.
FIGURE 11 Maro’s Pictorial Account of the Two Dimensions of Human Life. Recreated by
Drew der Kinderen.
FIGURE 12 Hokusai’s Manga (1814).
FIGURE 13 Pablo Picasso’s The Dream (1932).
FIGURE 14 Richard Slimbach’s Transcultural Competencies (2006).
FIGURE 15 Dramaturgical Map for In the Company of Shadows (2015).
FIGURE 16 Sleepover Invitation for In the Company of Shadows (2016).
FIGURE 17 Drew der Kinderen’s notation of The Nightmare.
FIGURE 18 Excerpt from the draft “score” for Imagineer (2016).
FIGURE 19 “What Do Boys Dream?” Lyrics (Armadrading and Barbara, 1983).
FIGURE 20 Hero Image used in publicity materials for In the Company of Shadows.

PHOTO 134: Gina Limpus. In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

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7. APPENDIX – Key Artist Biographies

7.3 KEY ARTIST BIOGRAPHIES


DIRECTOR
LYNNE BRADLEY has worked as a director, choreographer, performer and actor-trainer
in Brisbane and abroad for the past 30 years. In 1992 she founded Zen Zen Zo Physical
Theatre with Simon Woods, and has spent the past two decades building Zen Zen Zo into
an internationally renowned performance and training centre. Lynne has been involved
in two major intercultural exchanges over the past ten years with world-renowned Butoh
company Dairakudakan in Japan, and the International Schools in Hong Kong. She travels
regularly nationally and internationally to direct and teach. Lynne has won a number of
awards as a director, performer and choreographer, including Matilda Awards for Cabaret
(Best Musical) and The Tempest (Best Independent Production). Zeitgeist was also short-
listed for a prestigious Total Theatre Award at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2009.
Lynne is also an actor-trainer specializing in movement and physical theatre, and has
founded all of Zen Zen Zo’s flagship training programs, including Stomping Ground and
the Company Internship. Her training includes the Suzuki Method, Noh, Nihon Buyo and
Butoh, which she studied intensively whilst living in Japan from 1989-1995, and again
in 1999 (whilst on a Fellowship from the Brisbane City Council). In 1998 she received an
Arts QLD professional development grant to study the Viewpoints with Anne Bogart and
the SITI Company in New York, and she and Simon Woods subsequently became the first
teachers of this actor-training method in Australia. Lynne works regularly in Australian
universities and Acting Schools around the country and in 2017 will take up a full-time
position at the University of the Sunshine Coast running the new Masters in Professional
Practice (Performing Arts).

LIGHTING DESIGNER
DAVID WALTERS has worked for the past 35 years as a professional Lighting Designer
in Iceland and Australia. His work experience spans lighting designs for opera, theatre,
children’s theatre, ballet, dance, puppetry, circus, son et lumières, exhibitions, major
events and architectural and landscape installations. From 1978 to 1986 David worked
as a freelance lighting designer in Iceland where he is recognised as one of the pioneers
in this field. In 1986 David returned to Australia to take up a position as Resident Lighting
Designer with the Queensland Theatre Company. Since 1990, as a freelance designer, he
has worked extensively throughout Australia and designed for the Melbourne Theatre
Company, Sydney Theatre Company, State Theatre Company of South Australia, Handspan,
Playbox, La Boite, Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus, Nimrod, Company B, Expressions, Queensland Ballet,
Australian Ballet, The Powerhouse, QUT, QPAC, Zen Zen Zo, Topology, Bell Shakespeare
Company and Opera. Throughout his professional career David has maintained close ties
with Iceland where he has worked for the National Theatre, the Reykjavik City Theatre and
the National Opera. In addition he has lectured in lighting design at several universities
and was recently appointed an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Queensland University
of Technology.
David has regularly collaborated with Zen Zen Zo since 2004. Productions he has designed
the lighting for include The Odyssey (Matilda Award), Sub-Con Warrior  1, Sub-Con
Warrior 2.0, Freda’s Girls and In the Company of Shadows.

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FOUND IN TRANSLATION

DESIGNER
BILL HAYCOCK’s career spans more than 30 years during which time Bill has designed
well over a hundred plays, ballets, dance pieces, visual theatre events, operas, exhibitions
and installations for many of the country’s most innovative companies, directors and
choreographers. A 1978 NIDA graduate, Bill’s early designs include Neil Armfield’s
productions of Stephen Sewell’s Traitors and Louis Nowra’s Inside The Island for Nimrod.
From 1984 to 1987 Bill was Resident Designer with The Queensland Ballet and his dance
designs include Orpheus, Rite of Spring, Salome, The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle,
Frankie and Johnny (for which he was also director and scenarist) and with Natalie Weir
Medea, The Studio and Burning. In 1985 he was awarded the Loudon Sainthill Memorial
Scholarship, allowing him to undertake a three month study tour of Europe and Japan.
Bill has designed extensively for QTC, La Boite, QPAC, Opera Queensland and Queensland
Ballet. For six years from 2005-2011 Bill was the Head of Design at the Hong Kong
Academy for Performing Arts. While in Hong Kong Bill also designed Voyages, an original
dramatic/ballet work for a new theatre complex in Suzhou, China as well as The Shape
of Things for the Hong Kong Arts Festival. His final design in Hong Kong was The Park
for the HKAPA. On returning to Australia in August 2011 Bill has been kept busy with a
wide range of freelance projects including: Cabaret for ZenZenZo/QPAC/PowerArts, 1001
Nights (ZenZenZo/QTC/Queensland Music Festival), two new works for the innovative
music group Topology: Ten Hands and Sharehouse as well as productions of Edward
II, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Julius Caesar for QUT Drama Department. He also
designed Zen Zen Zo’s The Odyssey in 2004 for which he won a Matilda Award.

COMPOSER/MUSICIAN
WAYNE JENNINGS graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from the University
of Queensland in 1991, but soon found himself drawn more to multi-disciplinary arts
performances than traditional classical music. While he has performed both nationally
and internationally with assorted classical ensembles, he has also worked and toured with
artists as diverse as Kate Cebrano, The Doug Anthony Allstars, and The Dresden Dolls. More
recently he has worked on larger-scale multimedia spectacles with rock groups such as the
flamboyant The Red Paintings and the more intimate Silver Sircus. His personal interest in
combining live music with physical performance has led him to study Tai Chi with The
Australian Academy of Tai Chi, Acrobatics with Circa, and Physical Theatre with Zen Zen
Zo. He has used these skills to perform, coach, and devise new works with a number of
performance companies including Deep Blue Orchestra (Prelude 2008, The Dream 2010,
Who Are You 2012, India Stories 2013), Out of the Box Children’s Festival (The Flying
Orchestra 2012), and The Camerata of St John’s and Expressions Dance Company (When
Time Stops 2013). In 2013 he collaborated with the Viola Cloning Project and Zen Zen Zo
to compose music that combined live instruments and electronic looping for the Butoh
performance Here There Be Dragons. In 2010 he formed The RagTag Band to provide live
music for local Burlesque and Circus performances, and with them in 2014 produced and
directed Do It For SCIENCE! – an educational burlesque cabaret. In 2015 he is producing
Blueprints – a concert series of short experimental works for Deep Blue Orchestra that
aim to focus on theatricality and intimate audience engagement.

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7. APPENDIX – Key Artist Biographies

MULTIMEDIA DESIGNER/PERFORMER
NEVIN HOWELL is an emerging theatre artist, working variously as a director, performer
and AV designer. Nevin has worked for Vena Cava Productions, Imaginary Theatre, Zen Zen
Zo Physical Theatre, Shock Therapy Productions, Out of the Box, DIY Festival, Short+Sweet
Festival, Anywhere Theatre Festival and Festival of Australian Student Theatre. His training
includes a BFA in Drama at QUT, and intensives with VCA, Homunculus Theatre Company,
Debase, QLD Shakespeare Ensemble and Dairakudakan (Japan). He also trained extensively
with Zen Zen Zo between 2012-2016 in the Suzuki Method, Butoh and Viewpoints and
is now a Teaching-Artist with the company. During this time Nevin has also performed
and designed multimedia for Zen Zen Zo, including Freda’s Girls for the UQ Women’s
College Centennial Gala and In the Company of Shadows. In 2017 Nevin will continue
working as a Resident Artist for Markwell Presents, a Teaching-Artist for Zen Zen Zo, and
independently as a theatre maker.

PERFORMANCE POET/WRITER
SCOTT SNEDDON aka Scott Wings, is a performance artist, poet and writer from Brisbane,
Australia, who has quickly become one of the must-watch creators in lo‑fi, high octane,
one-man theatre. His 2014 one-man show Icarus Falling was the sell‑out of The Edinburgh
Festival Fringe, Wonderland Festival (Brisbane, QLD), Crack Theatre Festival (Newcastle,
NSW), Perth World Fringe 2015 and Adelaide Festival Fringe 2015. Scott Wings’ performance
in Icarus Falling earned him a Total Theatre Award nomination for Best New Artist and a
number of 5-star reviews. Passionate about site-specific theatre and revitalising spaces for
performance, Scott Wings has performed at the Anywhere Theatre Festival (a site-specific
festival) since 2013 as well as co-founded In-House, a month long performance residency
in a Brisbane vintage clothing store. His successful follow up production in 2015 was
Colossi – a one-man testament to imagination and friendship set on a bridge, a balcony
or ravines across the world.
A prolific writer and performer in his Brisbane poetic community, Scott Wings co-founded
the infamous Ruckus Slam and performs regularly at poetry slams and events. From
2013-2014 he was a board member for the Queensland Poetry Festival and is the 2013
Performance Poetry World Cup champion. He performs regularly for school groups with
The Brisbane Writers Festival and The Red Room, as well as freelance workshops with
schools across the country. Scott has trained since 2012 with Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre,
trained with SITI Company in New York in 2014, and trained and performed in Japan in
2015 with Butoh company Dairakudakan. He is a regular contributor to Zen Zen Zo’s work,
including adapting MEDEA (2013), co-writing Freda’s Girls (2014), and performing in
Here There Be Dragons (2014).

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FOUND IN TRANSLATION

SOLO PERFORMER
TRAVIS WEINER is a Brisbane-based multidisciplinary artist who is interested in creating
new and unique experiences for audiences through theatre, dance, music, and film-
making. Travis recently graduated with a BFA (Drama) from the Queensland University
of Technology, and in 2017 he has been accepted into the inaugural year of the Masters
of Professional Practice (Performing Arts) at the University of the Sunshine Coast. Since
2013 Travis has trained in the Suzuki Method of Actor Training, Viewpoints and Butoh with
Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre, and in 2015 he travelled to Japan to train and perform with
the world’s oldest Butoh company, Dairakudakan. In 2015 Travis directed and performed
in The Puppeteer, which saw the hybridization of naturalism and physical theatre. He
also lead the Audax Industria ensemble in their production of From the Ashes under
the direction of David Charmley. Together they have since co-founded a startup YouTube
entertainment channel entitled JOYSIC. Travis has previously collaborated with Lynne
Bradley as performer and co-director/devisor on the QUT productions Children of the
Black Skirt, Hair, and Cosi.

VIDEOGRAPHER/PHOTOGRAPHER
SIMON WOODS founded Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre with Lynne Bradley in 1992, and
directed many of Zen Zen Zo’s major works including The Cult of Dionysus, Macbeth:
As Told by the Weird Sisters, The Odyssey and Sub-Con Warrior 2.0. From 2011-2015
Simon worked as a Producer for the Queensland Performing Arts Centre and then the
Brisbane Powerhouse. He is one of Australia’s leading instructors in the Suzuki Actor
Training Method. Over 20 years of teaching and directing, Simon has run numerous Suzuki
Method and Viewpoints training programs in Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Canada and
throughout Australia. As a resident in Japan from 1993-1995 Simon studied Noh theatre
and the Suzuki Actor Training Method and participated in Suzuki Tadashi’s International
Masterclasses in New York (1994) and Toga, Japan (2007). He has also observed Suzuki at
work directing several productions for the renowned SCOT Company. Simon received a
Master of Arts in Drama (UQ) in 2006 for research on the application of the Suzuki Method
for contemporary performers. From 2001-2007 Simon was also a consultant with the
Brisbane Lions (AFL) delivering flexibility and core strength programs. Since 2015 he has
applied his directing talents to digital cinema, and now creates dynamic film content for
clients in Australia and Asia.

PHOTO 135: Wayne Jennings. In the Company of Shadows. Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

226
7. APPENDIX – Media Reviews

7.4 MEDIA REVIEWS

Zen Zen Zo’s In The Company Of Shadows


Zen Zen Zo, The Loft, QUT.
By Baz McAlister. April, 2016.
It’s a bit strange to be instructed to turn up to the theatre in your pyjamas – but then,
a joyful and complete immersion in the strange has always been the modus operandi
of Brisbane troupe Zen Zen Zo, under the practised eye of Lynne Bradley – their work
is bold, innovative and memorable. From the beginning, Bradley’s new work In the
Company of Shadows shows all these hallmarks. The preamble to the show has the
four – yes, just four – audients showing up to be part of a sleepover, which begins
over hot chocolate with marshmallows in a room where we sit around in a circle with
a few other pyjama-clad actors, playing spin the bottle and talking about dreams.
There’s a hint of the strange even in this informal scene, as a girl wearing goggles
on her forehead, looking like some kind of pioneering oneironaut, stares at me
expressionlessly throughout. From there, holding hands, we all troop down the hall
to talk more about weird and scary dreams with our eyes closed, then unite to turn a
simple clothes rack into a dreamlike pirate ship as we careen down another darkened
hallway to a canopied bed.
Top and tail, we are tucked in and sent off to sleep. The lights go out – but, is the bed
moving? There are a few nervous titters from the tiny audience, then a bright light –
and an actor is just inches from my face, looming over the bed, staring upside-down
into my eyes. As the canopy is whisked off, the bed begins to move around a yawning
black space, where about a dozen sprite-like dancers semi‑clad in luminous PJs and
musicians are just barely visible.
What follows in the next 20 minutes or so is a series of moments snatched from
the aether – boys’ macho dreams are showcased by a cadre of male dancers, set to
Pharrell’s Freedom, with slow-motion fight moves and guttural grunting. Present
throughout is a bald, butoh-inspired Dream Master-like figure in black, the ringmaster
of the dreamworld if you will, and as the bed seemingly floats around the space from
scene to scene – at one point, spinning as fast as the hollering, hissing actors can make
it go – he seems to be the puppeteer of these phantasms.
As the final scene in the tableau threatens to descend into out-and-out nightmare,
with probing limbs reaching from under the bed to grasp at our extremities, the
Dream Master throws open a set of double doors, a square of light – and the show
ends with a basket of fresh croissants and orange juice courtesy of our sleepover
chums from the start of the experience.
Along with her collaborators, Bradley has created an intricate and emotionally
involving theatrical experience here. I begin to appreciate just how intricate when
I watch a second show from the sound and lighting booth above the theatre – it’s
a little like the magician revealing their secrets, as I can see the actors behind the
headboard, spinning the bed, or those concealing themselves beneath it awaiting
cues, the subtleties of the costume changes and the byzantine challenges of the
blocking for the 15 or so performers. Added to that, the second show is completely
different – where the one I participated in was playful, erotic and amusing, the second
show is more nostalgic and sensual, a slower pace and a more lyrical experience.
This is boundary-pushing theatre at its very best – and while a show where the
performers outnumber the audience by about five or six to one will never be
commercially successful, it’s vital that unforgettable and beautiful work like this
continues to be made.

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FOUND IN TRANSLATION

A Sleepover to Remember
Zen Zen Zo, The Loft, QUT.
By Anja Ali-Haapala. April 14, 2016 | Audience Enrichment
A central focus of my professional life is creating/researching engaging experiences
for audiences. What better way to start this than sharing an anecdote of an occasion
where I had the pleasure of being on the receiving end of such an experience. Brisbane
physical theatre company Zen Zen Zo recently presented a season of In the Company
of Shadows at The Loft, Kelvin Grove. This performance also doubled as a creative
outcome of Zen Zen Zo Director Lynne Bradley’s doctoral research project. It was
through a friend (one of the performers) that I learned about this production. I was
told it was interactive, that it explored the theme of nightmares, and that audience
members experienced it in a king size bed: I was sold.
In the days leading up to the event, I received an
email from Zen Zen Zo with instructions: bring my
invitation to the ‘sleepover’, arrive 30 minutes before
‘bedtime’ for hot chocolate, and come dressed in
my pyjamas. I love playing dress-ups, so, of course,
I turned up in my best dressing gown! On arrival, I
played games in the ‘lounge room’ with three other
sleepover guests before meeting the prolific Zen
Zen Zo ‘family’ in the darkened ‘bedroom’. Here we
snuggled into the bed while the family wheeled us
around the space, steering the bed like you would
a video camera capturing a movie in one take. As
we kept changing direction, different scenes of the
family were presented to us. The family crawled
underneath and over us like insects, they ‘nibbled’ our feet, and spun us around as
fast as they could. The guest next to me (a stranger) squirmed in response, and clung
on to me for support in particularly visceral moments. We did not ‘sleep’ well that
night.
This performance was memorable because it was designed to be experienced by the
audience. I was greeted, fed, played games (including ‘pirate ships’), and was tucked
into bed. Interestingly, at no point was this event referred to as a ‘performance’.
Instead, it was a ‘sleepover’. The cast, ‘family members’. The tickets, ‘invitations’. For
me, this made the evening feel more personal, and, in some ways, made it less
confronting to interact with performers in the theatre environment.
And there’s more! Opportunities for audience members to reflect on performances
is important for the meaning-making process, which contributes to the pleasure of
attending performances. A lovely, last touch to this sleepover was the ‘breakfast’ that
awaited us when we left the bedroom. Not only did it provide a fitting end to the
sleepover, but it also gave us, the guests, an opportunity to talk about the experience
we had just shared. And, boy, did we have a lot to talk about!

228
7. APPENDIX – Production Score

7.5 PRODUCTION SCORE


SLEEPOVER #1 – “NAUGHTY and (not so) NICE”
(playful, erotic, and amusing)
THEME AND CONTENT/
SCENE TIME PERFORMERS MUSIC
BED POSITION

FOYER ZZZ Extended Family • ZZZ Exended Family


welcome the audience to
the Zen Zen Zo Sleepover
• In “Living Room”

1. WAYNE’S 2.00 Wayne • Audience enters “Master


WELCOME Bedroom”
AND MARO’S • Wayne welcomes the
MESSAGE patrons into bed and
gives them the “rules
of engagement” for the
Sleepover

2. WORLD UPSIDE 5.00 Faces = Jen, Aurora, L’execution • The world turns upside
DOWN (WUD) Stuart, Jordy (Angela down as the audience
Choreographer = Torches = Nev, Travis, Badalamenti) enters the world of
Lynne Bradley Jordan and Gina dreams
Porthole Faces = Jac,
JK, Kate and Daiichiro

3. BOYZZZ 4.00 Boys Freedom • What do boys dream


Choreographer = (Pharrell about?
Mel Budd Williams) +
What Do Boys
Dream (Joan
Armatrading)

4. DANCING 5.00 Dancers = Kate, Fake Ligeti • Absurd, anti-rational,


SALVADOR DALI Jordan G, Travis, Nevin, masters of miburi…a
Choreographer = JK, Daiichiro tribute to Salvador Dali
Yuyama Daiichiro Bed Movers = Aurora,
Jen, Gina

5. THE NIGHTMARE 8.00 All + Daiichiro Why So Serious • The dark unspeakable
Choreographer = (Hans Zimmer nightmare
Drew der and James • Daiichiro’s as Sandman/
Kinderen Newton Miburi Shadow Master of
Howard) our dreams/nightmares

SLEEPOVER Wayne + Extended • The extended family


ENDS Family waiting outside with
breakfast

25 mins

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FOUND IN TRANSLATION

SLEEPOVER #2 – “SENSUAL and SUBLIME”


(sensual, lyrical and sublime)
THEME AND CONTENT/
SCENE TIME PERFORMERS MUSIC
BED POSITION

FOYER ZZZ Extended Family • ZZZ Exended Family


welcome the audience to
the Zen Zen Zo Sleepover
• In “Living Room”

1. WAYNE’S 1.00 Wayne • Wayne welcomes the


WELCOME patrons and gives them
AND MARO’S the “rule of engagement”
MESSAGE for the Sleepover

2. LULLABY 2.00 Jen and Gina Lullaby: • Lullaby to transition to


Blood Money sleep state
(Tom Waits)

3. MUSICIANS’ 5.00 Bed Pushers = Stuart Libertango • Canopy ripped off to


MAUSOLEUM and Jordy (Astor Piazzolla) reveal smoke and UV lit
Choreographer = Major = Musicians space
Lynne Bradley Minor = Dancers • Musicians possessed by
Shadow spirits
• Daiichiro with flame,
appearing and
disappearing as the
Sandman/Miburi Shadow
Master

4. THE IMAGINEER 5.00 Travis and Wayne Gnossienne no.3 • Exploring the fertile
Choreographers (Erik Satie) space of a man-child’s
= imagination
Lynne Bradley
and Travis Weiner
and Nevin Howell

5. IN THE 7.00 + Travis, Nevin, JK, Gina, The Flying • the Miburi priests
COMPANY OF 5.00 Jordan G and Kate Dream (Iain and priestesses of the
SHADOWS Bed Movers = Stuart Graindage) Collective Unconscious
+ Daiichiro’s and Jordy + Richard • Daiichiro as Sandman or
SOLO Grantham’s Miburi Shadow Master of
Looping our dreams/nightmares
Choreographer =
Composition in
Lynne Bradley
the middle for
Solo

SLEEPOVER Wayne + Extended • Wayne appears to guide


ENDS Family the audience out of sleep
Bed Movers = Stuart and into the new day
and Jordy • Extended Family waiting
outside with breakfast

25 mins

230
7. APPENDIX – Artist's Journal Excerpts

7.6 ARTIST’S JOURNAL EXCERPTS


Ma: A Conversation with Muramatsu
“I am at the Smoker’s Corner and inhaling the secondary smoke from Muramatsu’s fifth cigarette
in a row. Sam is sitting beside me looking alternately deeply confused and childishly excited by the
twists and turns in the conversation. He wants to know what Maro means by “don’t move your body
– let your body be moved”. In class Maro incited him to let the “tiger, wind, flower, ping pong ball” in
through his orifices (nostril, ear, mouth, pores, butt hole) and allow them to trigger movement. Sam
could cope with that idea and has created some fantastically absurd movement in the process, but
was left destabilized by Maro’s discussion of the “Space-Body” (Chu-tai). He is now outside with me
trying to understand Muramatsu’s explanation in half-English, half-Japanese. Suddenly Muramatsu
grabs his hands and pulls them in front of him and commands him to “hold the air between your
fingers so it doesn’t disappear!” He is immediately engaged in an impossible task which brings his full
focus and attention to the invisible space between his fingers. Something has emerged in the “empty
space” and both of us can see the incredible impact this has on changing his “every day” movement
into something that is immediately watchable. We realize that the empty space around our bodies
is no longer “empty” and instead has the power to impact and dictate our movements.” (July 2014)

Zen Rock Garden: Ma and the Viewpoints


“I am teaching a Viewpoints class at QUT and giving my usual explanation of “Spatial Relationships”
by way of my “Zen Rock Garden” experience:

‘When I was 23 I was taken to a very famous Zen Rock Garden in Japan in the Ryoan-ji
temple. Sure enough I was struck by the beauty of the rocks, their shapes and sizes and
textures. I turned to my Japanese friend and said, “Wow, those are very cool rocks!” But
my Japanese friend said, “Lynne-chan, the garden is not about the rocks. It is about the
space between the rocks. Can you see it?” And suddenly I saw it. The invisible became
visible and what I saw was an exquisitely carved out picture in the so called “negative
space”. Which wasn’t negative at all, but positive and full of meaning and beauty. I was
blown away by the idea that the Zen Monks had placed the rocks in the garden to
carve out the invisible space. I realised that as an Australian I had been taught to look
at objects, rather than the invisible space around them, which by its very nature as
“invisible” didn’t exist for me up until that point.’

I finish the story. The students continue to look at me expectantly. Suddenly it hits me. I fall silent
(the students are still waiting). The “space between” things in the Viewpoints (between the actors
and each other and the audience and the architecture) IS Ma. That’s why I’ve unconsciously always
drawn on the Zen Rock Garden analogy. This story often incites an “aha” moment from my students,
but right now I am having the epiphany. My obsession with Spatial Relationships, and why I have
privileged it over many of the other Viewpoints when framing my work as a director, all makes sense
now.” (September 2014)

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FOUND IN TRANSLATION

“Watch out Japanese or Zen Zen Zo will Steal the Butoh!”


“We are in class with Maro. He is leading an improvisation with the performers working in pairs. Many
of my company members are on the stage paired with Japanese dancers. Caesar is right up the front
and moving with an abandon that appears to be partly terrifying and partly amusing his partner.
Suddenly Maro yells out “Watch out Japanese or Zen Zen Zo will Steal the Butoh!” Everyone laughs
nervously. What does he mean? I am suddenly reminded of Suzuki Tadashi’s insight that “there is
no such thing as good or bad acting, just the level of profundity that you bring to each moment on
stage”. Watching my dancers in that moment (with pride) I am aware that what they lack in skill they
make up for in bucket-loads with moxie and a fearless attack on life and art.” (August 2014)

Lost in Translation: Miburi/Teburi


“I’m in the Smoker’s Corner again. I’m engrossed in a long conversation with Maro being translated
at various times by two different bi-lingual Dairakduakan members who have both passed through
during their breaks. I am grateful the interpreters both still smoke. I still cannot get Maro to clarify
what he is talking about when he refers to “Miburi” and “Teburi”.  This is my third attempt this
week and I am aware of Maro’s desire to avoid any hard and fast definitions and to talk around the
subject. Ryo told me just a few days ago that Maro likes to confound the Western press by rejecting
black and white answers in favour of “grey zone” ones that are rich, dense, ambiguous and include
both shadow and light. I think about how ironic that is given the topic of my study. Nonetheless I
start to feel frustrated. Then it hits me. I have imposed my own interpretation on “Miburi/Teburi”
and gotten it wrong! In my desire to align Miburi with Jung’s Shadow archetype I have become so
set in my ideas that I am not listening to the facts. I take a deep breath and rephrase my question.
He smiles and continues. 15 minutes later I am aware that I’m looking at the concept from an entirely
different angle now. I feel simultaneously excited and annoyed at myself. Damn, what does this mean
for my thesis?” (July 2014)

Steal Like An Artist: The Role of Imitation in Innovation


“It is 6am and I am sitting on my back verandah reading as the world begins to stir around me.
I am engrossed in this new book Simon has given me which Drew claims is his new bible – Steal
like an Artist. As an artist, I get it, instantly. I turn to page 33. A quote by Yamamoto Yoji jumps
off the page at me – ‘Start by copying
what you love. Copy copy copy copy. At
the end of the copy you will find your
self.’ That’s it! Imitation is a necessary
step in the innovation process. It’s what
comes next that counts.” (April 2014)

PHOTO 136: Simon Woods, Muramatsu Takuya and Maro Akaji.


Smoker’s Corner, Summer Camp. Photo: Lynne Bradley (2015).

232
APPENDIX – Zen Zen Zo’s Creative Development Dramaturgical Model

7.7 ZEN ZEN ZO’S CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT


DRAMATURGICAL MODEL
1. CONCEPTUAL DEVELOPMENT (SOURCE-WORK): PREPARATION
• Begin with an idea that excites and obsesses you (later it will transform into the Dramatic Question)
• Do Research (read, watch movies, talk to people, internet, experiences)
• Flesh out concept (What? Why? Where? Who? When? What does it look, smell, sound, feel, taste like?)
• Collect stimulus material (articles, music, text, images, videos, pictures)
• Write down everything you know and everything you don’t know

2. CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT (an “invitation to obsession”): INCUBATION


• Create the “Culture” – the shared philosophy and way of working (through training, rituals, tribal agreements, etc)
• Give out Stimulus packs
• Get everyone up to speed (“on the same plate”)
• Discuss everything you know and everything you don’t know
• Get Creatives &/or actors to contribute (talks, presentations, demonstrations)
• Lateral thinking/ brainstorming (taps into imagination, dreams, contemporary culture, prejudices, fantasies,
memories, clichés, preconceptions, histories)
• Expeditions
• Viewpoints (to find vocab)
• Compositions (problem-solving + source material)
• Explore narrative, characters, point-of-view, location, role of audience, genre, framing devices, language,
design, story-telling techniques
• Lock down the Dramatic Question, Anchor and Structure
• Become clear about the narrative (what’s happening) vs. the meta-narrative (what the show is about)
• Present a work-in-progress (WIP) showing

Good things to remember during this phase of development:


• It is designed to awaken both the intuitive and unconscious, so abandon
• Always work with “Exquisite Pressure” on the floor
• One of the primary aims is to elicit common goals and a shared vocab between actors AND Creatives
• You are creating a “Universe from Scratch” (own laws of space, time, logic…)
• Hold on tightly, let go lightly (know what you want but don’t be afraid to let it go)
• Have a Leap of Faith (should feel terrified!)
• Great art is not created in a state of comfort

3. REHEARSALS: ILLUMINATION + VERIFICATION


• Continue training
• Continue to show the work in order to get feedback about clarity of meaning (making sure the “dots aren’t
too close together or too far apart”)
• Layer in 1) movement, 2) text, 3) design (set, costumes, props), 4) music
• Do compositions when you get stuck
• Run the show ASAP (even in first-draft form) to get a feel for its rhythm and journey
• Work on Transitions
• Work on Specificity
• Work on Rhythm
• Ensure Coherence (Dramatic Question/theme runs through all production elements)
• Craft the Journey (for the actors, for the show, for the audience)
SELECTION/ PREPARATION: Decide on topic, do the research, short-list themes.
DISCUSSION/ INCUBATION: Implement concepts in a broad and exploratory way.
DEVELOPMENT/ ILLUMINATION: Refine through workshops and rehearsal, apply theory.
EVALUATION/ VERIFICATION: Get rid of what is not necessary to communicate the intended meaning.

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7.8 CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT: IN THE COMPANY


OF SHADOWS
7.8.1 Dramaturgical Maps

SEAN MEE

META-NARRATIVE:
 Theme/ Dramatic Statement or Question.

NARRATIVE:
 What happens.

E.G.
THE TEMPEST
Narrative: Aided by Ariel, a vengeful Prospero summons a tempest that sees his daughter fall in
love, his slave rebel, and reunites him with his past.
Meta-Narrative: Colonisation is insidious. It attempts to control through language, class, race,
gender, clothing and culture (just as Prospero does).

CABARET
Narrative: Two couples (Sally and Cliff, Schneider and Schulz) fall in and out of love to the
background of Weimar Republic Berlin just before Hitler and the Nazis come to power.
Meta-Narrative: What happens when a society disowns it Shadow (in terms of Jung’s archetype)?

IN THE COMPANY OF SHADOWS


Narrative: Zen Zen Zo hosts a Sleepover where four invited guests arrive, engage in pre-bed
entertainment, then go to bed and experience a night of (unspeakable) dreams.
Meta-Narrative: “When I sleep I dream strange, unspeakable things. When I wake, I cannot do
them, do I dance them.” (Maro Akaji)

ALSO, it is imperative to know at what points in the play/production the narrative and
meta‑narrative are connected (ie when does a narrative event hit home the meta‑narrative,
for example?) These key moments need to be acknowledged by the whole cast, and
delivered with clarity and intention.

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APPENDIX – Creative Development: Dreams

FRANCESCA SMITH
1. What is it (genre-wise)?
2. What happens (narrative)?
3. What do I want (impact on audience)?
4. Why do I want to do it (meta-narrative/ theme)?

E.G.

AMADEUS
What is it? A lament.

What happens? Two famous musicians, Mozart and Salieri, vie for the attention of
the Emperor and the Viennese public in the late 18th century.

What do I want to do? To transport the audience into the Viennese court.

Why do I want to do it? To explore the nature of creative genius.

HONG KONG: FA HOI FU KWAI


What is it? A ghost story.

What happens? The colony of Hong Kong is born, struggles to find its identity and
prospers (against all odds).

What do I want to do? To inspire courage.

Why do I want to do it? To unearth the (lost) women’s stories in the heavily patriarchal
cultural history of the city.

IN THE COMPANY OF SHADOWS


What is it? A sleepover / A dream.

What happens? Zen Zen Zo hosts a Sleepover where four invited guests arrive,
engage in pre-bed entertainment, then go to bed and experience
a night of (unspeakable) dreams.

What do I want to do? To excite/scare/move/disorientate the audience as they journey


through the surreal landscape of their dreams on a flying bed!

Why do I want to do it? To playfully incite the audience to keep company with the
unspeakable Shadows that in habit their dreams.

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FOUND IN TRANSLATION

SEAN MEE
WHAT ARE THE FIVE SPACES OF A PRODUCTION?
1. PHYSICAL SPACE. Where are you? What does it look like? How big is it? What colour/
texture is it? What does it smell like? What does this physical space represent?
2. INTELLECTUAL SPACE. What are the key ideas or discourses the play/production is
exploring?
3. POLITICAL SPACE. Politically what is the piece saying? What point of view is it taking?
What group of people is it representing? Race, class, politics, faith, power.
4. SPIRITUAL SPACE. What are the universal themes running through the play/production?
How does it relate to our identity as human beings, and our search for meaning? Myth,
ritual, mysticism, transgression, the extra-ordinary. Our culture craves this space.
5. EMOTIONAL SPACE. What are the key emotions the play/production is dealing with/
exploring? Does the play/production have an over-riding emotional tone?

• In this analogy, a play or production is viewed as “a house” which the audience is invited
into
• Our job as artists is to get the audience to join us in the space/s, initially by making the
“entrance” wide enough for them to enter
• The audience may be invited into just one of these spaces, or the play may take
the audience through the whole “house” of spaces (therefore enacting a very large
transformation)
• If the spaces are too small, then the play/production will be short-lived.
• A classic (like “The Summer of the 17th Doll” or “Macbeth”) is a cathedral, the spaces are so
huge!

E.G.
CINDERELLA
PHYSICAL: A palace and a poor house (what kind of palace and poor house?)

EMOTIONAL: Love and the absence of love; OR Envy

INTELLECTUAL: Is there such a thing as “one true love”?

POLITICAL: Class (and that love can conquer all things, including class).

SPIRITUAL: Fairy godmother (who facilitates the impossible dream coming


true).

IN THE COMPANY OF SHADOWS


PHYSICAL: A bedroom. The surreal landscape of our dreams.

EMOTIONAL: A rick rollercoaster ride of surprise, delight, fear and sadness.

INTELLECTUAL: What do our unspeakable dreams show us about our Shadow


spaces?

POLITICAL: WUD (World Upside Down).

SPIRITUAL: Jung’s Shadow Archetype.

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APPENDIX – Creative Development: Dreams

ANNE BOGART
ANCHOR: A person, event or thing that serves as a vehicle to get to the
question.

STRUCTURE: The skeleton upon which the production hangs. It is a way to


organise time, information, text and imagery.

DRAMATIC QUESTION: Motivates the entire process. The questions emerges from
personal interest and then spreads like a virus! It should be big/
interesting/relevant enough to be contagious. (The  Viewpoints
Book, 2005, 154)

E.G.

LION IN THE STREETS


ANCHOR: Isobel, the ghost guide.

STRUCTURE: Montage. A day in the life of Isobel. 6 Degrees of Separation.

DRAMATIC QUESTION: In the face of certain death, how can we truly live with Grace?

THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD


ANCHOR: Rosser Reaves

STRUCTURE: A TV advertisement

DRAMATIC QUESTION: What is the cost of consumer culture upon our lives?

IN THE COMPANY OF SHADOWS


ANCHOR: The moving bed

STRUCTURE: A dream sequence

DRAMATIC QUESTION: What do our unspeakable dreams show us about our Shadow
spaces?

PHOTO 137: Jacqueline Marriott, Travis Weiner, Wayne Jennings and Simon Woods.
Backstage, A Summer’s Prayer. Photo: Lynne Bradley (2015).

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FOUND IN TRANSLATION

7.8.2 Dream Poems


UNSPEAKABLE DREAM POEMS (Excerpts)
GROUP 1:
The train that doesn’t stop speeds through the empty world.
A dog with the intent to murder, his weapon of choice a machete
Prepare for the jump into the sea of undead
Zombie schoolgirl, legs open wide as if beckoning to dog “come inside”…

GROUP 2:
I’m always aiming for somewhere and never make it
Because the cigarette is curved back on itself
Instead it feels like fate is pulling me
Towards an inevitable doom of green eyes and blinding whiteness
I escape on a bicycle that can ride over water; but it sinks halfway
Under the water I find green eyed Tammy and we have sex in her office
Which is lit by the pale blue flame of my cigarette lighter.

GROUP 3:
Water monsters and spiders and escapism in cupboards
Weird. Why? How?
My stockings were too ripped and I had to go home
Vibrations. Hums. Coffee. Toffee.
I dream dreams, dream memes,
Psychedelic dreams.

GROUP 4:
The beautiful, the non-existent souls, are they there?
A young Tom Hanks from Splash, why is he here?
Large Venus Fly Traps grow high into the sky
I keep putting the wrong letters in the right words or the right letters in the
wrong words
Hurt, harm, qualm
I want to throw, thrash, thwack
A child falls, down, down, splat.

FINAL COMPILATION BUTOH FU (original notation for the “In the


Company of Shadows” final dream sequence):
The train that doesn’t stop speeds through the empty world.
Zombie schoolgirl, legs open wide as if beckoning to dog “come inside…”
Fate is pulling me
Towards an inevitable doom of green eyes and blinding whiteness.
Water monsters and spiders and escapism in cupboards.
Vibrations. Hums. Coffee. Toffee.
The beautiful, the non-existent souls, are they there?
Large Venus Fly Traps grow high into the sky.
Thwack, a child falls, down, down, splat.
I dream dreams, dream memes,
Psychedelic dreams.

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APPENDIX – Creative Development: Dreams

7.8.3 Dream Journal Excerpts


#2457269
Tigerlil. She has a moustache and a goatee. We are at her house, her bedroom is barely
furnished. We share a cigarette, which is very naughty. The cigarette is curved back on
itself, like a popper straw. The cigarette, lighter is pale blue in colour. She wants to share
the flame, does not want to waste the flame. We do not have sex.

#2457263
I am waiting for a train to come on a platform. There are tracks. Cars and busses also are
on the tracks moving. I see the train come and I choose a double deck carriage. Travel on
the train with the correct language, either German, a language closely related to German,
or an unrelated language [Polish]. I get off the train with a tray of apricots which have
been cut in half, they are on the tray with the cut surface downwards. They are sliding on
the tray, some fall onto the floor. I pick them up and wipe them clean so no-one notices.
The tray bends and folds in half and juice trickles out. I talk to people on the station. Too
late the train starts to leave. “I’m back on the train” I say. Can’t get on. “or maybe not” I
say. I return to the people, many old people welcome me.

#2450678
I’m in a corridor at work. Mal is there, talking to some people. He is naked, holding his
clothes in his hand.
I see Tammy, my love. She is staring unsmiling at something. It is white, everything is
bright white light. But her lovely green eyes and lips are visible through the blinding light.

#2457264
Listening to Nightwish while I’m driving along. There is a long flute intro…Strange, I’ve
listened to this song 100 times but never heard this part. The front of the car lifts up
while driving. Must slow down. A guy in a bus reverses through an intersection while many
police watch. There is no accident.

#2450763
Played some music on record in a big room. Soon everyone is practicing it. “See, now I’ve
started a trend” I said to a bearded man.

#2456968
Arrange to have sex with Ruby at lunchtime. We have no car so must walk through a wet
field with a hairy guy up a ladder to a wooden house. There is a pouch on the windowsill.
Wait. Two girls and a guy are arguing about the activity. Rearrange the contents of a box.
Cancer. What type?

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FOUND IN TRANSLATION

7.8.4 Here There Be Dragons

HERE THERE BE DRAGONS


Scott Sneddon/Darkwing Dubs – for Zen Zen Zo – 2013

HERE there be dragons


gnashing teeth at the edges of the world, swallowing the sun and
stealing its gold
the maps meet myth and footprints sit heavy in the mist
mermaids turn sailors gay
leprechauns straighten out rainbows
unicorns fuck Harry Potter
and magic
well magic still exists
where there be dragons

and here there be dragons


crafting the night out of their iris
and peering from lava pits
You can’t look a dragon in the eye
not because you’ll get hypnotized in the oily gaze
frozen in its slippery silence
lost in a tear
no, it’s because looking a dragon in the eye is just plain culturally
inappropriate

but does anyone believe in magic anymore?


even though
here there be dragons?
turning the carnival upside down and
using their wings as stained glass windows
we built cities over dragon bones
so even the ghosts would spit fire
the magic sifts through our lungs
we take up smoking to mask the scent
and somewhere a fairy dies because your teenage son won’t stop
masturbating over Miranda Kerr
where’s the magic?
it’s right here,
because here

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APPENDIX – Creative Development: Dreams

Here WE be dragons
scales camouflaged beneath business suits
tails sliding across bottles of heartache
crawling city streets for a chance to stomp through monotony
teeth kept blunt until they need to snarl
at how pretty Lady Gaga would be if she was female
there’s hippies here that grow wings just for shade and
hipsters who grow them just to say they had them first
there’s artists with limbs of liquid and
tradies with smoke ringed eyelids
there’s young girls here who will buy you
a drink made of molten rock
and soccer mums that will FUCK YOU UP

the sun just hit 50 billion likes on Facebook

we ALL believe in magic


we hiss at the tv that tells us otherwise
we put our phones away and look UP for a change
we drag our nails across mountainsides in Banksy hieroglyphics
so our children will read:
HERE there be magic
and
HERE there be dragons.

PHOTO 138: James Kendall, Travis Weiner,


Stuart Nix, Jordan Abil, Nevin Howell, Yuyama
Daiichiro. “Boyzzz.” In the Company of Shadows.
Photo: Simon Woods (2016).

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FOUND IN TRANSLATION

7.9 INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTS


7.9.1 Maro Akaji 1 Interview
Date: 14th December, 1991
Location: Kyoto, Japan
Interviewer: Lynne Bradley
Interpreter: Rebecca Gowen

Bradley: I believe you’ve just performed in Australia?


Maro: Yes, in October this year in Melbourne. What are you going to write your graduate thesis about?
Bradley: Butoh.
Maro: Butoh? Then you will fail! It is impossible to write about Butoh or talk about Butoh – you must
do Butoh. If you write about Butoh you will not graduate because Butoh cannot be understood
intellectually. It is a kind of Inchiki, a trick, a fake!
Bradley: I hear you began your career as an actor?
Maro: Yes, I used to be an actor when I was younger. Actually I’m still an actor.
Bradley: How did that influence your Butoh?
Maro: I didn’t put the theatrical form into Butoh, but I put its continuous power into Butoh. I call it a
“theatrical Butoh”. Mr Hijikata has his own original thoughts about Butoh. So what do I mean by
“theatrical Butoh”? It’s hard to explain. It involves confrontation. There is confrontation or conflict
in all drama. Mr Hijikata’s Butoh had some isolated confrontation with the air, the ground, and the
gods. But I’ve expressed those confrontations more theatrically. That’s my job. This confrontation is
between people and people, or people and the wind, or people and things. Mr Hijikata also has it,
but I made it more theatrical. So if you find theatrical elements in Butoh, they’re mine. But I don’t call
my dance “Butoh”. I call it Tempukenshiki. It’s a kind of a priori ceremony. A priori – Inborn? Innate? It
already exists in things. It’s an ancient ceremony. I’ve rebuilt it so I don’t call it Butoh. It relates not
just to Japanese people, but to all human being and living creatures.
Actually Butoh is a kind of element in Temputenshiki. A very important element or factor. But Butoh is
not everything for me. Temputenshiki is wider. I have the thought of Butoh in me. I can say, ironically,
Butoh doesn’t exist inside of Butoh. It’s somewhere else. This is an Oriental way of thinking. It sounds
like “Zen”!
Bradley: How do you think Japanese culture, your birthplace, or the climate influenced your dance and
Butoh?
Maro: I think those factors actually influenced Butoh a lot. For example Mr. Hijikata was born in Akita. It’s
cold, there’s lots of snow and rice fields… I was born in Nara Prefecture, in the villages of Sakurai
and Asuka. It’s a place where the gods are. I was influenced by that. I think the difference between
Hijikata’s Butoh and my Temputenshiki might come from that. Sometimes his themes involved rice
fields. There’s lots of space in it. Compared with his Butoh I might say I’m more relaxed, easy-going.
I lack some of his sharpness. My sharpness isn’t like a razor, it’s but more like a hatchet.
Bradley: What elements of your dance do you think are “Japanese”?
Maro: I don’t know because I don’t know enough about the rest of the world. Many cultures come into
Japan from various continents and the Japanese pick bits up from all of them, mix them together,
and build their own culture. They especially select the gentle parts from each new culture. For
example, let’s look at colour. Many bright colours come here from Korea and other places. But the
Japanese make them into neutral, soft, vague colours. Buddhist statues in other continents can be
kind of wild, but the Japanese ones are soft – the sharpness has been shaved off. I think Japanese
people have the feeling of letting their culture flow in the river. These emotions, feelings come from
the conversation the Japanese have with nature, with the four seasons. It’s soft and easy.
In Butoh, when this vagueness is captured, it becomes “ambiguous”. There’s no differentiation
between right and left, or black and white. Everything is surrounded by a wide cloak of ambiguity.
I seem to be greedy though. I take ambiguous movements as signs in my work. For example, if you
drop something like this and it scatters on the ground… I can see the reality behind its ambiguity.
Let it be spontaneous. That’s very important in Butoh.

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APPENDIX – Interview Transcripts

Bradley: I know you work with foreigners from time to time. What differences do you find working with
Japanese and non-Japanese dancers?
Bradley: It’s really hard for non-Japanese dancers to understand what I just told you a minute ago. I say “this
form is good.” They ask “why?” There’s no reason. It’s just the feeling. But when everyone says “this
is good!”, it become boring. Things which come out spontaneously…but they’re hard to catch. For
both Japanese and foreigners. To be honest, there’s not much difference between them these days
in terms of how they think. Japanese people still have a slight feeling of it…
Bradley: So how would you define Butoh?
Maro: I don’t think there’s a definition of Butoh yet. It’s not fixed. There are lots of opinions about what
Butoh is. But it’s always changing. For example, there’s a fixed definition of Noh. You can say, “this
is Noh, this is not Noh”. But the definition of Butoh is being built now. So you cannot define it yet.
Another example is that foreigners often think that there is only one Zen in Japan. But there are lots
of different kinds of Zen here. So it’s important to keep your distance from it and stand back and
look at it. Zen also includes Inchiki (tricks) in it. I’m not saying Zen is Inchiki though. There’s a Zen
sect called Fuke-shu. This means to run away. Nyujo-suru means a monk dies. He reduces his meals
little by little until he dies and then after that he is buried like a mummy. In the humid climate here
some monks go rotten, but some remain mummified. Those who remain mummified are therefore
considered to be the wise monks and they will then become Buddhas. That’s Nyujo. Monks say
“Ashita Nyujo-suru” (“tomorrow I will die”) and people get excited. But when the day comes, he lies
and runs away. There are lots of ideas like this about Butoh.
Bradley: Where do you take your stimulus from when creating new work?
Maro: Nowhere in particular. Sometimes I might take something from a book…
Bradley: For example?
Maro: I like Japanese classics such as Konjyaku Monogatari (Anthology of Tales from the Past). Books in which
gods and demons and Buddhas appear. Old books, but not like literature. I take more from Japanese
books than European ones. I think it’s because I was born in Nara. The show you saw this week was
inspired by Berlin. It includes some aspects of Berlin. That’s why there is a kind of mixing of cultures
in the show. Bach’s music and Hanafuda cards. My cultural interpretation of Berlin might be wrong.
But it was my inspiration, so that’s ok.
Bradley: Dairakudakan is famous for your use of music. How do you work with music in your productions?
Maro: I think music is basically the thing that wraps the body. It’s like a big, soft, gentle cloth. There
are many ways to use music. I sometimes use it like a machine-gun, or put it between bodies
like a sandwich. I think music occupies 90% of my work. Maybe I don’t need bodies in it? That’s
an exaggeration, but sometimes bodies are obstacles. That sounds like I don’t trust bodies, but I
need to trust them very much. That’s another way of speaking like a Zen koan. Silence is of course
music too.
Bradley: When you begin a new work, how do you start?
Maro: I usually start with my body. At first I throw my body around and something comes out. Then I
become aware, “oh, this is good” or “this is not good” and I pick those up and build on them. If I hear
music first, the image leads and my movement follows. But I don’t think that’s interesting.
Bradley: You use a lot of grotesque imagery in your work. Where does this come from?
Maro: I don’t know much about the “grotesque”. I think it’s something foreigners understand much better.
Bradley: Don’t you use the word “grotesque”?
Maro: No we don’t have anything like it in Japanese. I think it means neither wonderful nor bad, neither
ugly nor beautiful. It expresses a kind of form. But I’m not sure. In my case, there may be something
considered grotesque in my work, something both ugly and beautiful. That’s one aspect, but I don’t
name it.
Bradley: What about the use of androgyny and gender in your work? It’s very interesting…
Maro: That’s just a consequence. I don’t define sexuality.
There are daily actions such as “smoking”, “pushing buttons”, “reading books”, etc. That’s action that
involves objects and it’s necessary in daily life to survive. However I believe there is another kind of
action or movement which is going on behind or below these daily-life ones at the same time. It’s
only a slight difference (as thin as a piece of paper) between them. But they exist together. I wish to
salvage the subterranean actions or movements and put them into my dance.

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When some people work really hard everyday, they get stressed and go crazy. And some people
become mentally ill. It’s because there’s something else, some other actions or movements they
want to do going on at the same time. This tries to come out in their daily life actions.
In the process of trying to capture these other actions behind the everyday ones, some people find
these “grotesque” or “androgynous”.
Bradley: How do you think about time?
Maro: Time is infinite. There is some time, there is none. There’s a concept of time in which you only meet
your lover once a year, but it feels like only a day. It’s relative. The life of a human being is about 60 or
70 years. Though that is very long, it’s just 4 seconds of Earth’s life compared to the whole universe.
The concept of “24 hours a day” is made up by human beings.

7.9.2 Maro Akaji 2 Interview


Date: 22nd July, 2014
Location: Tōkyō, Japan
Interviewer: Lynne Bradley
Interpreter: Andrew Gebert

Maro: (looking at the questions sheet) All these questions are so complicated! (Laughs)
Bradley: In my research I came across Tanizaki Junichiro’s essay In Praise of Shadows (Ineiraisan in Japanese).
It was very interesting…
Maro: Yes, it is really interesting!
Bradley: Would you say your work has been influenced by Junichro Tanizaki’s essay or the concepts he
discusses?
Maro: I don’t feel that I’ve been influenced by Tanizaki much.
Bradley: In an interview in America in the 90s you cited Ineiraisan as an influence upon your production
of Sea-Dappled Horse. So were you referring to the Japanese expression ineiraisan rather than
Tanizaki’s essay specifically?
Maro: Yes, that’s right. I have been influenced principally by the darkness, the shadows. I think that this
is in the DNA of the Japanese people. They like dark, shadowy places. If you think of the shadow
on the shoji paper screens…from the time that they’re children, especially in the countryside, it’s
something we’d see everywhere, the shadow on the shoji screens. I think that this might be erotic
at times – there’s different ways that it can be interpreted. You see a shadow and it might seem to
be indicating the presence of a ghost. So the dark places…I think the Japanese like things that are
vague and out of focus. This is something that’s really lacking in modern urban life. But I personally
believe that in Japan and in other countries outside of Japan indirect lighting is very popular. You
need to be much more careful that just lighting everything from above with fluorescent lamps
in order to create more complex lighting. I think this is a sensibility that can be found anywhere.
People like candles, oil lamps. Everything’s fluorescents now, so bright. I think in Europe they like
indirect lighting better, they are much more respectful of indirect lighting in Europe. Now whether
that’s the same as the Japanese In Praise of Shadows that Tanizaki is referring to, I’m not sure. When
Tanizaki writes about it he suggests that it has some great significance, that this is something very
deep in the tradition of the Japanese culture. I think the way he presents it is as if it has some kind of
real depth as a concept and that’s because he’s a good writer. He knows how to express things well!
But I grew up in the shadows, in places that weren’t properly lit. I actually think that Tanizaki himself
lived in cleaner and more well-lit places! But that sense of some kind of ill-defined space from which
something is going to emerge…the intermediate colours…we’d like to make it much lighter, but
we’ll live with less light, we’ll suppress the light…that kind of attitude I think is still common in
Japan. It wouldn’t be true if I said I wasn’t influenced by that kind of thing, but I don’t consider it to
be a main theme of mine.
Bradley: So the “Dappled” in Sea-Dappled Horse (Kaiin no Uma), is that referring to the shadows that Tanizaki
was discussing in terms of traditional Japanese aesthetics?)
Maro: The in of kaiin is actually not literally translated as “dappled” or “shadow” but rather “stamped”.
Bradley: So Sea-Dappled Horse is a very loose translation…
Gebert: Yes, and a very beautiful one.

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APPENDIX – Interview Transcripts

Maro: So the idea of a “sign” or a “mark” is to define something, to give it a name, to take something
meaningless and by naming it you give it a concreteness, something that before that is ill-defined…
Bradley: So the name of the show still has “sea” and “horse” in it, so is the literally translation “sea-stamped
horse”?
Maro: So the idea of a sign or a mark of the sea is an unusual concept. There’s waves that we might associate
with the sea, like in Hokusai’s wood-block prints, these are very clear and well known. Light could
also be seen as a sign of something. So we thought there’s no such thing as an umijirushi. We thought
“what kind of a sign would that be?”. So it was a kind of abstract idea. The horse, we compared
ourselves to horses. I lived by the sea until I was in about 5th grade in Elementary School, so I had
early childhood experiences with the ocean. So that marked me. I felt that I was marked by the sea,
it helped define me. I think that’s kind of where the name came from. So the idea of the “mark of
darkness”, there are marks or signs of light but there aren’t marks or signs of darkness. So you name
things, but still they remain undefined. So this was a time where I was really taken up by that kind
of play with words and that kind of playfulness. It’s the title of a dance, of course. We did the Mark of
Darkness, yamijirushi. So that idea of shadow, kage, that can also be a mark, a signifier. But a mark of
shadow itself, that’s a difficult concept. If you have complete darkness you can’t have a mark. So that
was sort of the flow of ideas at that time.
Bradley: Shall we move on to Miburi/Teburi? The last seven years of coming to listen to your talks has been
very interesting. Also the practical manifestation or application of these ideas in the training is
fascinating. I was very surprised to realise that there is nothing written in English about this work. So
I really want to include it in my PhD because it’s my opinion that many artists will be very interested
in Miburi/Teburi. I asked my son’s Japanese piano teacher what the term meant to her and she said
it’s a common Japanese expression meaning “body language”. Did you borrow the expression or
develop your concept and training method yourself, or did it have origins elsewhere, for example
from Hijikata?
Maro: As you said just now we have body language and we move and it’s not necessarily something of
particular meaning when you move in certain ways. But it is meaningful to you with the different
kinds of movements that we make. So even thought it’s not very meaningful when we’re talking,
we’re constantly moving. So for the person who’s doing it there is a lot of significance, but if you
take that away, and you sort of freeze it or take a slice of it, then it takes on a different meaning. I call
it “packaging it”, “moulding it”. I don’t remember learning it from anyone. But if you think of animals
they don’t make needless movements. Animals will only move as necessary. Even when they’re
playing they only move as necessary, when they’re confronting an object. So there are times when
they have a clear objective or motivation to do something. I think that this is something unique to
human beings, something that is this peculiar body language. It could indicate that we’re trying to
think. If you look at from a distance, you don’t know what the meaning is, you just see this gesture.
So again to give that a name, to go back to what I was saying before, it could appear meaningless,
but to give it a name, I think this our unconscious. I think this is a tradition that goes back to our
history as homo sapiens. Everything we do has that kind of element or implication – meaningless
signs. To slice that, to package it, to think about, “what is that?”, that’s something we enjoy. Within
the dance, even within highly controlled dances, we talk usually about being off-balance. We stop
in this off-balance position, and it’s unstable, to grab a piece of that. I feel that that’s more erotic.
When you have something where everything is really subtle and fixed, it’s just much less interesting
for me. So these movements are unconscious. But to take that unconsciousness and to make it
conscious, to take this unconscious energy of these unconscious movements, and to make these
conscious, I think that might be part of what we’re doing. I don’t really think I got this from Hijikata.
There was an original doubt about why we need to walk one foot in front of the other, left, right,
left, right. And that doubt arose around the question, “why as human beings do we need to walk
like this?”
Bradley: I met Waguri Yukio recently at NIDA while he was teaching the actor there for a week, and I noticed
that some of things that he said reminded me of the ways that Maro talks about the miburi concept
and I just wondered if there was a connection. But perhaps that’s just the “home” of Butoh and
everyone talks about miburi and this unconscious space in a different way?
Maro: I think it might be.
Bradley: Yes, interesting.
Maro: So there’s so much in dance that’s fixed and determined, and we want to overflow that, spread
out beyond that. So lifting your leg nice and straight. What about a person who can’t lift their leg,
or is trying to lift their leg but fails? I think there’s more that’s inherently interesting in that. To do
these things that are fixed and subtle, what’s the interest? So to take those movements we build

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and construct something with that. So where did that come from? There are limitations to it. We
could say that anything is permitted. Everyone has these tics and movements that are unique to
them. Where does that come from? So while we’re talking, my hands are always moving. There are
various gestures that one makes. We try to communicate something. And that’s where this comes
from, this desire for communication in this case. So we could stand and speak in a very dignified
way but as we have difficulty communicating we become more demonstrative and vehement.
That which can’t be communicated simply with words, it’s trying to fill in that space between we
(who have been saddled with language) and we want to fill in that space between what words
are able to express and what we want to express. There are speeches and methodologies for
speaking. So when you have great confidence you gesture vehemently – these are technologies
of expression. Hitler for example in his speeches and there’d be this massive crowd and he’d be
sitting there silently. So for a long time he’d remain silent to draw people in. So those were some
of the lines of development. But to develop it as dance, rather than as rhetoric. So we wanted to
develop it as play-dance or pre-dance. We wanted to elevate this pre-dance kind of movement. So
when you have a goal, there’s a boundary between having a clear goal or objective and not having
one at all. And I think this boundary between having purpose and not having purpose is what we
try to explore. If you do this, it’s weak. If you do that’s it, strong. So we have these understanding
where we divide up our gesture, this is strong, this is weak, this is beautiful, this is ugly – these
clearly defined gestures. But we are looking for greater ambivalence, a contradictory space that’s
between these clearly defined oppositional categories. Japanese ghosts for example. They walk
along, why do they have to walk like this? Because a dead body has no energy or vitality? But that
powerlessness, to take that, to distil that – we fear something that is powerless. In life we walk so
decisively and then when we become ghosts we’re weakened. But it has the power to inspire fear.
We have the social consensus to understand what that is. But I think when people first originally
confronted this idea they were very disgusted by it. So there’s many different goals that we share.
So even animals will try to shield their eyes from the sun if it’s too bright – this is a globally shared
thing. I think that that’s a kind of miburi. But you can name that, you can say, “that’s shielding one’s
eyes from the sun.” So we want to take that gesture and make it impossible to name. We want to
move it into a different space so it’s impossible to name. We want to take something that had a
clear objective and make it more abstract. That’s what we try to explore. Since the beginning of
homo sapiens, we’ve always had that this sort of extraneous, meaningless movement. So when
a baby makes gestures like this or you give white paper to a young child they’re just going to
scribble on it. It’s very abstract isn’t it? They just do it because it’s there. When you get to that point,
you really stop understanding what it is. So I think this incomprehensibility is of greater interest.
So I think we enjoy ourselves, we can play with dance.
Bradley: I’d like to talk about Jung’s idea of the Shadow Archetype. We’ve discussed this concept before.
What do you think about this idea?
Maro: I don’t need to think about something like that! Human beings are so contradictory, we embody
contradictions. It’s a form of psychological analysis for people who aren’t able to fit into the social
order (which is is a problem of modernity). So in modernity, these more shadowy aspects of
our lives, and people who don’t fit into society, when the light is then shined on them then that
becomes a social issue. So the need was felt to analyse, “why does someone not fit in?” As human
beings, it’s kind of hard to read what they’re up to, what they’re really thinking or why they present
themselves in this way, out of balance or out of sinc. So if we think of the front and the back of a
person together forming a whole, I think there’s an original form of this, an archetype that has this
contradictory nature of human beings, something that’s been with us since we became human
beings. In the case of Jung, he wants to return to this archetype. Because unless you go to or get
into the part of the archetype that’s meaningless, you can’t really understand it. So if people start
analysing these things too much they really could do themselves some psychological harm!
So first of all we should just recognise that everyone has that shadow. There are people who are
able to pick up, with a kind of sixth sense, people’s unseen parts. This relationship between the
conscious and the unconscious, when you’re approach these from a psychological perspective,
you’re going into the unconscious and you open doors that should never have been opened.
And whether you’re able to endure that experience or not, whether you can tolerate a door to
the subconscious that really should have been left closed? So I think Tibetan priests do these
interior simulations of these experiences. They really put themselves into that. And Indian taking
mushrooms and peyote, and they go deeper and deeper into the unconscious, but there’s usually
a master who guides them. And that person will say, I know where you’re at, don’t turn that corner!
Turn this way, turn this way! So when you have those simulations, there’s a master who guides it.
So if someone’s taking hallucinogens, they can enter into a door that they really should have left
closed, and they can have a really bad trip. So in order to have a good trip, a good session, you really
need a master to guide you.

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Bradley: [to Gebert] So is Maro explaining and paralleling his role in the training to one of these masters,
guiding the students metaphorically into the unconscious space?
Maro: No, but I do feel dangerous. As you know everyone has


Bradley: What’s your best (or funniest) memory of working with Zen Zen Zo over the past seven years?
Maro: [Laughing] I think the Australian men are so bestial. They have a very wild animal kind of energy.
They don’t think too much about “what is dance?” When something interests them they laugh
out loud. I think we’re losing that kind of spirit [in Japan], that kind of energy. So when we work
together there’s a sense of liberation. These sort of ridiculous, great big burly men…I think we
share the same kind of eye to pick that up and use it. When we look at them they look really cute
but they’re also looking ridiculous. So how do you take that in an artistic direction? That’s a concept
that you frame. To do even the most foolish thing, if it’s done with the right consciousness it’s fine.
Even with these big, burly bodies they still do really delicate, sensitive things. I’m really moved and
impressed by that. I feel a bit of nationalist pride in that I feel like we shouldn’t be left behind by you,
that we should catch up with you if you can do something we should be good at! Those are some
of the things that make it fun to work with Zen Zen Zo.
Bradley: Yes, once I remember you yelled out in the middle of class “Watch out Japanese or Zen Zen Zo will
steal the Butoh!”
Maro: Exactly. It was because of the strength of the wildness, of undomesticated movement. It’s also the
combination of the undomesticated and intellectual, you’ve got that mix. So whilst it’s ridiculous,
at the same time it’s also fearsome, threatening. Japanese people therefore need to try to imitate
that and I want to use the wiliness of age to steal that as a form of art. We could make it into a
more sophisticated art when we merge these two elements… So I think as a mutual thing if our
companies could really bring those two aspects or elements together, it could be very fearsome. If
we just evaluate the look of something like that just from a Japanese perspective, then we get into
that emphasis on the single culture. So it’s important for us to ask “what is Zen Zen Zo trying to do”?
Working together from our different cultural perspectives is very fruitful I find.

7.9.3 Yuyama Daiichiro Interview


Date: 8th April, 2014
Location: Zen Zen Zo Studio, Brisbane
Interviewer: Lynne Bradley

Bradley: How long have you been translating for Dairakudakan?


Yuyama: I started right after I joined Dairakudakan, so almost 20 years.
Bradley: What do you think the challenges of translating are?
Yuyama: Basically my English is not good enough to be a professional translator, so if you want me to
translate in a business conversation I’m not good at that. I already understand the facts or objective
here. I understand my vocabulary is not good enough to translate exactly. So that’s the hardest
point for me, especially when I just started. Then I realised I needed to find my own way to be a
translator and a dancer. Also for Dairakudakan, most of the time when I have to translate about
Butoh or what Butoh is, the world is very complicated, so I try to be a good explainer. To explain
exactly what the person wants to say.
Bradley: What are the challenges specifically for translating for Maro san? I imagine it must be very
challenging!
Yuyama: Oh yes! Sometimes people say to me, “Maro’s language is totally different from Japanese language!” so
even Japanese can’t understand his language. First of all I realised that I needed to understand his basic
way of thinking. Then I try explain as if to a little kid. His language is very complicated and very poetic.
So I try to understand it in my own brain first, then I try to explain it to other Japanese people, and then
to non-Japanese people. That’s my method.
Bradley: So what do you think are the qualities of a great translator? If you think about other people you
admire as translators, what are the elements or ingredients of great translation?
Yuyama: Probably, an objective imagination. What he wants to say exactly. I have to understand his language
very objectively. So that’s the very basic point. If you want to have a conversation with somebody,

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you have to understand what he wants to say, what he wants to ask, what he wants to know. So you
have to use your imagination to understand what he’s thinking. For that you have to be objective.
You have to have an objective view to understand him without my own feelings. I try to take them
off. I guess that’s the most important thing.
Bradley: So when you’re working with non-Japanese people in Japan and you’re trying to communicate
these ideas, sometimes very rooted in Japanese culture, how do you do that? How do you explain
concepts like wabi-sabi and ma?
Yuyama: (Laughs) I’m trying to find a good word or good sentence or good experience from my own
experience in another country. So I try to find common things, like the same experience or same
happening. Wabi-sabi is a very Japanese way of thinking. It’s also a very usual thing. There’s a lot of
wabi-sabi in usual life, even living in Australia. So that could be wabi-sabi. I could try to explain it
using a hundred words, but I try to find a common experience in the other culture as a starting point.
Bradley: Do you think that there are some things that are “untranslatable”?
Yuyama: Oh yeah, very much! In my situation, basically, I have to translate live in the workshop or in the
rehearsal, so I have very short time limits. So that’s the thing that’s hardest for me. If I can use 24
hours, probably I can translate everything, using the dictionary, and I would be able to find good
words to explain. But when I have a time limit, I just have like 5 seconds of something. So that’s
when it’s impossible to translate for me. So each time I try to translate the words, I try to be a
dictionary and explain things using another word or words. Usually it’s going to be a simpler word.
Bradley: Do you think that even with lots of time there are words or ideas you can never completely translate
to someone who’s not Japanese?
Yuyama: Probably it’s going to happen because Japanese is a very complicated kind of language because
we use three kinds of [written language systems]. Also, the grammar is very unique and special.
Chinese and English are closer to each other, if we are looking from the outside. Chinese grammar
is very similar to the English grammar. But Japanese has the totally opposite way with the grammar.
And also, we have a lot of different ways of thinking. So if it happens to me and I feel that “this is
impossible to translate”, then I try to use my body language or try to find similar situations from my
experience abroad.
Bradley: Do you and Dairakudakan enjoy working with non-Japanese artists, such as Zen Zen Zo or the
companies you’ve worked with in America, such as Pilobolus. Do you like that kind of cross-cultural
collaboration?
Yuyama: Oh yeah, very much. When I first joined Dairakudakan, I really remember the first time listening to
my boss, Maro’s, speech. I was a student at that time. He gave a speech to the students who were
having their first experience with Butoh. He said, “You got to think about it like a virus. I’m having
fun every time spreading it. The Butoh virus is spreading now. You’ve go the Butoh virus already!”
Maro felt happy about making people “sick” with the Butoh virus. He knew they would then go back
to their countries and spread it to other people. I very much agree with that feeling. So Butoh is not
only the good things. It makes some people crazy. So I’m the only person at that time who could
be a translator for my company. So using my words the Butoh virus is going to spread to foreign
people, and then they are going to spread it to other people in their country I imagined and I’m
very happy when I think about that.
Bradley: What are some of the challenges of working across cultures in cross-cultural collaborations?
Yuyama: There are many challenges. The hardest word in Japanese, which I can’t translate every time, is
kibi. So I can’t translate it into English right now! “Subtlety”, that kind of thing. It’s a very delicate
internal thing. My dictionary says, “subtlety of the human mind”. So it depends on the situation. So
Japanese people use kibi a lot, especially old people. You understand kibi. It’s a very good word. It’s
a very complimentary thing when someone says “you’ve got kibi”. It also means you’re not a baby
anymore, when you’re an adult and you understand kibi. It’s very tied to culture. In each situation
when you meet someone, or you try to have a conversation with someone, you have to find the
right words for the conversation, like you’re playing catch. For that, you have to understand how
to have a deep conversation. That’s what you want to do each time you have a good conversation.
“Good conversation” has the same meaning as “deep conversation” for me. For a good conversation
you need to understand a person deeply, their internal way of thinking. For that exchange between
people from different cultures, even if we are talking about the same thing, the first or second step
can be a different way of thinking already. So when we are creating together, we should go back
to the very first or second step because it’s uniquely connected to the deep cultural experience
for each of us. That’s the most interesting thing for me, and the hardest thing too. So if we can
understand each other, at that basic starting point, we can then solve a lot of problems together.

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Bradley: Can you give a specific example?


Yuyama: I’m not sure if this is a good example, but if we are talking about one character with a guy, and if
I want him to be a good character, like an old guy, I’m trying to give him information about that
character. The first thing I need to think about is that character, where does that character come
from for myself. Probably it’s coming from my experience with that character in the past. Then the
one time it came from my grandfather and I want to talk with him about what a grandfather is. Then
I ask him about his experience with his grandfather. Then we have a lot of different things about
grandfathers because we are from different cultures. But we have some same things, same feeling,
because it’s grandfathers and they’re part of our families. Then we can find very similar points, the
good point where we can understand each other quickly. Then we can talk about that character
again from the beginning, with that feeling.
Bradley: So when working across cultures, when working with Zen Zen Zo or with Julia’s group in New York,
or you’ve gone to Mexico, what do you think the ingredients of a very positive or productive cross-
cultural collaboration are?
Yuyama: The most important thing is that we’re going to have a good time and lots of time. So too busy a
schedule is not going to work because we have to “waste time” together. So it’s not a logical thing,
you know. But if we’ve got a very busy schedule, each of us is going to be in a rush, so we’re going
to try not to waste time. So we’re not going to have good, deep conversations, like talking about
family or talking about sports. So talking about [the art] is very important, but Butoh involves a
very mental process of creation. So you have to understand each other at a deep level as much
as possible. So for that we have to waste time. Like here with you I go to watch the AFL, even
though I don’t know what it is! And I learned to Boogie Board from your son, Kai. But these are very
important for me to understand the Australian people. A very good thing is to try to understand
what a girl is – if you want a girlfriend, you have to understand what a girl is! You try to have enough
time, to waste time together. But to have lots of time, I understand there are economic problems,
it’s going to get expensive. So my opinion is that the most important things it to not be afraid to
waste time together.
Bradley: Interesting. The other day I asked you about the difference between the training and Temputenshiki,
and what you call “the training”.
Yuyama: Temputenshiki is our slogan, and also it became the name of our performance. Recently it became
the name of the performances that my boss Maro makes or directs. He made it up. It basically
means “being born in the world is the only talent itself”. We use a lot of words like, “he’s talented” or
“he’s not talented”. But he says that talent is not so easy word. This is very original already. Nobody
has this hand in their body because this is talent. So you’ve been born. We are using body for the
performance, so this is talent. So you’ve already got talent when you’re born. Then Temputenshinki,
“tempu” is a very old word for talent. Then “tenshiki” is ceremony or festival. So then we’re going to
create our dance as a celebration party for that talent, everybody’s talent. So the audience is going
to celebrate by watching our performance. We are going to celebrate by doing our performance.
Bradley: While we’re on the translation of names, what does Maro Akaji mean? Once he explained the kanji
(Chinese characters) to me and told me it’s not his real name, correct?
Yuyama: Yes. Maro is a very old word from Japanese history. It means “I am”, like the word for “myself”. Then
“Akaji” means “like a newborn baby”. So the direct translation is “I am a baby!” That’s what Maro says.
He has a lot of reasons to choose the name, but you’d have to ask him if you’re interested.
Bradley: So Maro’s Method of training. Can you talk through the three stages of training, miburi/teburi, igata,
and chūtai, and you can demonstrate if you want!
Yuyama: (Laughs) Ok! Every time I translate miburi/teburi I say it’s picking up new movement from everyday
life. But we’re taking our everyday life and how we do things – everybody is using a computer like
this – so it’s already decided because of this. Somebody designed these things to use like this. So
we can’t use in another way. You can’t type with your toes. So miburi/teburi is like our experimental
training to try to get away from that way of thinking. So human beings have developed for a long
time if you look at our history, we’ve got a lot of technologies and inventions. Like a cup is an
example. So when you want to have a drink, you do this (he demonstrates drinking). Almost every
human being will do it like this. But before we had this technology, probably our form of having
a drink is different, but we’ve already forgotten it. Then what we’re trying to do is to dig up those
things that we’ve already thrown out in our past, and put them on the stage.
So we have a lot of ways to do that. First of all we have to understand that lots of our movement
has already been influenced by technology. Then we try to get away from that and try to find the
other way, another movement, meaning a very old movement. So this new movement is a very old
movement which we have already lost or forgotten.

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Bradley: So is teburi the new movement, and miburi the old movement?
Yuyama: Miburi/teburi is the same word. Teburi is hand movement and miburi is body movement.
Bradley: And it means “body language” in Japanese?
Yuyama: Yeah, in usual Japanese it means “body language”. Though in our company it has a different meaning.
Like “mi” is “free” or swing or movement. Also “free” means choreography. So when we use miburi/
teburi we’re also talking about making new choreography. Something we have never seen before.
Bradley: So when you’re doing the training, the first part where you do everyday actions and then you
“forget”, and then become possessed by something, is that all part of the first stage? Would you call
that stage miburi/teburi? And then the following stages involve chūtai (the “space-body”) and igata
(“moulds”)?
Yuyama: It’s very hard to explain about his method. It’s very mixed. The three methods are not completely
divided. So miburi/teburi is movement. If you tried to get other new things, it’s already miburi/
teburi. Though then we’re going to find new movement and for that we need to start with very
usual, everyday things to understand how much we are influenced by this one idea [this fiction]
that decides for us how we should move. Then something happens, an accident happens with your
imagination. Then you try to lose everything, lose your sense of everything, your experiences of the
body. Try to lose totally. Try to be an empty space inside that space. Try to make my body completely
innocent, nothing… That’s the important process to get very new movement (which means the very
old movement which we got in the past). So miburi/teburi is a process to get new strange movement.
Bradley: So the whole process is called miburi/teburi?
Yuyama: My opinion is that miburi/teburi is only the name of the movement. “That’s good miburi” or “that’s
good teburi”. So “that’s good choreography”.
So after you’ve become empty, if you’ve really focused on being empty, when someone asks you to
move as a performer, it’s very hard. Because I can’t use my past experience or any method from my
everyday life. But we have to move as a performer. Then Maro found this way. If we can move, it is
because we are being moved by something outside, using the imagination to set something. If you
set some soft things, then nothing’s happening inside. So just focus on the outside things, then it’s
good. Probably everyone has the same experience if they’re trying to find choreography by myself,
it’s hard. But if I just believe and trust in what’s outside and forget about what’s inside, and then
record myself with a video, sometimes I will go, “oh, I have never seen this movement before”. Then
I’m going to keep the movement to construct a new piece.
Bradley: So when you keep the movements, are they the igata, the moulds?
Yuyama: Igata means “form” not “movement”. Like a pose. But why do we use moulds for choreography?
We also want to think about what’s happened outside. A mould means you make something from
outside, right. So you’ve got to focus on what’s outside. So we call each pose an igata, because
you’ve still got to be focused on the outside of your body. You’re not stopping by yourself, you’ve
got to be stopped from outside. It also refers to the moment of surprise, of “oh!”. That’s also igata.
You already have the experience of the training from the summer camps. Have you ever heard him
tell the Pompeii story? You know it’s a very famous story, about Pompeii and the volcano. They got
covered from the lava suddenly. Everyone’s getting on with their usual lives, and then suddenly this
thing happened, and they died suddenly. Over time the human bodies disappeared and then only
the hole was left. So when we are looking at those holes, we create a whole lot of stories behind
each one. We feel very scared or emotional, we started to imagine their situation at that time. That’s
a very good example of the igata.
Bradley: So when you’re creating work, how do you use Maro’s Method to create new work?
Yuyama: We have stories about that. One is like I explained before, if I want to get some new movement
or choreography, I try to go back to the training to experiment and find new movement, using
the “space-body” or igata or miburi/teburi. The second way we use the method is that it provides
a good language for the dancers. In our company we have over twenty people. We had to create
one piece with the guys and we took a lot of time with them and now we have good “kyotsugenyo”.
My dictionary says “shared language”. So we can take less time to create when we have a shared
language. So we have a lot of shared language in Dairakudakan. So we can say, “let’s do this igata
for two counts of eight then change to this one for four counts of eight”. But if I used a shape that’s
totally different in their internal mind, then the situation will be changed. So we always use the
“space-body”. We have a lot of experience from Maro. So even when we are creating by ourselves
without Maro, because we have very different people gathered in our company, but the big reason
we are all in Dairakudakan is because of Maro. There is a deep respect for him. So if we use Maro’s
words for a shared language, we feel that Maro is watching us from outside in rehearsal. Then we

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have good concentration and a good feeling towards the creation, like a shared feeling. Then
understanding each other is easy.
Bradley: When you created Dancing Salvador Dali how did you use some similar ways of working? For
example the Dali pictures you used, would they be considered igata?
Yuyama: Yes, exactly. I got asked by you to choreograph a piece that had something to do with Salvador Dali.
I know a lot about painting, but I didn’t know about him so much, so that was a kind of challenge.
But if I’m going to make a piece with Zen Zen Zo, I am going to use Dairakudakan’s method. So then
what I have to do as the choreographer is to set the outside information for the bodies for them.
Then I’m going to try to get good information about how I’m going to set that space, from Dali’s
history and Dali’s pictures and text about Dali. And I also watched the movie which he created
when he was very young, like my age. Then I got good igata from his pictures. I felt the spirit of his
paintings was like the one of him watching himself in the surface of the lake. I feel there was a very
strong story there. So I asked them to be like that. Then other igata were like “whatever”. Audience
can’t understand what it is, but the dancers have to understand what it is. They have to make good
density around themselves. They have to focus on what’s happened, the reason for why they are
like that in order to get good density. So I showed them the pictures and told them the stories
and we created good igata together. For each group we also did the improvised movement like
when you’re in training, because we didn’t have a lot of time to create, so I needed them to create
by themselves as well. I know they love to create by themselves also. My feeling about Salvador
Dali is that he’s a very good designer to paint several situations in the one frame. Basically that is
one of his amazing skills. So thinking about that, I tried to create many different things happening
in one moment. So I was thinking about how I can make the audience think like that, feel like
that. Also I was lucky about having the great musicians. They were very positive about doing very
experimental things. They were very easy to work with.
Bradley: The show is called In the Company of Shadows. What do you think of the concept of the shadow and
how does it relate to Japanese culture?
Yuyama: Kage? Shadow is a very good word for explaining what a Butoh dancer is because Butoh dancers
are trying to do the opposite way from entertaining, usual performance. In the past, my master’s
master, Hijikata, was tying to find his way away from Western style dance, like musicals and ballet.
They’re performing inside the light. But we’re trying to be in the shadow. We have been born from
the antithesis. So I like the concept. Also Japanese people, especially our ancestors, loved the
grey zone or the twilight zone. So that’s why they loved the shoji. They tried to make a twilight
zone inside the room because they didn’t like direct light. Then they believed that special things
happened in the twilight zone, in the dawn and dusk. Some strange things will happen then. They
believed that those things make human beings’ lives richer. So we’re not just thinking about things
logically. So Shadow is like the symbol of the illogical and unusual thing. It means to make simple
things richer or give them more density. So it’s a great concept.
Bradley: When Butoh was first created in the 1960s it was considered to be very innovative. Do you still think
it’s innovative today?
Yuyama: I hope so! I’m trusting that it is. Yeah, “innovation” is a very famous word in Japan also right now.
Even though people don’t understand exactly what its meaning is. Even I don’t understand exactly
its meaning, but I feel innovation is not only stepping forward. Not just meaning “progress” or
“advancing”. I think going into the past is also part of innovation. Because human beings as an
animal can forget about things. So if you can do the same things we were doing 1000 years ago, or
10,000 years ago, probably we’re going to find very new things for us. So my feeling is that if you’re
not afraid to back step, because human being really want to step forward and forward and forward
because they’re afraid to go backwards, we can find a good new innovative way of thinking about
human beings and what we should do in the future.
Bradley: Finally, just a couple of things that you thought were the strengths and weaknesses of the work we
just created, In the Company of Shadows? The successes and the failures?
Yuyama: (Laughing) Ok, we had a lot of strong points because we did a lot of experimenting and there were
many new challenges. We moved the audience’s seat in the theatre! It’s very hard to do. I have had a
lot of theatre experience before but we have never moved the audience’s seat before in a show. That
direction had a lot of possibilities to create a new emotional feeling or a new atmosphere. Basically
we had a big focus on that, moving the audience around the theatre, so we don’t have to be afraid
to be experimental and challenge things. Also the basic concept is a dream, so we don’t have to be
usual anymore. So we tried to be more nonsensical and change the time. Also the young people had
a good attitude to approaching new things. So every time I asked them “just try to do this” or “just
try to do that”, they were very positive and willing to try it. They were very good at keeping fresh

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regarding the experimental stuff. We did it again and again, and they were very good at keeping that
first energy to do it. That was a great point about your company.
If I want to say something about what we could make better, now the performance is focused on
the direction, the choreography, and the very good lighting design. When I imagined that I was in
the audience, I could feel a very strong sense of direction, very good ideas, but I’m not watching the
dance moves yet. There’s too much direction coming from the front of the dance. So I understand
that making dance takes more time. We have to focus on what the body performance is and also we
have a lot of young people with not a lot of focus yet to focus on their own bodies. So if they tried
to have that feeling that the direction is what they need for behind their performance, but to create
a dance performance should be from the front to the audience. Then the piece will become more
dynamic. Is it going to be performed somewhere else? I hope so!

7.9.4 Bill Haycock Interview


Date: 27th April, 2016
Location: Kelvin Grove, Brisbane
Interviewer: Lynne Bradley

Bradley: This is your definition of innovation?


Haycock: That’s a tricky one. I suppose it’s to do with having your eyes open to something you’d not expected,
not experienced before. It’s the new. I think beyond the new though, innovation implies creativity
and other layers and other qualities beyond that are more open and broad and wide and inspiring.
If you see the world in a different way then that’s innovation, rather than just the new. If I was trying
to be haiku about it that would probably be my stumbling haiku!
Bradley: Do you think the work of Zen Zen Zo is innovative or not, based on your experience of watching our
progress over the years? You have permission to say no, it’s a PHD!
Haycock: I think it has been in various ways. I wouldn’t want to speak to the Butoh, but just as a theatre
practitioner and a designer who works across a whole range of different forms, I think the best
work that I’ve seen of Zen Zen Zo over the years has been genuinely innovative. In the sense that
it has pushed forms, it’s pushed performance qualities of endurance and discipline towards things
that maybe mainstream practitioners and companies don’t concern themselves with, sort of odd
collage combinations of things to do with skills and the delivery and refining of those skills, which
is, I think, innovative in that sense.
The couple of works that I’ve done, I thought, were innovative. For example the Broadway musical
Cabaret we did in 2011. It was quite rethought and reworked, which I very much enjoyed. The other
piece, The Odyssey, which was a new work based on an ancient text, was reworked in terms of how
do we told the story and the physicalising of that story. So yes overall (as I say, I can’t speak to the
Butoh aspects) yes, very much so.
Bradley: How about In the Company of Shadows, which we’ve just finished? How do you see that as an
innovative work?
Haycock: I think probably its major innovation was in form for me, the fact that it centred around an
experience of theatre. It’s not something I’ve experienced or really heard much of, where you were
physically manipulated and controlled. Then expanding the possibility of how you experience the
show in that way. I was constantly excited by the further possibilities of that as a form. I think we
only skimmed the surface of what we could do with more time (and financial support!)
Bradley: How did your design vision feed into that, because I personally think that you had a lot of input
into that whole idea of how we view something? We talked a lot about the perspective, if you like,
manipulating the audience’s perspective and/or framing of the work. So could you talk a little to
that, because I think that was really key, for me, in terms of the end result?
Haycock: Well I suppose in a way that was the key thing that excited me about the work, which you don’t
normally get to do. Or you do, but it’s changing the shape of the proscenium arch or it’s a completely
different form like a movie. Where as we were absolutely choosing what they saw by using close
ups, long shots and editing to totally manipulate their view. You don’t quite get that sense normally
in theatre. Whereas this form, and exploring this form, allowed aspects of that to be explored. It
was what a theme park does in the sense that you’re locked into a ride and it’s a very designed
experience, so you will be startled, you’ll be shocked, you’ll be calmed, you’ll be excited, you’ll have
your heart race! But it’s usually done in a fairly thin emotional way and a thin philosophical way.

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I think what’s really interesting about this, is that it took that form, in part, and pushed that to
enable the possibilities of something more poetic, more emotionally grabbing, more direct, and
more exciting at every level of accessing theatre as an audience member. You’re not statically
sitting there in a chair watching something, although I’ve never thought that in terms of – I think
the world of the imagination, what’s going on in your head as an audience doesn’t mean you’re not
incredibly excited, even if you are sitting still in the chair. The physical movement and the physical
reframing of how you experienced what you did, I think, is a really exciting addition, and that form
push was really interesting.
I suppose from a design point of view, I was interested in that. There are lots of possibilities I saw
beyond what we achieved in this version of changing the vehicle for that, literally the bed, the
actual, physical object that you were in, changing how that was designed and how that looked
from the small view of how you saw it as you got in. But also the concept of that as sleep and that
being a release that it was a bed. That’s a whole interesting thing that we just touched on. That was
an approach, but I think there’s a whole lot of interesting aspects to that. Then within the construct
of that being the vehicle, then it was how you could see what you were going to see. How do we
frame around that to physically constrict or release the view, and what was above, around, through,
all of which offered all manner of possibilities, some of which we explored – peep holes and reveals
from above and covers and thing.
But there’s just a world of possibilities – lighting and sound built into the structure of the bed, for
example, which again is something theme parks use. But it could be used differently in a quite
amazing way within this sort of theatre experience I think.
Bradley: Can you see a process revealing itself in terms of steps or ingredients of innovation, based on this
show or the other work that you’ve done as a designer that you would consider to be innovative,
or working with innovators? You mentioned a little bit earlier, for example, part of innovation is
creativity and part of it is a way of seeing?
Haycock: I suppose this will talk around it and not necessarily address it, but maybe if I talk around it a little
bit I’ll sharpen and refine as I go. I think the interesting thing is always to create something that you
haven’t seen before and you would want to see. So that’s a sort of inbuilt thing of taking everything
that you’ve seen before and everything that you’ve experienced before, and you go, “oh okay this is a
new opportunity to create something that I haven’t seen before, and that I would like to see.” It’s sort
of that simple.
Then it just appears. For me, I don’t like to get too spooky about how you arrive at something, and
sometimes there are fantastic, amazing, extraordinary, weird, collage-like things that happen that
just oppose each other, but somehow make something greater than you’d ever experienced. Just in
terms of a solid process (whether it’s an existing work or it’s a new work), you hope that it will push
the givens of what you’re dealing with, and so you sort of push each of those givens. You’ve already
done this in terms of how you wanted to create the shape of this work, for example.
But it’s like going back in the process. It’s like us asking: “Why do we have to sit in a chair to experience
theatre? Why can’t we be in some other vehicle to experience what we’re going to experience? Can
we mix up the style of what we’re going to see? Can we physically change the relationship between
the audience and the performers? How can we use the lighting to, even more strongly that usual,
affect how we see what we’re seeing and how we feel about what we’re seeing?”
So I suppose it’s building on each of those components, as a process, that you go, “okay there’s the
bed, there’s how we use the bed, what opportunities does that give us to explore what we want to
do?” It’s sort of exploring the form, but I suppose you hope with work where it’s really clicking and
where it’s great to collaborate with free-thinking directors and other designers and performers, to
follow that through, that you’re not going to be afraid and won’t pull back from those explorations,
nor be unwilling to refine them. It is actually a disciplined process in recognising something that
works and developing that further. That this is working and this is working, can we put those two
things together? Should they be a complementary thing? Should they be an amazing contract that
actually makes both of them stronger?
Bradley: Would you say that part of your process involves research? At some point in this do you do
research in terms of reading books, referencing your amazing library, internet Googling, or has it all
happened out of collaboration? Is collaboration an ingredient do you think?
Haycock: I think collaboration is absolutely an ingredient, much as it’s lovely to work alone and at home as
an artist. Half of why I’m in theatre, I think, is because I enjoy working with other people, and often
I can stew away at home and be thinking about a project and come up with reasonable ideas and
thoughts and images, but it’s the process of talking those through and showing them and sharing
them with someone else, that actually makes them better and more interesting and takes you off in
a different tangent, or combines them in a different way, or just makes you look at the same thing
in a different way, because somebody else is seeing something in that image that you haven’t seen.

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You might have subconsciously thought this was a great image for the show. In some way it had
something that seemed right for this show, but you’re sort of seeing one thing in it as that’s why
you thought it was right, but the other person is agreeing with you that it’s right, which is lovely, but
they’re seeing a completely different thing in it that they feel is right or not. You’re sort of pushing
things around about what’s going to push the piece forward. So yes the collaboration, I think, is a
huge part.
Obviously research is a big part of innovation in terms of not only books and reading but also just
observing the world and using that as a constant resource. The colours and textures and light and
sound – there’s a whole lot of things that you just absorb constantly if you’re alive to that, that
can feed into something. Often it feeds in interestingly in an unexpected way, such as a modern
texture will feed into an ancient work. You want the texture of a bitumen road so that the audience
somehow connects this modern texture without it jarring in an “out of time” way. But they sort of
sense that it has connotations of the road that’s gone on forever, but you’re not labouring the point,
but you’re drawing from something that might be contemporary into a work from the past, but
connecting it to the audience now. That’s exciting I think.
Bradley: What about the role of failure in innovation?
Haycock: I’m a huge fan of failure. The whole notion that you have a right to fail until you do, I think, is very
dangerous or deleterious at real innovation, because real innovation is falling on your face. Sorry,
you’ve got to do that otherwise you’re not really trying something interesting. A lot is in hopefully
recognising what’s working and what isn’t and discipline and refinement, because I love works
where people really have the discipline that they are physically able to achieve things to express an
idea or something, and also have the commitment in the rehearsal process to refine that and get it
right. That’s one of the things I have to say that I’ve always loved about working with Zen Zen Zo. I
don’t know you’re training in great detail, but it seems to absolutely achieve that.
The ability to do something that might be seemingly very stupid, but to do it with such intensity
and such discipline and such attention to detail, that the finger needs to be this direction and this
angle and not that angle, for the image to work in totality. Or for the face to be in this light and
not in that light, and that’s really crucial because that’s the magic of theatre. The intangibility of
theatre that you know it works and an audience knows when that works, and when they don’t quite
understand what’s happening, it’s because that moment didn’t quite come off. It’s knowing the
discipline or the refinement to know that that’s why it works.
That’s always been very exciting in terms of working with Zen Zen Zo, that there is that commitment
to the realisation of the idea I think. Sorry, I’ve wandered off the original question a bit.
Bradley: No this is fantastic. One more question regarding the innovation process; what’s your opinion on
the role of imitation? I think a lot of innovation comes out of imitating something that inspires you
initially, and in doing so, you find your own way of executing it, if you like, or your own take on it. For
Zen Zen Zo, we’ve often started with, particularly as younger artists, imitating or replicating forms
and ways of working from various international artists, and then almost mistakenly found our way
to something completely different, that was uniquely ours.
So I guess my question is, on the way to mastery is there a place for imitation in the contemporary
world? Obviously it’s an individual thing, but in your practice were there people you aspired to be like?
Haycock: Yeah absolutely. What do you absorb out of the whole world of looking? Speaking totally for myself,
as a designer, I don’t think I’ve ever consciously traced off something that I’ve seen, but I’ve sure been
influenced by stuff, and you would see that and anyone who knows the history of stage design could
see influences of the people and the forms that I like.
Bradley: Who are your major influences?
Haycock: They’d be people like Ralph Koltai and more recent folk like Robert Wilson, just to name two.
They’re two very different designers. Robert Wilson is a director and creator. But the clarity and
the distillation and the intensity with which each of them work, I think, is really great. I love many,
many, many German designers – there’s so much German theatre that I love for the same reason. It’s
very rich in its visual form, but it’s very rigorous in the thinking behind it. When you see a play and
you go, “yes, what a fantastic distillation of that play and it looks fantastic,” it’s not dry and dull and
boring. It’s not academic in a boring way that solves the play. It’s a really exciting production that
you’d want to see.
I was lucky in seeing, I suppose, some of the people, speaking of German design, that I really admire
in the mid-eighties live. I managed to see production photographs that I’d seen in books and thought
fantastic, actually see those productions live on the stage, and see that they weren’t just an isolated,
amazing image. They were living productions that did actually work and that isolated, single image
photograph in the book was the top of the iceberg, in terms of how fantastic the whole show looked.

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But also how the actors worked within it, and how rigorous the direction was with it and how the
director and the designer had obviously worked really closely to achieve that.
Nothing was left to chance. I remember seeing a production where props were used in a way that I
thought, many productions in Australia, the way that the props were used, would have annoyed the
director once they’d made the statement. Once you’d had the photograph then they would have just
got rid of them, but instead seeing the real production, because it was a very minimal set, what few
props they had really stood out. They continued to use them, continued to get value for the character,
for the meaning of the play.
Bradley: What production was that?
Haycock: It was a production of The Misanthrope.
Bradley: By which director?
Haycock: It was Yurgan Ghosh and designed by Axel Manthey, who is a German designer that I love. The set was
a huge set of stairs that came out of the orchestra pit and curved around and disappeared up behind
the top of the proscenium arch. There was nowhere to go; you were just on this staircase, which was
an image about the court and about society and about where you were in the pecking order. It was
such a statement for the play. It gave you everywhere to go and nowhere to go. You could not have
come up with a design like that if the direction wasn’t perfectly in sync with it.
I’d seen Australian productions, to draw this out, where they’d copied stuff from overseas, and you
could see they’d obviously seen that photograph of something or other. If you just took the isolated
photograph, you might think, “oh that’s that sort of show and they’ve being very modern.” But
it wasn’t followed through in the actual production itself. You could sense the frustration of the
director – “I’m stuck with this staircase now what do I do with it?” You never had that sense with this
extraordinary production. They totally used the staircase from beginning to end.
Two suitors came on for the lead woman with huge bunches of flowers. Once they’d been rejected
they just didn’t know what to do with their huge bunches of flowers, and so that amplified their
rejection and the humour – there was just so many layers used with these two huge bunches of
flowers that just didn’t go away. They weren’t shoved under a chair or something, which I’d seen
done in Australian productions, where they’d made the funny statement but now they didn’t know
how to follow that through and to bring it dragging, screaming back.
So that’s one of the things that I’ve always loved about seeing Zen Zen Zo’s works and the works that
I’ve done with you and with the company, is that resolution that nothing is wasted, nothing is there
for a random purpose, it’s there to serve a function. But that doesn’t mean it’s not rich and it’s not
visually extraordinary, but it’s resolved, it’s got a journey and it’s got a meaning and once it’s brought
on it is significant when it’s taken off. There’s a follow through in that, which I find very satisfying. So
that’s the sort of imitation into reality when you do actually take something where you admire the
appearance of something or what you can recognise as the intelligence behind something and then
find how that informs what you’re actually doing with a work. That is really exciting.
Bradley: We’re going to jump to a slightly different topic, which is working across cultures, which of course
you’ve had the opportunity to do having lived in Hong Kong and worked into China quite a lot,
and no doubt across other cultures as well. Based on your experience of working cross-culturally,
what do you think the ingredients or prerequisites are for a healthy or productive cross-cultural or
transcultural experience or collaboration?
Haycock: My main personal cross-cultural experiences, as you said have been working in Hong Kong and
China. So working with performers and designers and other personnel that didn’t speak English
as their first language, who spoke Mandarin or Cantonese chiefly. I observed a little bit of Korean
theatre practice, but I wasn’t personally involved, but I was lucky enough through a friend to observe
rehearsals and the collaborative process in Korea. That was interesting. I suppose I’ve done some
very, very minor indigenous works in Australia; very few in the big scheme of my career, so I can’t
hugely speak to that, but just a few and I suppose that was my first cross-cultural experience long
before I’d gone to Asia.
That was my first glimpse into the excitements and the perils of working interculturally with forms
and with people that I hadn’t worked with before and hadn’t experienced before.
Bradley: Would you mind articulating what you think are the excitements and the perils of working across
cultures?
Haycock: The excitement is obviously the new things that you don’t know. That’s how it opens these huge
other doors to so much other practice and thinking and knowledge and imagery that you’re not
familiar with necessarily. The pitfall, I think, is being over precious about how that can be used.
There’s obviously a line between finding out about other cultures and meeting other artists and

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working with them in a way that’s respectful to certain aspects of other cultures. Some of those,
I think, are due respect in terms of there are sensitivities that need to be respected. Sometimes I
think they’re also cultural and things that have become acceptable or that are norms rather than
necessarily sensitivities that are intrinsic to that culture.
Bradley: Can you give me an example of that specifically?
Haycock: I suppose there were instances where I remember doing a children’s show that had a part Aboriginal
cast and part white cast, and there were a lot of sensitivities about what material we used and
couldn’t use and so on. I think, as I said, rightly so there were sensitivities about those who had
died and what stories could be told or how things could be told. But there were other things to
do with male and female power things, that as a Westerner and that not being your culture or
your accepted framework or accepted practice, that you think, “oh, I don’t think women should be
treated that way or whatever. Even though you’re saying this is cultural practice.”
I think that’s where it gets into grey territory of thinking, “but that doesn’t make it right necessarily.”
There are things about that I found sort of troubling – it didn’t turn into a major issue, but that
was the first time I’d ever really observed that. To be blunt, I also observed a timidity on the part of
white folk to address some of those concerns in ways that they would have had if it was white folk
to white folk. It was an over-anxiousness to not be seen to be critical, and you go, “well, that’s not
about art or that’s not about humanity, that’s something else – that’s politics or that’s other things
that are going on to do with this show; we’re actually putting a show on.”
There were things about going on walkabout and disappearing and lack of discipline and stuff,
and yes there’s a whole lot of reasons for that, but it was also, “we’re doing a project and none
of us have got enough time or enough money to do this; you’re not helping if you disappear.”
Whether it’s cultural or whether it’s just laziness, there were issues around that. I can remember
Deb Mailman having a huge rail about lazy men that were using the culture as an excuse to skive
off. I’m trying to be diplomatic here, because I don’t want to sound racist – everyone gets very
touchy about sounding racist.
I think when you’re working artist to artist, there can’t be that timidity to say what you’re thinking.
Otherwise you’re not going to do something that’s seriously interesting and grow from one culture
to another.
Bradley: So now if you bring it back into the Asian context, similarly, do you have other memories of
experiences where it was fraught or complicated and the solutions that you came up with to make
it possible to work?
Haycock: The biggest barrier obviously is language, and so pieces that worked better were often less
complicated by the vagaries of language and trying to understand. That’s a housekeeping aspect
in a way of just not quite understanding what’s going on fully.
Bradley: That leads to part of what I’m looking at, which is this fairly newly theorised term “Cultural
Translation.” So I’m drawing on theory from translation studies about how we work from a source
text and then how we translate it. So it’s about that transposition, if you like, from one place to
another. But it’s now being applied to things other than just text and language. So for example,
theatre (and in particular, Butoh) is what I’m specifically trying to look at. There’s not a lot yet written
about the Cultural Translation of an artistic practice from one space to another.
So I’m quite interested in drawing on specific terms and ideas from translation studies, such as the
idea of mistranslation or misunderstanding, and how that can sometimes turn out to be a good
thing in the end. It can initially be quite annoying, but it can yield something good at the other
end. Or the idea that some things might be completely “untranslatable” and you just have to accept
that that’s how they are and that’s how it is. Or that some ideas and people actually resist being
translated altogether. I know from my own experience in Japan, sometimes people I was working
with would kind of close down around a concept and try and tell me it was impossible for me to
understand it because I wasn’t Japanese. So when I’m looking at transposing Butoh, that’s also been
my experience around the more complex cultural concepts from time to time.
From your perspective, working in Hong Kong, can you remember similar instances? Or projects
where there were clashes of cultures or it was a bit fraught for one reason or another? And how you
found your way through or resolved that?
Haycock: My experience was not as pure as yours, in the sense that a lot of the works that I was interpreting
with Asia, personally, were already Western. They weren’t Asian to begin with, and so it was already
in translation for them. So I was getting a meaning from it in its original English that they weren’t
necessarily fully privy to. I can remember supervising plays at the APA where I’d read the script in
English and thought, “what on earth are they doing?” Because it bore no relation on stage to what
the text said. You think, “this is supposed to be a very raucous black joke and they’re turning it into

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a genuinely sweet, warm little funny joke!” And I’d think, “this has actually gone haywire – they don’t
understand this culturally or they just don’t understand the literature of this or the language of this
and why this is there in the script.”
Bradley: Would you try and intervene? Would you try and explain?
Haycock: Well I did, and I sort of queried various things, but of course without the language to know what’s
actually being said, sometimes that just caused more confusion. That’s not so interesting in terms
of translating another form. I suppose a lot of what I was doing was dance and quite often ballet,
which again, has another French vocabulary language beyond that which could be shared by totally
different disciplines. So that was a bit of a weird mix. In fact the main work that I did in China was a
company that was made up of artists from all over the world, not only Chinese dancers, but Polish and
Russian and Australian and Canadian and American dancers. So it was a whole whacky melting pot.
Bradley: So did you change your process for any of the work that you did in Hong Kong or for the work in
China? Did you have to change anything that you would do here to make those works?
Haycock: I don’t think I did that I’m aware of, to be perfectly honest. Maybe I did to sort of physically make it
happen.
Bradley: Being based in Asia, were there things like visual art styles or atheistic concepts that you became
influenced by and integrated into your work as a designer?
Haycock: If you can speak in the broadest of clichés: the distillation of Asian art that was sort of the
exquisiteness of Chinese calligraphy and brush painting; or the attention to detail that was often
shown in textures; or observing the natural world, and then abstracting that into really distilled
pure statements on stage. These were innately where my aesthetic lay anyway, in a sense. So I’m
drawn to that because I already like it, but there were some beautiful examples of that in the work
that I saw and the work of some of my staff. Seeing them develop their works, that were Chinese
works, at close hand was inspiring.
One staff member in particular had a beautiful eye for distilling the essence of Chinese culture in
different ways. Cantonese opera was a form I was totally new to and I went there and I loved that,
in terms of its level of stylisation where the world could be represented by a table and two chairs,
a fancy backdrop, a very fancy costume and obviously theatricality like the musicians being on
stage. The directness and the obviousness of the magic trick being totally shown to you, but still be
magic nonetheless. I found that lovely and I’d liked aspects of that before. As a child I always hated
puppets that had strings because you could see the string. Where was the magic in that?
Whereas I’d loved rod puppets as a child because I thought, “well, you’re seeing a rod but it’s a very
definite statement; you’re not hiding the rod with the rod puppet, you’re seeing it and you’re making
it a very conscious part of the image of what you’re seeing, rather than pretending that it’s not there.”
So Cantonese opera had all sorts of things about disappearances, and I’m riding a horse because I’m
carrying a tasselled stick, and I climb up on the chairs and onto the table and I’m on a mountain or
wherever I said I was going to be. I loved all of that directness, as well as this mad richness.
It was sort of like, “well, we can be poor theatre and very spare about how we do it, but boy we’re
going to have fancy makeup and great frocks while we’re doing it!” That’s a great mix because it’s
so satisfying for an audience when you’re given a richness – the fact that you’re having to work
your imagination in many ways, it doesn’t mean that it’s impoverished and it has to be brown
and brown and brown and brown. It can be extraordinarily lively visually. That was probably one
of the forms – I’ve always loved colour, but I think of that – I did a few things when I came back
that were luridly coloured and that was in part, because I just thought the colour combination in
Cantonese opera were so fantastic, why not push that into works that you might normally do in a
more naturalistic pallet.
That’s a very minor way of being influenced. I think it’s probably other things that are deeper and
more profound that I haven’t quite realised yet. I think just the distillation, which was something,
as I said, that has always appealed. But it was a reinforcement of how effective that is in the best of
what I saw. I can remember a work that ultimately got rejected by the director, which I thought was
really strange because I thought it was so beautiful. It was by the staff member, Ricky Chan, that I
was talking about before.
There was a set that he’d come up with that had a tree stump and the shadow of the tree as it
has existed, moving across the stage during the performance. It was the most beautiful image
of a memory and a sort of presence and an emotion. It was just so beautiful and I remember that
particularly. It was beautifully observed and beautifully executed in terms of the model and such a
lovely visual idea, and it just summed up so much I thought.
Bradley: So as a teacher working with the Chinese students at the APA, did you have to make any changes
in terms of how you were delivering the content across the cultures?

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Haycock: Well it was a lot of trying to find common ground that would make, perhaps, more abstract thoughts
that I was trying to give them palatable and real, through practical examples, and so trying to find
shared things. That mostly was shared Western references that I could use that I understood and
they knew about, that I could share. But a lot of my existing Western influences and Australian
references of course were totally lost on them. It was great when they could see something and
when there was that leap made.
I’m just trying to remember, there was a wonderful class were I was teaching Oedipus and we were
looking at how the notion that it’s a blasted city that’s in waste because of him, and how that could
be visualised. That it was a city where the people were starving, that the people needed the city
to grow again and be fertile and that it was a blasted place, and how that could be visualised. So
we’d explored an awful lot of charring and waste and I said okay is there another way? Can we
push this in any other way? It was just suggested by some photographs that one of the designer
students had taken of some wasteland near the airport or the previous airport. He’d been mainly
photographing waste tarmacs and waste ground which was great with some great images.
But I was trying to push them in terms of what other ways could be found to say that this is a toxic
place that needs to be sorted out, just as the leaders of the place need to be sorted out so that we,
the people, can actually return to our normal productive, healthy, happy lives. So finally I poked a
few folk into seeing that around the edges of all of these blasted runways there were incredibly
rich weeds. They were so rich they looked like they were sort of toxic waste and the products of not
natural growth. They weren’t healthy, happy plants, they were toxically happy. So we agreed on this
sense that if you could go the other way and make an environment that looked extraordinarily lush
but, in fact, was totally devoid of any life or any sort of sustaining life. Just as a way of pushing the
idea around.
Then we pushed it into sound for some reason, and I said we were talking about terrible sounds
and matching it. It was a bit the same like we get a blasted place and then we match it with blasted
sounds. I said if we’d done that, are there other ways to pull away from that. This formally fairly
lackadaisical, slightly dippy costume design student suddenly said, “no sound. If there was no
sound that would be really disturbing.” It was like a revelation for her in saying it, and having come
out of the discussion before it, it was a huge leap to take to say that the problem may have been
not in putting more in or what that was, but in taking something away.
Just the leap of creativity that had happened. That was one of the great little moments actually, and
for that particular student who wouldn’t have said that she was visual or could think about shows
particularly. But it proved that she could and that she had that imagination.
Bradley: That’s good. It shows that you’re obviously managing to translate across the cultures, to the point
where you’re enabling them to do their job, which is to design and to create. I don’t know if you feel
like you can speak to the next question, which is just about how I took Butoh or elements of Butoh
and translated them into the end result, which was In the Company of Shadows. If you can point to
anywhere that you could obviously see that, or where you could see it below the surface of the
work, based on your knowledge of Butoh.
Haycock: Well as I said, my knowledge of Butoh is very slim. My understanding, and this is very broad and
probably clichéd, is that Butoh is a form that’s emerged post World War II as a way of dealing with
the horror of Hiroshima, and it’s to do with the scarring – the literal scarring and the emotional and
societal scarring – by that destruction and that absence of so many millions of people and the place
being left for ruin. So that’s my understanding in a very, very couple of sentences way of Butoh’s
origins and form and explorations. That it’s about exploring the darker aspect, as a way of coming out
into the light, I suppose; out of the darkness into the light. As a way of moving forward, not to sort of
hide it and pretend it didn’t happen. But to keep exploring that and pushing it. Would I be right?
Bradley: Fantastic interpretation.
Haycock: So you could then clearly see that, and when you could see that perhaps the discipline and the
focus wasn’t always there in the younger performers, you’d go, “well they don’t have a direct
experience of that.” If you’ve been through the Holocaust then you’ve got that to draw from, and
so Jewish comedy is that much more funny because it’s coming from a dark place that makes it an
escape and a thing; it’s not just a funny joke. But at the same time, what’s interesting is it’s sort of
using that form to push into what is not quite sunshine and blue sky in Australia. That everywhere
has darkness and it’s just one of a number of ways to theatrically explore that and in the “psyche of
a country” way, I think.
There is a scarring for Australia of indigenous history, there’s a scarring of World War II and how the
Japanese treated Australians; many generations of Australians who are starting to die out now. But
I grew up when that was very much in people’s minds still, and a lot of it was suppressed because
nobody really, for many years, wanted to deal with that in Australia, what servicemen had had to
face in World War II and at the hands of the Japanese. So I think that sort of cultural shift, which is

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moving away a bit now because those generations are dying out, and then there’s been a huge
shift back towards this idea that we are part of Asia and the number of Asians who are in Australia
through work or being a student or being born here now.
Those things are sort of blurring more and more. Sorry, I’m sort of wandering around. But I suppose
just the access through a form that isn’t necessarily your own, allows you a freedom. It’s a bit
like putting a mask on where, I think, the interesting thing is that it enables by doing something
completely different. A completely different discipline enables you to explore something that
can still be very true, which always struck me when I moved from doing plays where you talk and
you’re dealing with a certain reality, into the world of classical ballet, which is not something I’d
ever particularly grown up with. It’s the same with Cantonese opera; any form that is so artificial,
but when it works it actually is about absolutely fundamental things that touch us and that are
emotional and are true and when they really work.
Despite the seeming artificiality of what’s going on, despite the extraordinary makeup and the
recessed eyes, it sort of taps into all the mad stylisations in Cantonese opera. They all, when they
work, tap into this sort of emotional core that everyone going to theatre with any sort of open mind
can draw from.
Bradley: That’s a very interesting thought. Do you think the inclusion of the Dairakudakan dancer and
choreographer Yuyama Daiichiro was a positive artistic choice, and if so what do you think he
brought to the production?
Haycock: Yes obviously I think he was, because he brought a sort of gravitas, if you like. He brought an
aspirational level to the show for much less experienced performers. Whether he felt frustrated or
they felt inspired by that? But I think there was a sort of two-way street ultimately through the time
that he was here. He was very friendly and personable in real life. But to see someone with that level
of intensity and skill and focus in performance, gave you the sense that had everyone been at that
level, what a show it would have been!
But at the same time, I liked the fact that it wasn’t all him. It was actually a lot of Australian boys
and girls doing amazing, extraordinary stuff really. But yes, he was an inspiration, I think, and was
definitely a big part of the production. There was obviously respect in both directions between
him and the Australian cast, which was lovely. And the friendliness within the company (which is
also one of the things I’ve always loved about Zen Zen Zo, that there is a madness and acceptance
within the group). There is a family feeling where there’s highs and lows and fights and squabbles,
but love and laughter and hugs and tears. There’s a whole whacky mix of all of that. But genuinely
a warmth and coming together, a love within the company.
It was nice to have him as a focus to shape the whole company, I think, to have someone that’s sort
of a leader within a company. Even though he was there for not such a long time, it was a nice level
to add to the show.
Bradley: Were there any challenges that you identified working with him at all?
Haycock: I suppose in an ideal world, I would have personally, as a designer, liked more time to work with him
in developing more integrally what he wore and what he looked like, and how he interacted with the
rest of the company I suppose. He was very lovely and complimentary, but it would have been nice
to perhaps push that a bit further. The nitty gritty of doing the costume and him wearing it in a way
that was quite different to how it was intended to be worn, which was perfectly fine, because that
was the push. But we could have pushed that around more with him physically being there, and just
having the ability to do that and be able to resource how we did that better.
Perhaps just talk to him more. I should have done that because there were opportunities and I
could have drawn him out more perhaps, but I was conscious that his focus in that amount of time
needed to be more on the show rather than on the philosophical discussions with me.
Bradley: That’s the same with me and the musicians. I would have loved to have sat down with all of them,
but when they came in at such a late entry point, it was really hard to completely – because it’s
almost at that pointy end. The pragmatics kind of rule the situation. I agree with you there.
Haycock: I loved watching him in the Boys’ dance, performing in a way that was obviously so foreign to his
physical practice. That was lovely to see, how he absorbed himself into their world, which they very
much created and you could see how they owned that dance. But then to see him in the whirling
or being this master in sequences that were more akin to his natural form, was very powerful.
But it was nice to see him pushed out of his comfort zone in a way that these kids were being pushed
out of theirs to absorb, relatively quickly, a lot of his thing. It was nice to see that crossover actually,
and to see that there was great humour and discipline and focus in the process from everyone.
Bradley: That’s a really good point actually. Now, moving on, what’s your understanding of the term
“shadow”? What does that mean to you?

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Haycock: I suppose it’s the form that follows the light. So it’s the necessary other side. Looking in the light
blinds you but as you turn back you’ve got the trace of what’s been. If you’re looking forward into
the light, you’re looking backwards into the shadow, or that’s what follows you. I love the notion
of the shadow. I love visually the notion of a shadow, where you’re distilling away the surface
appearance of something and just getting an essence of something.
I remember years ago my sister had a little comedy paperback of a satirical 1950’s American thing;
it was like the forerunner of Mad Magazine. They had extraordinary little photo stories and cartoons
and funny old clips from movies with funny captions and stuff. But they had this whole series of
cartoons that were people with a shadow, and the shadow was something quite different. So the
two figures were a little tentative, bespectacled, round bowler-hatted, hen-pecked husband with a
wife that was shouting at him in the front. But the shadow was him as a huge monster terrorising her.
Being fifties American, there was one with Khrushchev and then the shadow was a series of very
complicated machines with a blade with a single drop of blood on it. So just the whole notion of
silhouettes and shadows and stuff – that’s more at an intellectual level obviously as well as a visual.
But I also remember at NIDA we did a scene-paining exercise and one of the students did this most
beautiful painting of the scene. The instructor told us to go off and find what we wanted to paint
just within 100 yards of where we were doing the class. So I wandered outside and did a street
landscape that had scungy old rusty galvanised iron and timber and stuff, because it was a million
years ago and it was rural Newtown or somewhere in Sydney.
But Astrid went off and went into the bathroom of this warehouse place that we were in, and ended
up doing this beautiful picture of a sink. But it was a sink in sunlight and it was an old fashioned
white enamelled sink in sunlight, and it was a beautiful pale yellow sunlight streaming in, but the
shadow was what made it in this pale lavender colour. It was the most beautiful image and piece of
scenic painting. So just the idea of shadows is really rich. Luckily I love how visually strong shadows
can make something.
I remember doing a production of The Hard God, which is a beautiful play about a Catholic family
in the 50s in Australia. It’s by a gay playwright and it’s fairly autobiographical about him being gay
in this very Catholic family – that’s one level of the play. But the other level, and what makes it such
a great play, is this observation of the family and the funny relations and the richness of this whole
family life and period in Australia, is beautifully captured. The husband is dying of cancer and the
first image is him sitting on a chair on a table reading the newspaper right under the bare bulb of
the kitchen light. The wife comes in and says what on earth are you doing up there, and he says well
I can’t really see.
It’s an amazing first image to do with light and do to with him up there reading the paper. But it
ends with her devastated because she knows that he’s got cancer and he’s going to die at the end of
the play. But I remember that there was a scene with the two boys going to the beach, I think, and
I designed it with a paling fence that had slats, like openings between it. I wanted the light and the
shadow to be what they walked through, because it was timed with – is it the bells tolling at six for
Catholic mass? It needed a sort of religious quality to this image, but achieved through the life that
they had. So that quality of light and shadow – there’s a great power in that when you observe the
real world around what’s in shadow.
Obviously shadow is also like the dark side of the psyche or things that are in shadow are hidden
or suppressed or not wanting to be brought out and revealed. It’s an interesting idea as well why
those things are that way that we also explored in Cabaret. The idea of black and white where it was
designed to be bodily function colours and black and white and that was it. It was such a strong
symbol of the Other, and the shadow being a strong part of that world.
Bradley: So connecting it now to In the Company of Shadows, how did you use shadow in your design?
Haycock: In The Company of Shadows is a development of that idea, that Butoh is dealing with the shadow. It’s
like the blinding light of an atomic bomb going off, but the shadow is like the negative blast that’s
left from that, which as I said, translates across all sorts of cultures, you know light and dark, light
and shade. So the form you’re using sort of explores something that’s quite universal because it’s so
ubiquitous. You know that it’s everywhere – when you’ve got a strong light, you’ve got a shadow;
he says pointing from the light coming in the window forming a shadow from my teacup! That sort
of creates that form.
Bradley: Any other things that you can think of in terms of how we explored shadow in the work?
Haycock: We did explore the light along the wall in the main image at the end of the show. The idea of
a shadow being a darker, repressed side of ourselves was variously explored just in the overall
nightmarish quality of the work. Even the Boys’ dance, funny as it was, was a darker vision of what’s
going on, despite the satin boxers. There was a sort of darkness in their treatment of women and
various aspects misogyny, that wasn’t necessarily to do with light and shadow in a physical image

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sense. But it was to do with that being explored as ideas in the work. And then other more overtly
nightmarish aspects that were the close-ups onto various couples engaged in strange behaviours
and the puppet master. It was a strange nightmare world that was a series of darknesses.
Bradley: What did the title mean to you, In the Company of Shadows? What’s your interpretation of that?
Haycock: It was being in that shadow space and experiencing that together I suppose. Physically being in that
enclosed room and it being like a dream, like a nightmare, where you were forced, in a way, even
though you chose to be there in the bed, that you were locked in to the company of shadows. You
were locked into this other world that was both other and exploring your personal little “locked in
inside your brain” shadows.
I was just going to say that I find that whole area of Cultural Translation very interesting because
artists aren’t as precious as outside commentators of things. Yes of course there are sensitivities to
be taken on board. But the world’s cultures are enriched by cross‑fertilisations. Cubism is Western
art being enriched by Western folk looking at African masks and sculptures or whatever. You can
say that it’s culturally insensitive, that they don’t know what the contexts of those pieces are but I
don’t think that’s as crucial. It hasn’t destroyed those pieces or the original context if anyone wants
to explore them. It’s like people getting upset with people interpreting Shakespeare in a way that’s
not how they think it should be done. You know, the play still exists, it’s not been destroyed. Also,
in reverse, and maybe this makes me sound like a terrible racist, but people get so happed up,
but people rip off the English language and Western culture all the time shamelessly. Like living
in Asia, they were doing all sorts of things. Are you going to say, “you’re Aboriginal, sorry you can’t
play a violin.” I mean, how stupid. It should be the ability to cross all of those lines and bring the
experiences of wherever you come from into that world. Being able to explain more about the
background and the context of where something comes from only enriches it, it’s not a closing
down or an exclusion, that you can’t do this because you’re not that. And that’s across all sorts of
boundaries, you know. “You can’t play gay because you’re not gay”, “you can’t play a man because
you’re a woman.” There are a lot of things where, sure, that’s a different experience. But you’re going
to bring something to that and it may or may not be successful but it’s worth the exploration. It’s
worth the potential for something to come out of it. It’s worth the risk of falling flat on your face for.
Bradley: What do you think is the difference then between a superficial rendering and something that
works?
Haycock: I’ve always been a bit twitchy about Australian productions which claim to be doing “a Kabuki
Macbeth” and you’re like, “you know Kabuki folk are trained from when they’re children and you’ve
got a three-week rehearsal period and we’re doing what?” And you think, ok, what are you taking
from that form? It’s like you’re picking it up as a fancy costume and saying that’s that. And of
course there’s a whole lot more that’s informed those choices and that physical form, or whatever.
Including philosophy and training and discipline that’s come behind something. But I’ve seen some
stuff, even an MTC show, where they’ve just skimmed the cultural surface. But that happens all
the time in theatre really. You get intensely interested in a subject for two months and then you
put the play on and then it’s all gone again. And that’s not to say you haven’t been enriched and
the audience hasn’t been enriched. I do know much more about chaos theory, for example, than
before I started that production. But the beauty of that is that exploration will stay with me. So
the intensity of exploring something for a short period of time can still have huge other benefits. I
think that’s that danger that you pretend you’re doing a form from somewhere else that of course
requires an incredible amount more time and commitment to the training. But you’ve alluded to
that. You can’t do that – you either have to commit to doing that for your lifetime and that’s not
what we’re doing. Picasso doesn’t need to know every single thing about African sculpture to use
it as an influence that’s extraordinary. And he’s made quite different works that’s made by that
fracturing but it is his own creation.
I think that was the strength of In the Company of Shadows, that it wasn’t a traced‑off copy of
something that you’d seen or experienced twenty years ago in Japan. It wasn’t a Butoh work in
that sense. Despite Daiichiro’s strong presence it was using what you’d learnt from that experience
and you’d applied that with discipline and with focus to draw out the themes of the work. Which
were to do with, “let’s sleep and let’s dream and let’s explore and let’s go on a dark journey in the
company of shadows”. It was about that thematically, and the richness was gained partly by way of
the fact that it was bedded for you as an artist in your work in Japan with Butoh companies such as
Dairakudakan. So it was a cross-fertilisation, not a copy. The Butoh was everywhere but nowhere, if
you know what I mean?

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7.9.5 David Walters Interview


Date: 26th May, 2016
Location: Stafford Heights, Brisbane
Interviewer: Lynne Bradley

Bradley: Thank you for taking the time, David, I very much appreciate it. I’m going to kick off with a question
for you regarding innovation. What is your definition of innovation?
Walters: The word innovation for me connotes doing something that hasn’t been done before, going places
where other people haven’t been, looking for other ways of doing things or communicating things,
which haven’t been tried.
Bradley: A beautifully succinct definition for innovation! So would you define the work of Zen Zen Zo as
innovative or not, and if so why so, and if not why not?
Walters: Just to get a parameter there when you say the work of Zen Zen Zo you mean all of the work?
Bradley: Yes, well you’re in a privileged position because you’ve seen a lot of the work.
Walters: The bulk of your work I think. So yes, absolutely without a shadow of doubt. I think I wrote to you
after one of the shows I’d seen a long time ago saying how privileged we were to have a company
like yours in Brisbane doing that sort of thing because it just reminded me of being in Europe.
Where people were pushing the boundaries all the time, people were trying things out and it was
daring and it was exciting and it was making the audience question their values, which I think was
really important.
Bradley: Wow, thank you I’m honoured. You’d think I’d paid him.
Walters: [laughs] You have my bank account details.
Bradley: [laughs] All right, so do you think that In the Company of Shadows as a production was innovative?
Walters: Oh I would say without a shadow of doubt, no pun intended! [laughs] Most i