Oh, Butoh, why dost thou still defieth me?
After all the research, essays, YouTube videos, multicoloured mindmaps and lectures I followed on you?
Why did I still sit through Amanogawa wondering what the fcuk-san was going on?
Yes, I read the program notes.
Yes, I read the messages on Facebook.
Yes, I get that it is about life and death and birth as one and the same, and the cosmos and life and death and and and.
But that’s what most Butoh pieces are about.
The piece didn’t say much more to me except ”OMG Frauke should really eat more pasta, or in fact, more anything. I think she has a diet of air and wind, with a gram of hay on Sundays.”
I honestly think the First Physical Theatre Company tried to hard on this one. I generally enjoy their work, and have been watching them since my first year at Rhodes. But in this piece, it’s like they’re trying too hard to be Kazuo Ohno, so that the final piece comes out as contrived and quite awkward, and lacking in depth.
The costumes were stunning and incredible, but again they felt so constructed and contrived. The use of nudity also felt like it was done just because that’s what a lot of Butoh artists do.
So I’m not sure, this piece had a lot going for it, a lot of huge names ( all hail Gary Gordon), but I really don’t know if they did Butoh justice. It was definitely an interesting piece, and perhaps this is as close to Butoh as Westerners can get to it. Perhaps the point is it is meant to be contrived and confusing. This is postmodern dance after all. Fahfahfah plurality and nonsensicality. I’m not sure. It’s not even that I wanted a straightforward narrative. Even communicating a state of mind would have been good. But the lines of communication felt very warped.