Artistic Collissions in Brief Encounter 19
Q & A with taiko player Eileen Kage
Eileen Kage might just be one of the busiest taiko players in the business. Vancouverites have seen her on-stage with Uzume Taiko, Sawagi Taiko, and LOUD, but in Brief Encounters 19, they’ll likely see her as they’ve never seen her before.
Like the eighteen previous sold-out editions before it, Brief Encounters 19 features artists from a wide array of disciplines engaged in interdisciplinary explorations. The ten artists are paired off and given two weeks to create something spectacular. This time around, an entertainment lawyer will work with a comedian, a songwriter will work with a media artist, an actress will work with a painter, a butoh dancer will work with a performance artist, and a taiko player—Kage—will work with a playwright/fight director (David Bloom).
The Bulletin chatted with Kage about her collaboration with Bloom—and what’s going through her head as she prepares to premiere this unique artistic encounter.
Q: What did you know about Brief Encounters before you were asked to participate?
EILEEN: I’d seen it a couple of different times before. There were some amazing juxtapositions. At the time I thought, ‘wow, that’s kind of scary, because there’s a big chance you can fall flat on your face when you’re not in your own element.’ But those performances have stayed with me to this day. When I was asked, I said yes right away, even though not having a say in who I’m working with is new for me. But I was up for the challenge.
Q: Tell me about your collaborator. What can we expect from your collaboration? What kind of challenges are you facing?
EILEEN: David Bloom is great. I love working with him. We’re basically telling a story and there’s a bit of acting, and I’m not an actor so that aspect is kind of hard. One of the things that I rely on as a taiko player, especially when I’m playing solos, are the theatrics and the drama of the form, so what I end up doing becomes very dramatic and epic, but I never recite any lines. So that’s the part that I’m really working on. As far as challenging David, I’ve written him some musical things to play on the glockenspiel.
Q: How do you think this experience will change your work in the future?
EILEEN: I’ve always collaborated with artists from other genres, but I wouldn’t be surprised if now I started working with artists from disciplines I never considered before.
Brief Encounters 19 runs May 9-11 at Performance Works on Granville Island. For tickets and more information, visit www.briefencounters.ca.