chelfitsch: cutting-edge Japanese theatre at the Push Festival
chelfitsch, the Tokyo-based theatre company formed in 1997 by Playwright Toshiki Okada, last appeared in Vancouver in January 2009. This time around, the company is presenting Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner and the Farewell Speech, at the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival (co-presented by SFU Woodward’s and Centre A) The piece will be presented over three nights, January 26-28, 2012 at 8pm at Studio T, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 West Hastings Street.
In Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner and the Farewell Speech, a group of office temps plan a farewell party for a recently laid off colleague. Will a Motsu hot pot restaurant do? Someone is obviously tampering with the climate-control system and it’s getting out of hand. Should the police be notified? A coworker makes her farewell speech. What does it have to do with imaginary penguins and the death of a cicada?
Deadpan dialogue, layered with elaborate gestural vocabulary and brilliant choreography, sheds light on the subtext of professional office etiquette, water cooler gossip and Japanese corporate culture. Marked by distinct musical backdrops that include John Coltrane, Stereolab, and John Cage, each of the three scenes speak to the dark humour and despair of a generation that had been promised a brilliant future only to end up ensnared in fluorescent cubicles.
Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner and the Farewell Speech
chelfitsch (Tokyo, Japan)
Presented by the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival,
SFU Woodward’s and Centre A
January 26-28, 2012 8:00pm
Studio T, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 West Hastings Street.
Post-Show Reception and Conversation with Toshiki Okada, led by Makiko Hara.
Jan 26, 9:30pm at Centre A (2 West Hastings Street)
Jan 27, led by Kathleen Ritter
Stylishly idiosyncratic director Toshiki Okada is known for crafting sharp and visually vibrant works of theatre out of the most ordinary of interactions. Founded in 1997, his Tokyo-based company is called chelfitsch, a neologism that evokes a childish deformation of the English word “selfish.” A rising star on the international theatre scene, chelfitsch has presented shows in the major theatre festivals of Berlin, Vienna, Paris, Singapore and New York, returning to Vancouver after the 2009 PuSh Festival favourite Five Days in March.
“Strangely hypnotic… a three-part meditation on death, class, and listening for the sad poetry in the everyday… By creating a jarring juxtaposition between the physical score and the text, the forgettable is remembered, small details speak volumes.” Engine 28
In Japanese with English subtitles.