East Shadow

My team and myself have started working on a new production 
entitled “East Shadow”. About 18 months ago I was asked by 
Tetsuya Ozaki from the Triennale in Nagoya - Japan and by Tomoko 
Mukaiyama, a Japanese pianist living in the Netherlands to create 
an original work for this festival. The pre-première of this work will 
be on the 6th of September at the Korzo theatre in The Hague, 
and the premiere will be on September 6, 2013 in Nagoya, Japan. 
The themes of this years festival are:
1) The work of Samuel Beckett -
2) The help for the victims of the “tsunami” in Japan in 2011 -

These two very powerful “building blocks” of this festival made 
my decision to participate in it very easy:

1) I admire the work of Samuel Beckett since I was a young boy -
2) The tsunami which struck Japan in 2011 left a huge impression 
    on me and a desire to help -

For this particular project I have decided to work with people either 
very close to me or people who would perfectly understand how 
to help creating a work of such delicacy and sensitivity -

The story I want to tell is as simple and as banal as can be:
“...Two people, a man and a woman meet and decide to move into 
an apartment, which they would like to call their home... soon, 
through some surreal, humorous and tragic circumstances, they 
realize that their happiness is only a wishful thinking - an utopia...
finally they are washed away by an earthquake and a tsunami - 
only their hats are left behind - otherwise nothing, nothing at all. 
They were just “simple” people...”

The title comes from Samuel Beckett himself. In his instructions 
for the play “But the clouds” he talks about the “east shadow” 
and the “west shadow”. Simply by stating that, Beckett creates 
a very strange and almost philosophical question to contemplate:
The eastern sun casts a shadow lying westwards, the western sun 
casts a shadow lying eastwards... but it is impossible to determine 
which is the “East Shadow”! It is ambiguous: very simple and very 
complicated - as life is.

The couple’s happy - unhappy relationship is told by film, live action, 
live piano music and by text by Beckett. The text I wish to use is 
Beckett’s poem “Neither”. Hopefully we will be able to create a work, 
which doesn’t only occupy our eyes and ears, but equally our 
hearts and brains...

With all my love for the work of Samuel Beckett and with my grief 
for all the victims of all tsunamis, past and present - and anywhere 
in the world - I hope that we will be able to crate something 
worthwhile - something which will stimulate people's awareness 
of the preciousness of time, and maybe understand something 
about the similarity of the "small" and the "big" - the microcosmos 
and the macrocosmos.

Of course Beckett, and his absurd theatre... 
But in equal measure, our eternal attempts to live together 
with somebody, or just even with ourselves... the difficulty 
(or impossibility) of it – The play of life and death (Film and life 
performance) all result in the most wonderful realization of all: 
Everything we do is total nonsense. But this simple fact gives 
us an enormous power to demonstrate this “nonsense” with the 
most furious conviction... 
All together it should be a “Tragicomical” experience. 

“We are still alive, and we want to experience it and let everyone 
know – no matter how useless it all is – or maybe – that is 
precisely why..! 


Our team:

Jiří Kylián - director and choreographer
Sabine Kupferberg - actor, dancer (ex NDT III dancer)
Gary Chryst - actor, dancer (ex NDT III dancer)
Jason Akira Somma - video artist, sound scape
Tomoko Mukayama - pianist
Joke Visser - costume designer
Jiří Kylián - set designer
Loes Schakenbos - technical coordinator, lighting designer
Carmen Thomas - manager
Patrick Marin - assistant manager and stage manager
Tina Tuit - dresser

     Samuel Beckett - "Neither" 

     to and fro in shadow from inner to outer shadow

     from impenetrable self to impenetrable unself
     by way of neither

     as between two lit refuges whose doors once
     neared gently close, once away turned from
     gently part again

     beckoned back and forth and turned away

     heedless of the way, intent on the one gleam
     or the other

     unheard footfalls only sound

     till at last halt for good, absent for good
     from self and other

     then no sound

     then gently light unfading on that unheeded

     unspeakable home

Jiří Kylián Den Haag 19. July 2013