ALL REMAINING FRINGE PERFORMANCES HAVE BEEN CANCELLED AS PRECAUTION TO #COVID19
Collaboration seems to be in the pulse of this year’s annual Fringe festival with both local artists and international acts working together. One such collaboration comes in the form of Japanese artist collective Sakai International Community Arts (SICA). With the support of Japan Foundation, Manila, SICA brings together Japanese Theatre Group GUMBO, Hiroki Okido of Fream Theatre, dancer-actress Akane Nakanishi, and Filipino artist Adam Red for the collaborative play Tearoom on the Border, a new take on Cha no Yu or the Japanese Tea Ceremony.
Set in a tearoom, three different stories will be unfolded, exploring the concept of ‘border’. The life and death, past and present, body and soul, men and women, the young and the elderly, peace and war, love and hate. It is a mixture of random Japanese and Filipino elements, drama and comedy, the old and the new: Kabuki, Noh, and Contemporary theater.
As part of Fringe Hangover, Tearoom on the Border is a product of international relations and cultural exchange, a combination of contemporary theater and traditional arts from Japan and Philippines.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Sakai International Community Arts
堺国際市民劇団 Sakai International Community Arts was established on 2019 in Osaka, Japan. It is an organization intended for international creative and cultural exchange, and foster an art-loving culture in the region. It brings together creatives from different walks of life, both professionals and amateurs from different age groups. They have already staged plays based on regional history that featured contemporary artists and musicians. They debuted with “Gensou Yamatotakeru” (Fantasy of Yamatotakeru), and it was performed at the Otori Shrine in Osaka. Their vision is to have a diverse and artistic society for children 100 years from now.
Theatre Group Gumbo
GUMBO means “jumble” in African language. It was named for an intention to make drama with a strange power that overflows from the inside. GUMBO’s work is frantic, high energy, grotesque and full of black humor. They bewilder audiences with their absurd yet poignant form of comedy, revealing the inconsistent and ridiculous aspects of our behavior. Through aggressive direction, they expose the lies and truth of contemporary living, tempered only by laughing which hovers disturbingly between the ecstatic and the hysterical.
The theater group was established by Director Kayo Tamura in 1994, and has since received many awards. Initially, GUMBO began performing at live music clubs in Osaka and Tokyo, playing up to 100 venues each year. They began touring internationally in 1997, and has already performed in different cities like Edinburgh, New York, Orlando, San Diego, Edmonton, Hong Kong, Singapore, Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, Natimuk, Mildura, Darwin, Launceston, and Manila.
GUMBO has received several international awards. Among them are Edinburgh FRINGE Festival’s “Spirit of FRINGE” award in 1998, Melbourne FRINGE Festival “Special Commendation” award in 2003, Australia’s “Green Room Award” in 2013, Hong Kong FRINGE Club’s “Honorary Membership” in 2015. They also won awards in successive years at the San Diego International FRINGE Festival with “Outstanding Comedy” and “FRINGE of the FRINGE” in 2016; “Artists’ Pick” Award in 2017; and “Outstanding Comedy” in 2016 and 2017. It is also worth mentioning that they received the “Tech Choice Award” at the Tampa International FRINGE Festival in 2018. Director Kayo Tamura also received an award for her direction of the group with the “Emerging Artist Prize” in 2003.
GUMBO has participated annually in FRINGE Manila since 2018, and now partnered with Sakai International Community Arts for “Tearoom on the Border”.
Hiroki began his career in theater after graduating high school in 2012. He focuses on absurd and underground plays. He then met Reyzaw Chaki and learned Tate, a kind of Japanese sword fight performing arts. Hiroki was mentored by Reyzaw and started doing action scenes. Eventually he became a Tate instructor, and he still teaches up to this date.
On November 2018, he launched his own theater company, "FREAM!", and did one-man acts. He has already participated in international stage plays like the Asian Youth Theater Festival (AYTF) in Singapore on 2018, as well as AYTF Malaysia on 2019. He also performed with Sakai International Community Arts when it was founded on 2019 in the play entitled “Gensou Yamatotakeru” (Fantasy of Yamatotakeru), along with GUMBO and other individual artists. On May 2020, he will fly to USA for the Orlando International FRINGE, the largest theater festival in North America.
He recently did a lead role for “Smog” which was staged in Osaka by Sakai International. And now for FRINGE Manila 2020, “Tearoom on the Border” is his first Philippine performance.
Born and raised in a very small village in Hyochi Japan, Akane is a professional dancer and actress. She specializes in jazz, hip hop street dance, and joins flash mobs. Akane learned street dance when she was nine years old. She was the type of child who could not express herself really well. Her mother gave her happiness called “dance” when she was made to go to a small dance school.
As a prolific young performer, she received her first international recognition when she championed in Miss Dance Drill Team USA, a world dance tournament when she was 16. Eventually, she began her career in theater at the age of 19, and now teaches kids the art of movement.
Akane’s first performance with Sakai International Community Arts is the musical entitled “Ongaku no Minato” (Port of Music) on 2019, a narrative of Sakai City history. Recently, she was on the cast of “Smog” which was staged by Sakai International in Osaka. She had her first overseas theater act at the Asian Youth Theater Festival in Malaysia on November 2019.
And now FRINGE Manila 2020, “Tearoom on the Border” is her first Philippine performance.
Adam Red is an interdisciplinary artist who grew up in Cavite and Manila. He has been exhibiting his works at reputable art spaces and events since 2016. He is also the founder and creative director of INDIO, an indie visual arts merchandising brand that tells stories about Filipino indigenous and folk cultures.
Growing up with the contrast of provincial and city lives, he finds deep interest in history. His exposure to traditional art led him to mix Philippine motifs into his works, establishing an identity in an ever-globalizing world. His art reflects society as a work-in-progress: flawed, unfinished, and chaotic. Rather than denying these imperfections, his works explode with rips, drips, cracks, and shatters in celebration.
He recently had his first international collaboration in the play entitled, “Smog”, by Theatre Group GUMBO, made possible by Sakai International Community Arts on January 2020 in Osaka. His visuals were used in the play and he also did a solo art exhibition. He was immersed in Japanese culture and introduced to the art of Noh, Kabuki, tea ceremony, and other old customs and beliefs.
While Adam is mostly known as a painter, he is currently expanding to performing arts. He met GUMBO at FRINGE Manila 2018, and now they have teamed up with Sakai International for the play entitled, “Tearoom on the Border”. This is his first theater performance, a mixture of music, dance, acting, and visual art.
Tearoom on the Border opens on March 14 at 8PM at Pineapple Lab and will have two more showings on March 15 at 3PM and 8PM. Tickets are Php 600 and Php 480 (for seniors, PWD, and students). For ticket inquiries, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2020 Fringe Festival is made possible through the support of their festival partners: Draper Startup House, Don Papa Rum, Pineapple Lab, Angkas, the Be App, Barangay Poblacion, the City of Makati, and the generous support of Mark Kooijman. Tearoom on the Border is made possible by FringeMNL, The Japan Foundation, Pineapple Lab, and Reset.
This year’s cultural partners are British Council, Japan Foundation, Lopez Museum and Library, and Yuchengco Museum. Fringe Manila also partners with the Be app as the official App Partner for the online festival listings. For more information on the Be app check out http://thebeapp.com or download it for free at http://bit.ly/YourPlanBe
For details and updates, like them on Facebook at facebook.com/FringeMNL or follow on Twitter and Instagram at @fringemnl or visit fringemanila.com.