16-17 October - Tusk Theatre – Kaikin
The title ‘Kaikin’ means ‘lifting of the ban’. Between the 17th and 19th century, Japan was closed to foreigners, and Japanese citizens weren’t allowed to leave Japan. According to the ruling Shoguns at the time, this was done to further peace in a country that used to be wartorn; this ban was lifted in the Meiji Era, which in turn meant the end of the days for Shogun, Daimyo and Samurai.
The only westerners during the time of ‘Sakoku’ (‘closed country’) who were allowed to trade with the Japanese were the Dutch, and they were positioned on a small island, Dejima, near Nagasaki. The Japanese authorities kept a close check on them and rules were strict.
When a new head of the Dutch trading company (VOC) arrived on Dejima with his wife, this was seen as a breach of rules, and the wife was sent back. This real-life story (Titia Bergsma’s story) has been reworked to show a woman arriving in Japan and trying to persuade the Daimyo to let her stay with her husband.
It’s not only her story that develops during the play – the 5 Japanese characters are affected in different ways and some try to use the plight of Eva, the Dutch woman, to further their own causes.
What follows is a journey that takes the audience to witness the realisation of our own life when changes are brought about through the mere presence of a newcomer. It makes us think where we belong, where our loyalties lie, whether we need to change our minds – and who is going to comfort us when we make mistakes. Is it the search for love that drives us through every decision we take or do we need to obey and do as we’re told by those ‘above’ us, who could possible be governed by the search for love as well?
Presently, the world is full of people who need to cross their borders and their boundaries to look for not just love, but a safe life. The fear that comes with encountering the new, the unexpected, the hostile, the warmth, the dreams and the nightmares, will be with these migrants forever – but with a ‘global world’ most of us move around and expect to find truths and love when we cross borders. How we are received at our point of destination shapes our experience, and those receiving us are equally shaped by their experiences. Where do we belong – and who can hold us back if we want to explore that idea?
‘Kaikin’ is structured in a loose format, giving space to the telling of a folktale, the introduction of mythical creatures and a thoroughly modern love scene.
‘Kaikin’ is written and directed by Ellis van Maarseveen, and has been translated into Japanese by Junro Shibata.
Please note that tickets for this event will not be for sale until the new cultural season of Theatre Ins Blaue is online.