When in Rome one might expect people to speak Italian or possibly Latin. Here in Berlin, I didn’t necessarility expect to be sitting in the theatre in Tachales watching Titus Andronicus performed in Japanese. Why am I here? I just followed Davi. She has a nose for these things and an infectious enthusiasm.
There are German surtitles but my German isn’t much better than my Japanese so mostly I am ignoring them. I might have had a better chance if knew Titus Andronicus a little better.. all I really knew is that it’s about a bunch of bloody Romans being rather mean to each other and doing some cooking. So I gave up trying to understand in about the first 30 seconds. Happily the modern kabuki-inspired production which contributes to the second by second incomprehensibility, adds to the entertainment. The very clear physical style of the performance telegraphs the story as I understood it in broad terms but still leaves me lost as to what they might be saying to each other to as they moan, maim and prepare dinner. Therefore I don’t need to understand it word by word.
It is not in my nature to invent an alternate script that might fit. I have on occasion translated Hedningarna’s song about trolls quite well (once i knew it was about trolls) but that was for the benefit of people who knew even less Finnish and Lapp dialect that i did (and so wouldn’t be any the wiser) Here without an audience i can whisper my witticisms to, I can see through my own theatricality and so I am not inclined to entertain myself in the same way. Instead my thoughts are random:
- Crazy trousers
- As Titus Andronicus talks his jaw wobbles sideways.. is that deliberate?
- I wonder what the fridge is for
- that word sounded like ‘Sony’
- remember to read the play soon, so you can figure out who the Edward Scissorhands guy is supposed to be. and the others too i suppose.. but mostly him
- they move unusually, why can’t we do more of that?
- Is the blue significant? [Yes- it is the traditional colour of villians in kabuki]
- Is it significant that all the blue items are the same hue and the hue of onemonkey.org at that?
- They all seem to be dripping with sweat, except Eddie in the leathers.
- Ah, so the fridge is for keeping severed heads
- I wonder what is in the freezer compartment?
- I think I can now guess what the microwave is for
- Oh look ‘hand’ is the same in German
- She’s hot
- The head of that blue plasticine baby is out of proportion
- Poor Titus Andronicus is suffering.. he has a cold and has the longest trail of snot extending as he’s in the middle of a climatic speech.
- is he going to wipe it?
- Ed’s sweating too now. it is seeping through his gloves and dripping from his finger tips.
- Aha! the blue baby is in the freezer. (Clearly, it is a different blue baby.. as we didn’t see the plasticine pin head put in there.. but such is the magic of theatre)
Thanks to Davi for taking me along to something i’d never have thought of attending myself.