The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Contents
Data
First Performance: 2004
Performance time:
Acts / Scenes: 1 act
Cast: 8 (5 men, 3 women) + several khoros
Japanese Drama Database
Contact
Play of the Month Play of the Month
2006.5.8
Hirakata Notes   Goma no Hae 
 
The setting is a park in a huge housing development in a downtown section of Osaka called Hirakata.

Atop a leaning steel post is a bell-shaped loudspeaker and on the ground are several drawn circles and rectangles where children must have been playing.
These geometric shapes become symbolic signals in course of the play, which involves three episodes that unfold vertically, horizontally and diagonally in an intertwined plot development where time and space are twisted like a Mebius band and the park transforms freely, at times becoming the rooms of the characters, the fast-food shop where one of them works part-time or some undefined space in the future.

The vertical thread of episode is the human-interest events of the life of a man in his late 20s named Nobuo, who lost his high school sweetheart in a traffic accident. After finishing his high school years like an average student and starting to work part-time at a fast-food restaurant, he begins to face the real emptiness in his heart and his life becomes increasingly reclusive.

The horizontal thread contrasting this is a succession of scenes from the lives of a number of local residents who claim to have seen Nobuo’s sweetheart walking as a corpse over a course of about 100 meters after being hit by a truck and killed instantly on a street in the housing development. A narrator tells the accounts of these witnesses interjected arbitrarily with excerpts from their daily lives.

The third episode involves an old man named Itokuzu and a girl named Sakana and the scenes that occur between them implicit of a world of the near future where humankind is struggling to survive, perhaps in a post-catastrophic environment.

This play is not a drama involving the things that happen to any particular persons, it is about the world of the Hirakata housing development, or in a more universal sense it is about the atmosphere of the Japanese town and something like the vague sense of emptiness we feel among the people who live there.

Profile: Born: 1977
Born in Hirakata, Osaka in 1977, Goma no hae (Koji Taga) is a playwright, director and actor. He began theater activities while a student at Bukkyo Univ. in the university’s “Murasaki” theater. In 1999 he formed the theater company Knitcap Theater and now serves as its representative. He writes plays known for their humorous lines full of the essence of daily life and lyrical episodes that unfold at a fast pace with sharply articulated development. He has attracted attention as a new up-and-coming playwright by winning the Grand Prix of the 11th OMS Drama Awards in 2004 for the work Ai no Tale (Tale of Love) and the Special Prize of the same awards in 2005 for this play, Hirakata Notes.
http://knitcap.jp/
 
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