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Goma no Hae
Born: 1977
Function: stage director playwright actor
Company: Knit Cap Theater

Goma no Hae (real name Taga Koji) was born in Hirakata, Osaka. He first got involved in theater as a student at Bukkyo University, as part of the university's Murasaki troupe. In 1999 he founded Knit Cap Theater, which stages performances throughout the Kansai area from their base in Kyoto. With his fast-moving plays replete with incisive dialogue, lively gags, and lyrical episodes, he is one of the most promising young writers on the Kansai theater scene. He has won several awards, including the 11th OMS Drama Award for Ai no teru (The Tail of Love) in 2004, and in 2005 the Special Prize of the 12th OMS Drama Award for Hirakata noto (Hirakata Notes). In 2007 he directed a Japan-Britain drama exchange project with the play Suteki na abataa~kurikku hitotsu de kimochi wa tsunagaru? (Gorgeous Avatar) by Jules Horne, translated by Tanioka Takehiko and staged at the Ai Hall in Itami. Also in 2007 he staged his first performance abroad with the Shanghai production of Otoko moja no nakinuru tokoro (Where the Dead Men Cry For) to popular acclaim.

Photo: Itabashi Baranosuke
Ai no teru (The Tail of Love)
A woman whose face was disfigured in a traffic accident is asked by the man she lives with to marry him. Believing that he has asked her out of pity, not love, the woman becomes depressed and, covering her scar with tape, secludes herself in her room. She talks to a friend about how she imagines her mother must have been as a young woman, and begins to consider what love is. It is an outlandish tale of a land of eternal night in which mothers reign over men… This work combines elements of both literature and entertainment in evoking the theme of “recuperation,” with the destruction of the innermost self and its consequent purification and rebirth portrayed through a mix of song and dance.

First staged: 2003
Acts/scenes: 1 act
Cast: 14 (7 male, 7 female) + several male extras (N.B. If actors double up roles, it is possible to stage with a minimum cast of 6 [3 male, 3 female])
First staged by: Knit Cap Theater

Photo: Hirano Ai
Hirakata noto (Hirakata Notes)
This play features three broad scenarios: the life of a young man from the time he lost his sweetheart in high school until he turns twenty; the appearance of his sweetheart who continues walking for a hundred meters despite having been hit and killed by a truck; and a revelatory scene of what is going on between an elderly man called Itokuzu and a young girl called Sakana. Within the interplay of these three episodes coming and going freely in time and space, we gradually get an impression of the vast housing complex in the Hirakata area of Osaka—and, by extension, the atmosphere of contemporary Japan and the vague sense of emptiness of the people who live there.

First staged: 2004
Acts/scenes: 1 act
Cast: 8 (5 male, 3 female) + several chorus members
First staged by: Knit Cap Theater