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MATSUDA Masataka
Born: 1962
Function: stage director playwright
Company: Marebito no Kai

Born in Nagasaki Prefecture, Matsuda became involved in theater while a student at Kyoto's Ritsumeikan University. In 1990 he formed the Jiku Gekijo troupe in Kyoto, and wrote and directed all of its productions until it disbanded in 1997. Matsuda's early plays are set in his native Nagasaki and use the local vernacular. With his everyday settings and unaffected dialogue he brilliantly depicts the unconscious fetters of life and human endeavor. He has won many prizes, including the 1996 Kishida Drama Award for Umi to higasa (Sea and Sunshade). This play was performed in 2003 with an all-Korean cast and director, and became the first Japanese drama to win the Korean prize, East Asia Daily News Theater Award. In 2004, Matsuda established Marebito no Kai in Kyoto and resumed his activities as a director. He is now creating plays on the themes of religion and war, national history and collective memory, and has abandoned clear storylines in favor of using an unfamiliar stage world to illuminate aspects of contemporary reality. In 2007, Cryptograph was performed in Cairo, Beijing, and Shanghai.

Photo: Hirano Ai (Mar 2003 at Kyoto Art Center)
Umi to higasa (Sea and Sunshade)
Saeki Yoji and his frail wife Naoko live in a small town on the banks of a river in Kyushu. Yoji is an unsuccessful author. One summer day, out of concern for Naoko, Yoji goes to retrieve a parasol she has left behind. While he is out, Mr. Setoyama the landlord and his wife drop by and during their visit Naoko collapses. Her illness is serious and she is unable to get out of bed. Close friends look after the couple as the days pass calmly for the two of them. One day, during a respite in Naoko’s condition, they decide to go on an outing to the seaside, but then Yoji’s former editor Ms. Tada, who harbors special feelings for him, turns up…

First staged: 1994
Acts/scenes: 1 act, 6 scenes
Cast: 8 (4 male, 4 female)
First staged by: Jiku Gekijo

Photo: Hashimoto Yusuke (Sep 2007 at Cairo)
Kuriputogurafu (Cryptograph)
The setting is at an ancient ruin over which tower two stone pillars. Four prostitutes attempting to seduce a male traveler begin stripping off their clothes. Two more men appear and stab the first man to death. While the women remove the clothing from the body, they yell out the lines from a cell-phone sex ad. The murder appears to be a rite of passage, for the characters now start to testify and report about imaginary cities: the city of departed souls and the city of the atomic bomb, a voiceprint city and a windblown desertcity, a city of photographs, a city of secrets—the memories accumulate into a code that defies decryption and connect to the memories of the other cities.

First staged: 2007
Acts/scenes: 1 act
Cast: 7 (3 male, 4 female)
First staged by: Marebito no Kai