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From the Utena thread on /u/:
Actually meeting the guy is an experience unto itself. I once went to see him at some weird Tokyo theater play in Golden Gai. The play was some sort of satire of Takarazuka that was created during the 60s by an avant-garde playwright. I went because I thought I read his name on a poster as some sort of guest performer or something... Needless to say, being 14, I didn't tell my parents where I was going off to at 8 pm in the evening. I was in Tokyo for vacation with family, and had been given permission to go walk around Tokyo. I was supposed to stay near Tokyo Disneyland but I never liked disney. I used some cash on me to get to Kabukicho.
I paid 1500 yen to go into this dingy underground bar/play stage. And lo, there he was dressed in a women's corset, frilly skirt (I think it's from Sailormoon?), high boots and carrying a bouquet of roses. He wasn't even in the goddamn play, he was there to watch it and do some sort of running commentary as it performed.
I was the youngest one there, I got a lot of attention because I was not only a young girl but I was dressed Canadian Maritime style. (jeans and flannel plaid shirt with a pink coat that's made for a Canadian autumn not Tokyo autumn, not very fashionable, you could sense the tourist in me). Stood out like a sore thumb. Luckily, being taller than the average Japanese (yeah for being 5'7"!) no one thought to question my age.
I knew he was weird, but actually experiencing his weirdness is another. I failed to get an autograph because of my limited Japanese and the play was apparently some sort of audience participation play thing. I was given a piece paper with words on it, I could only read a few lines but the ones I could read were nonsensical. The rest had kanji I had never seen before but formed words that I knew instinctively were not made for kids because they had a number of kanji elements that had 'evil' or 'atrocious' in it.
In any case, I had been given the part of a fan who was supposed to fawn over the actress who was playing some sort of narcissistic, murderous Takarazuka otokoyaku who was harvesting the 'blood'? Tears? Damned if I know what it was, to attain youth or something like it.
I couldn't understand a damn thing, people stared at me waiting for me to perform. I struggled to explain that I wasn't actually here for the play and could barely speak/read Japanese but to see Ikuhara. But they declared they wouldn't let me off until I participated in the play in a concrete manner... being an idiot, and because I thought it would be entertaining, I ate the paper with my lines as my 'act'. Much to my surprise, they rolled with it goodnaturedly, Ikuhara seemed particularly pleased because he didn't expect some kid from Canada to come to this weirdo play and eat the script.
When was this, and might the playwright have been Shuuji Terayama?
I wish I knew enough Japanese back then to tell you. This was in 1999. I was 14. Apparently, Tokyo has a really vibrant fringe theater scene. Groups form and fold like a cheap whore, some put new performances or get together to do play previous plays they liked but no one has seen in awhile.
What got my attention was the poster. It had an aged looking woman playing the villainess. She had wrinkles and was clearly outside the typical age range of a Takarazuka actress but she was wearing the stereotypical takarazuka sequined suit that otokoyaku played. It was so weird, because I was used to seeing the glitzy and prettied up official posters for Takarazuka plays. The contrast was interesting, and below I could read the katakana for Utena and Ikuhara's name.
I noted the time and location on a pieces of paper very carefully by copying the Japanese kanji characters.
Finding the theatre was a serious pain in the ass. When I asked for directions at convenience stores, they brought out laminated maps the neighbourhood with each building clearly marked with numbers and Japanese kanji characters.
Did you ever try to track the play down? If it wasn't by Terayama, it was almost certainly by someone in his circle. I know Ikuhara's a big fan, to the point of recruiting his old composer to do the songs for Utena.
Anyway, that story's by far the best thing I've ever read on 4chan. Thank you for sharing.
Never did. It was actually a pretty disturbing play. The end was nightmare fuelish. The villainess wore this creepy mask of 'beauty' (wide eyes but reflective black, jagged red lipstick smile) and some sort of song and dance routine played. It sounded like some distorted Takarazuka song but the lyrics were definitely on the emptiness of life and worthlessness of true feelings. Something about praising material goods over love. In any case, I didn't read the title of the play or who made it. And even if I did, I might not have been able to read it. It might have been a new production for all I know.