29th December in 2006. It was the last rehearsal of the year.
I asked Ninagawa. ‘ What was 2006 for you?’
‘ Summarize this year…. I am still running…, aren’t  I.’

There was a pause then he said. ‘TO BE STRRUGLING. I will be getting more chaotic!’ Ninagawa might have no period of a year. He used to tell me ‘ Look at my productions not in piece but  in total annually.’ ‘ The productions would be consisted  from the net of people’s feelings.’ Each production , each year will becoming the stream of the river. His theatre and his life itself could  be a big river like Nile.

‘When we bring the productions in the abroad, we only pass by the country saying ‘ We are doing this, would you like to have a look?’’ The actor YO TAKAHASHI once described that the rehearsal of Ninagawa is ‘Jumping in the dashing stream’. Ninagawa’s river would take past, now, incidents, culture, countries, people and dashing ahead like a river after the storm.



Quoted from n


[Quoted from the interview 1 in the beginning of 2006]

In January 2007, Ninagawa ran between two rehearsal rooms.

One is for CORIOLANUS and the other is for LARK. The rehearsal for CORIOLANUS started from 11:00.  Lark started from 16:00.

Ninagawa in 70’s used to be able to rent the rehearsal room by three hours, he once said that he was so delighted to have his own rehearsal studio in BENISAN PIT. I told him ‘ It is good situation now to have two rehearsal room in one time.’ He smiled shyly ‘ Do not tell me, I feel ashamed.’

‘ I once bumped into KIMURA KOICHI the director doing two rehearsals in a day,  I insulted him as ‘ TOO MUCH WORK’. Now I am doing it. Thinking of it, I feel ashamed. I told myself to rehearse CORIOLAANUS, LARK, LOVE’S LABOUR LOST with all my spirit so that I would not be a covetous old man.’

[Quated from the interview of 2007]

A New year has come. I went to have the interview with Ninagawa for the program of CORIOLANUS. The place was in the artistic director’s room. It was clean and vacant like a room of new built flat. Ninagawa sat along the sofa which would not have had many people on. In the meantime,Ninagawa looked unsettled. ‘ I  would rather like to have the interview in the rehearsal room. It is not only from my taste but that I like to live together in there. It is ideal to start the rehearsal naturally like wakening up in the morning. It is not like ‘Now we start!’.
It could be the time that the children starts to spend in the nursery school.’ ‘ How different from the home?’ ‘ A home would be different. The life in the rehearsal room is different from the one at home. It is work but where there is other different life, where there become something because we are there, where there becomes the idea, where so many things were yarn. How can I describe? Can you think of something? (smile)
Your home is the place to be calm. Last night, I read  Bakhtinienne and watched ‘8  1/2’. It was for myself to direct here. They are not connected directly but I wanted to enrich my image of Italy and Shakespeare. While I read the script of LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST or read the book written by Matsumoto Toshio( film artist). I put my sense in order.’

Following day, Ninagawa came to the rehearsal room an hour before the rehearsal and have some conversations with the company. He lead them ‘ Shall we?’.

In the rehearsal room for CORIOLANUS, Act 4 scene 3 where the Romans passed by Volscians in the street and they exchange their news each other has sarted.
Nicanor, Yutaka Suzuki appeared in the scene with crutches from DSR.
Volscians Makoto Tamura appeared from DSL. Volscians with the sword in his hand watched out for Romans who told himself as Volscians’ side.  There became the tension between them. Yutaka and Makoto had discussed over this scene  before the rehearsal. Yutaka hinted the reason that Volscians could not see him as his side instantly by disguising  with crutches. When Yutaka throw the crutches out and reveal himself to Volcians, Ninagawa smiled. ‘Yes!’ After the scene, he said aloud ‘ Brilliant! If this scene is boring, I was ready to cut it. But I leave it on.’

‘A opened! B opened! C opened!’ The calm but strong voice of Sonsho Inoue, assistant director, is conveyed. They experimented the idea from Kabuki that the slide door opened out to change the scene. Although the set is for the rehearsal, the timing is important. All the staffs are trying so hard as actors are. The crews in black are working solemnly together.
I said to Ninagawa ‘ I like this moment.’ Ninagawa laughs pleasantly, ‘They are good, aren’t they.’

‘I like to entertain from the richness of story, acting, the figure of actors. I like to entertain from the vulgar things to noble idea and all. It is like entertaining a market.
‘Market is in the sense of Department sotre?
‘No, no.’
‘Market in the street?’
‘Yes. Opened market. I do not like to have mere essence. It is important for me whether the production would survive within people who earn their living in their daily life. I would like to learn philosophy from it. I ask myself and the actors whether we could get it or not.’

‘ I am the people who loves to learn, as it were. (laugh) I am not an elite. I am nothing but an upstart. I wonder whether upstart is the right word. I only tried hard. I was the one of the crowd who were shut himself in the stairs. From young actors’ eye, I am only an old man but I like to insist that I used to be the same. That is why I kept saying ‘Do not be buried in the life’. Do they understand…?’

Then there is the voice of Ninagwa as usual as if he puts the light on in his room at his home. ‘Shall we?’.



Transator:Naoko Okouchi