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Member of NINAGAWA STUDIO
STAFF

Member of NINAGAWA STUDIO
ACTOR

 

TAMOTSU HARADA

 

The record of lighting
TAMOTSU HARADA 2005→2006

On the process of the opening this site, I have asked Harada if I could use the file of previous interview for Theatre cocoon program in May 2005. Harada Tamotsu said clearly ‘ I have done many works since then, I cannot receive for you to have the previous interview.’ Then he added. ‘ You do not have any limitation of the number of words, don’t you?’ There, I found his pride of his own work and the severe attitude towards others’ work and also found the delicacy to let others to touch. Thi time, I have interviewed with him about his works since the last interview until ORESTES.

[Profile]

Had been worked for YOSHI SUMIO, SAWADA YUJI since 1971. Started to work as a lighting designer since ’84. Works for theatre, opera, musical, concert in various stage. Works with NINAGAWA as MORDERN NO PLAYS, NINAGAWA TWELFTH NIGHT SHAKESPERE IN TENPO 12th, COMEDY OF ERRORS, TITUS ANDRONICUS, FORPITY’S SAKE SHE’S A WHORE, TANGO AT THE END OF WINTER, with MIYAMOTO AMON as CANDID, with INOUE HIDENORI as SHIROH, YOSHIWARA PERMISSION, METAL MACBETH, with KERARINO SANDROVICH as SLAPSTICS CAMEREON’S RIP, WORKMAN M with KATO CHOKU as OPERA MOMO, A BAT, with SUZUKI KASUHIDE as LAST FIVE YEARS, with SUZUKI YUMI FROG AND TOTO and so on.

Detail will follow in the site of CAT.

 


THint

 

 

The interview for the program MEDEA covers from HARADA'S first experience of NINAGAWA into his works KITCHEN. Since then, his works with Ninagawa have carried on MEDEA, NINAGAWA TWELFTH NIGHT, SHAKESEPEARE IN TENPO 12th, COMEDY OF ERROS, TITUS ANDRONICUS, DIE WALCURE, FOR PITY'S SAKE SHE’S A WHORE, ORESTES, TANGO AT THE END OF WINTER…. (There became quite a lot of works with the other director, too.) It is natural for him not to be satisfied with taking out the previous interview for this project.
I tried to be careful with plotting the lighting image for MEDEA. For example, there is a scene that a nurse start her lines in the beginning of the play at the front stage. There is no water in front of her at the auditorium, I tried her face reflecting the water wave so that she would be looked like standing in the water. All of the stage is water in MEDEA. You would think that it is natural for her to have water reflection since all the around have reflection. But in fact there were true reflection and the fake reflection in that stage. Unfortunately, nobody pointed out about it.

I asked where HARADA placed the lighting instrument for it. He answered, ‘The ideas of lighting and the instruments of the lighting are industrial secret.’ ,and smiled.

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[Light on the unnamed being.]

 

The stage reflecting the water wave on the wall was visionary and beautiful. In MEDEA there were lotus in the water lighted were looked sparkling the light of life.
It is natural for Ninagawa and myself to have spot-lights for each lotus. When we did ‘The dropped fruit’ (95’ Bunkamura), we had spot-lights for 30 every apples. In ‘Romeo and Juliet’(’04 Horipro), the upstage was covered with the portraits of the young men. I also cared for their eyes to have been lit. If there is anything that have a metaphor in the direction sense, I would let them being lit and let them being stand out. If you are in the film work, the shooting and edition would perform it, but if you are in the stage work, the lighting would perform it. To give the shape to adirection − that what it is.

You would see the crowd often in Ninagawa’s production and it often means the reflection of the audience and times. With Harada’s lighting, the life would be born within the anonymous majority. He might have received Ninagwa’s will.
It is easy to say for each things being lit. But to do it is a delicate work. It is also taking time technically.
There were red ropes hanged all over the stage for ‘For pity’s sake she’s a whore.’ You would need the spot right in front of the rope for them to be lit. I troubled Ito Akiyoshi from Kanai construction so that he made the special bar for the lighting instrument for the rope. It would have been much better if you could lit them from the floor since you would feel the floor bright when you have the lighting from the top. The idea was not practical.

To have those red ropes to be lit clearly, the angle of the spot is crucial. Lighting design needs the exact choice of the instruments, and the angle. The rain in ‘Orestes’ (’06 Horipro) is the fruit of those experiments. The idea is the same as the rope in ‘For Pity’s sake’, the angle of them is opposite from it. The clear water would not allow them to have their shape strong so easily. But Harada made them stronger and sharper  like thousand arrows.
It is important for us what to do with the scene without rain, not only with the rain. I paid attention to lit bright white on the wall. Since we have strong lighting for the rain, you would not see natural if those lighting state has changed in to dark when the rain is out. It is not real. I considered carefully so that the lighting state for the wall become up once the rain is out. The idea is the sunshine lit the wall.
He struggled with the lighting for the wall.

The point for this stage design is the modern style like the architecture of Ando Tadao. I wanted to take that nuance from that. If you give the lighting straight forward, you would not feel that nuance from it. You have to choose the exact lighting instruments and the exact angle for going along with the idea.

 

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[To lit the plan of the direction]

 

The idea of Ando Tadao came from Ninagawa. Harada tried to take out the most of director’s plan.
‘What colour could you see the cross on the door of the palace for the ORESTES?’ He asked question to me.
‘Yellow. I wondered why it was yellow.’

‘You would see the tape for the OFF LIMITS of the spot for the murder. That is yellow and black, isn’t it. (The story starts from Orestes having murdered his own mother.)’


ORESTES tells never ending chain of revenge through its play. The ending of ORESTES had the scene with thousands of the handbills of national anthems and flags for several countries suffered from the riots, thrown from the top of the audience. The direction made the audience to see present on the top of the ancient Greeks at the last scene. You would see the play was linked with present from the beginning through lighting.
The stage design was quite modern so that the director might have created this production as a story of our time from first. I only followed their concept to lit that cross mark yellow.


Harada gave us a trick to make Ninagawa’s concept ‘WHITE’ at most in TITUS AND ANDRONICUS.
When Director requested the plastered white to the stage design as its image, I considered what to do to make that colour at most. Since there have been the direction of play within a play in the beginning, you would get bored if you see that plaster white from then. You have to have different white form the play witin a play. While they were standing by, I lit the line of the graph, so that the stage would have the texture of paper. It is the image of an artificial product. Then with the cue to start, the plaster white would be coming out.


Ninagawa tried to show their feeling of shame by adding the direction of ‘artificial product’. The line of graph and texture of paper would give us the impression of ‘ artificial product’ itself.

That cue is my favourite. The audience would see the stage as white vaguely, but the stage would become bright white in instance. You would go ‘OH!’ I feel ‘Serve him right!……! He smiled.

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[Direction, Stage design, Lighting fade each other.]

 

Some people would say that the art of graph paper could apply the field of the stage design. You cannot define the line between the direction, stage design and the lighting design even when you are looking at the shadows of the trees in the woods on stage. That might call universal art.
In SHAKESPERE IN TEPO 12th (BUNKAMURA ’04), the stage design was the mimic of the Globe theatre in UK. It had ceiling so that the positions for the lighting instruments were limited.

Since I did not have the ceiling for the choice to rig the instruments, I tried to lit the stage from the back. Tuskasa took care for me so that he asked if we have the hole for the lighting instrument on the ceiling in the meeting. I told him not to worry so that I laid a cangue on myself. (laugh) I asked instead to have a slit on the back wall and side walls to him and I even requested the size of the slit to him.


With the scene with MACBAE and his wife ( the scene quoted form Macbeth and Lady Macbeth), those slit gave the audience the stormy light and encouraged their unsettled atmosphere.
The scene I troubled with was the one of the cellar. The cellar would be basically in a dark. It is unusual to have a slit light. But the gold coins in that scene were crucial. It is hard for the gold coins to stand out without light. I was saved when Ninagawa let actors to have candle light.


Sometimes when he notices something and re-plots the lighting after the dress rehearsal, the other times when Ninagawa changes his plan after the dress rehearsal. After the dress rehearsal of COMEDY OF ERRORS (SAITAMA ARTS THEATRE ’06), Ninagawa changed his plan so that he could break the clean atmosphere and get the obscenity of the play. Harada added the small light bulbs beyond the auditorium.
Since the stage was made by mirror. I thought that it is useless if I could not have any reflection from them. The word of obscenity might make some lighting designer to think of the lighting like a circus with red and yellow. But it would lose the clearness of the actors who play comedy. Something clear but obscene - I ended up the light bulb.


This judge would be born from his long experience with Ninagawa. There are the times when Ninagawa would not take his idea.
The last scene in DIE WALCURE that the boy fly over the sky, I was thinking of blue lighting. Like a blue sky of ‘BLADE RUNNER’. But Ninagawa wanted to have red. Although he fly over the sky after the riots, the earth is still hell, that was his concept. You could find the war all over the place still now.


‘The lighting melts into the play gracefully.’ ’ I said to him. ‘It is not that graceful. There should also be a sense of incongruity.’ He answered. He also said that he used the moving light equipments for NINAGAWA TWELFTH NIGHT against the normal KABUKI lighting but that he could get those technique melted within the blue white lighting of KABUKI ( the lighting to make the stage look flat).
Sometimes lighting melts into the world, the other times it explains the world logically. The first work with Ninagawa as designer for his fashion show was in 83. The activity of Ninagawa Studio (GEKISHA NINAGAWA STUDIO) has started in 84. Harada became one of the member of studio and did experiments, and took back to those experiments to the commercial theatre.
‘There was no guarantee from studio for my lighting, but I would not let anyone have a chance to do these experiments.’


Would he let anyone have the work with Ninagawa as designer?
When I came out with good results, there are the times that I might end with this work. (laugh) But Ninagawa is 71 years old and he keeps running, I have to keep on going. Clint Eastwood is 76 years old. He has such a vitality, doesn’t he?
 
I said that this interview will keep on as new production coming up. He made a troubled face but he did not reject us.


                         (Interviewed in October.)

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