――The first studio ‘ GEKISHA NINAGAWA STUDIO’ is set by calling young actors who played ‘TANGO AT THE END OF WINTER’(Premiere production in ’84), isn’t it? ‘TANGO AT THE END OF WINTER’ is now performed after 2o years long.
There used to become many young actors who wish to learn theatre around myself. The start was a class for them using the rent space in Kichijoji, then Idabashi, Jinbocho…. It moved a round.
The rehearsal for ‘TANGO AT THE END OF THE WINTER’ was done in the rehearsal room of BENISAN, at that time. The BENISAN PIT was not there, then. But WATARI YUKIZO, the president of BENISAN came to see the rehearsal. He often came to see us, and used to give me cracked ice or some ricolece when I got angry. (smile) Then he told ‘You are the real one, so I would like to support you’ to me. He set the space for the office and the rehearsal room for me on the top of the building. It used to be like a common room for the lady employee. He reformed its place getting out the tatami mat and bath room. He rent the space with a very low price without deposit or caution money. There, the activity of GEKISHA NINAGAWA STUDIO has started. Then BENISAN PIT was born. We used the Pit from the very first moment. (The first performance of GEKISHA NINAGAWA STUDIO was performed in BENISAN PIT). I do not remember how we call the company member now….
I remember having called some actors who were good in TANGO AT THE END OF THE WINTER. I think that I auditioned the rest.
――The young actors who came together were new comrades for Ninagawa?
I do not use the word comrades. Since my company SAKURASHA was disbanded(’74), I have started to work mainly in the commercial theatre. But I hoped to have the body to do the studio theatre − I mean, the experimental theatre as is in the ’60-70s- with the young actors in some where , some times.
――Is it better to have the body , not one person calling the people if need be?
The place is needed for the unknown young men to see the light of day. I also want to have the place for myself to do experimental work setting myself free from the work outside which had some sort of limitation for me. In fact, we acted on our own responsibility, not taking account of the financial efficiency or the star system. There was no ticket quota.
We allot the profit when we get one.
Immediate- democracy. (laugh) It was radical experimental place. There once the time when the acting area was the one-fourth of the theatre, the auditorium was the one-fourth of the theatre. We do not think at profit. We used to experiment towards future. The direction letting the actors coming up from the trap (‘Walukule’’06 Bunkamura) was firstly done in the studio.
――Many young people were brought up from there.
Actors like KATSUMURA MASANOBU, MATSUSHIGE YUTAKA, Directors like SUZUKI YUKI were born. Staffs like HARADA TAMOTSU, INOUE MASAHIRO, NAKAGOSHI TSUKASA, INOUE TAKAAKI, AKSASHI SHINNICHI.
I did experiment and create frantically with them. Harada said that he would not let anyone do the studio performance even when his job is too busy. He said that he would not let the place for experiment go. ‘If you want the place for it , create your own company.’(laugh) That is how the young people has grown up, and I believe my judgement was not warped.
――Now your technical staffs are in their prime, the combination with Ninagawa seems to be very fine.
They could lead the work without trifle meetings. They do not separate each other as set is set or light is light. All the creativity from the staff are woven together in to one theatre. You cannot see even if you have good set without good light.
All entwine each other and rolling up to it. As we do it, all of us feel wanting to another place.
――The name of the studio have changed in every few years like GEKISHA NINAGAWA STUDIO or NINAGAWA COMPANY or NIANGAWA STUDIO.
Is there any reason for it?
When we start not sharing the experimental spirit or other things, when we feel the atmosphere that people hold a post and become stabilized as if they are in employment, we disband ourselves and bring the fresh air. There are the times when we disband someone out, that is from asking them what to choose. For example , if you got the other job when you have Ninagawa’s project, which would you choose. If you choose other job, you would not have the meaning to be here. I do not say that you have to choose my project. Human-beings will make the judgement on your choice every single second, that is the way to live for .
The choice you made determined yourself. But I do think that you should see the light of day whenever you get bigger chance. You often have the times of crrosroad when you choose something in front of you. Though it is better to have both….