MANILA, Philippines – Japanese director brings one of his greatest theatrical endeavors to Manila.
Hiroshi Koike is the founder of the Hiroshi Koike Bridge Project which aims to bring together Asian Communities through the performing arts. After the Japan tsunami in 2011, Koike realized that it was time for Japan to reconnect with the rest of Asia, and for all Asian nations to rediscover a rich history that we all share.
Koike first founded a performing arts company called Pappa Tarahumara in 1982. One of his most famous productions under the Pappa Tarahumara company is called, “Ship in a View,” a powerful piece inspired by the 1960’s, which was also staged at UCLA in Los Angeles, California. The company is known for combining music, dance, stage lighting, acting, and opera to create the most unique and resonant performances for audiences. All members of the troupe were trained in dance, drama and voice. Koike puts great importance in three theatre elements which are space, time and the human body in order to produce a great blend for a theatrical performance.
However, after 30 years of operating, Koike disbanded Pappa Tarahumara in 2012. Koike felt that he had to create something more relevant and will remain relevant for even thousands of years. The Hiroshi Koike Bridge Project emerged as a fresh start for Koike. The aim is to build cultural linkages and to bridge the gap among humans and places using the performing arts as the main platform.
Koike then created the Pan-Asia Mahabharata project, an international touring production based on the longest epic in the world, the Mahabharata, as a way to connect Asian nations. Though coming from Indian roots, Koike believes that the Mahabharata contains the essence of Asian religious thought, philosophy, law, and many more.
Click here for more details about the show.
With a total of 18 books and 100,000 stanzas in the Mahabharata, Koike sought to create a 90-minute dance piece that would depict the most dramatic and influential stories of human life. The universality of the Mahabharata project also stems from its cast of artists who come from all over Asia. A traditional mask dancer and mask maker from Indonesia, contemporary ballet dancers and traditional performers from Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia all come together in this epic saga.
The Pan-Asia Mahabharata Project divides the extensive length of the Mahabharata into four chapters, and has been touring each chapter of this piece since 2013 starting in Cambodia.
The epic saga was just staged at the PETA Theater Center last December 2 and 3, 2015.
(READ: TFM Review- Mahabharata B-War)
“I auditioned. We were from PETA, 7 of us, and I was the one who passed.”, said Matobaton. “I prepared four monologues, two in Filipino and two in English. And five dances. I’m a contemporary dancer, a folk dancer and a traditional dancer, and also an actor, so it was easy for me to audition for a monologue. For music, English and Filipino songs. I performed two songs. And four samples of martial arts- Aduk Aduk from Indonesia, Brazilian Capoeira, Wushu, and Kuntaw from the Philippines.”
Talk about being well-rounded! He will be heading off to Solo Indonesia with the rest of the group, where they will be rehearsing and performing the next chapter of the epic series.