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The World Day of Theatre for Young Audiences

Ta med et barn i teateret!

Den 20. mars markeres hvert år som den internasjonale barneteaterdagen under paraplyen «Take a child to the theatre». I år står hele verden i en ekstraordinær situasjon. Du kan ikke ta med et barn til teateret fredag 20. mars. Assitej Norge oppfordrer alle sine medlemmer til å utforske hvordan de kan formidle scenekunst for et ungt publikum gjennom digitale plattformer, og vi oppfordrer alle dere som har barn om å bruke de digitale formidlingstilbudene som allerede finnes – og vil komme i tiden framover!

Assitej er et verdensomspennende nettverk som arbeider for å fremme scenekunst for et ungt publikum. Assitejs største styrke er nettverkets evne til å dele kunnskap og praksis på tvers av landegrenser og kulturer. Hvert år deler Assitej en melding fra en som har stor betydning for teater for et ungt publikum – som ønsker å dele av sin kunnskap. I år er det japanske Yoshi Oida som har skrevet meldingen.

“Since I was born, I grew up mimicking my parents all the time. How to walk, how to eat, and how to talk; I learned all of these from mimicking my parents. Then from when I became old enough to understand things, taken by parents, I learned to go to the theatre. Theatre was for me, the magic country. The first thing you saw when you entered the theatre was a dropped curtain. I remember that I waited for the curtain to rise with a huge expectation wondering what was behind that dropped curtain. When the curtain finally opened, there was a dream world created by a stage set, lighting, and costumes. Sometimes, it was something created just like in the real world, and at other times, it was a landscape impossible in the real world. There were performers in various disguises crying, laughing, singing, and dancing. And during the interval, we were able to hear sounds of banging and clattering. If it was a small theatre, and I was sitting in the front row, I was able to pull up the curtain to peek inside. Surprisingly enough, a scene was being changed in an instant by a big stage set which was turned around and pulled backwards. Then, afterwards at home, I would mimic the actor. My favorite was a samurai role. I drew on manly eyebrows, made a wig, and played swordfights with my friends using bamboo swords. By the time I was a 7th grader, I started making scale models of a stage set; a revolving stage, a stage set with lights made of miniature light bulbs…. And of course, I attempted scene changes with it.

Having escalated from these experiences, eventually I entered a professional theatre company. But at that time, there was no school for contemporary theatre. I went to a master of conventional theatre and learned theatre techniques conventionally handed down. To learn the conventional theatre means to mimic everything that the master does and to make an effort to be exactly like the master. Then one day, I unexpectedly earned a chance to do a work under Peter Brook. The first lesson I had with him was in improvisation, which I had never experienced. Even though I was told to do improvisation, I had no idea what to do, so I started making movements combining all the conventional ones that I had learned in Japan. But one day, Brook gave me a note saying, “Don’t mimic the Japanese conventional theatre”. Struck by his note, I felt as if I had been thrown alone into the great ocean. I had nothing to depend on and was like a wrecked ship simply drifting here and there. But this was the moment when I started to think about creating for the first time. I realised that my work was not simply to reproduce what existed in the past in the way the conventional theatre does, but to create my own expressions. And to create is not to create something from nothing as God does, but to mimic what has previously existed and go beyond it. Van Gogh was influenced by Ukiyoe, Picasso created his own paintings inspired by African arts, and Miro got suggestions from the Chinese characters; all has been developed from what has already existed.

The path I have taken is probably the same. My life was to mimic whatever I saw and heard in theatre and then to make efforts to go beyond that. And this experience has led me to find a way of living, passing through and beyond theatre.”

Yoshi Oida

Actor, Director, and Writer. Born in Hyogo Prefecture in 1933. He currently resides in Paris, France. He started his career as an actor at Bungakuza and at Shiki Theatre Company. Since 1970 he worked with Peter Brook at CIRT (International Centre for Theatre Research). He has acted in Mahabarhata, Tempest, and The Man Who, directed by Peter Brook, Shunkin, directed by Simon McBurney and many more. He has also directed a number of plays and operas. The book “An Actor Adrift” which he wrote published in 1989 has been translated into 17 languages and treated as “actor’s bible” in all over the world. He has received the following honors from the French Government; Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France (1992), Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France (2007), and Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres, France (2013).

Presidenten i Assitej, Yvette Hardy, har også skrevet en melding. Hun skriver blant annet: «In this age where more and more people are being shunned, turned away at borders and airports, rejected because they come from a different class, ethnicity, language group or religion, it is the artist who has the capacity to provide a sense of belonging, of connection. And every child needs that» Les hele meldingen fra presidenten her.