Research & Development

Tokyo 2017: R&D

Dates: 25th-27th August 2017

Venue: Nakacho House, Tokyo, Japan

The 3-day-long R&D focused on exploring the venue, work-shopping around 30 minutes of music, developing various possibilities for stage direction, and testing how an audience moves through the piece. All participants were actively encouraged to explore their roles and to share their ideas and interpretations. 

The R&D period began with separate sessions for each of the 4 trios: namely the husband, wife, daughter and Kimura trios. These were held at Tokyo University of the Arts, Kita-Senju campus. In these sessions, the creative team and performers discussed the project in depth, experimented with theatrical and movement ideas, and work-shopped the lyrics and music written for the specific trio. All four trios came together at the venue (Nakacho house) for the first time on the final day of R&D. The first half of the day focused on exploring and responding to the layout and acoustics of the house, testing the simultaneous performance aspect of the work, and trialling a section where all character roles came together and performed in one room of the house. After further rehearsal, a test performance was held for an invited audience. This was followed by an open Q&A and feedback session with the composer/director and performers. 

The R&D proved to be invaluable for stimulating discussion on the various directions the project could take, for facilitating team-building and exchange, and for providing a chance for all members to develop their practice through exploring new roles and creative methods. Much of the material trialled through the R&D process was further developed to form the basis of the final work, and the relationships initiated through the R&D became integral to the success of the project.  

Audience feedback

Voyeuristic, exciting, moving

Ambitious, stimulating, very interesting

What is going to happen? There was a great sense of anticipation. It felt mysterious when you overheard the sounds coming from the next room

It felt like I was peering in on something another person isn’t supposed to see


The Husband Trio
The Husband: Takashi Matsudaira (baritone)
Shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute): Rei Jin
Double bass: Yukiko Siina
The Wife Trio
The Wife: Akane Kudo (soprano)
Sho (Japanese mouth organ): Atsumi Kojima
Cello: Yuri Kubota
The Daughter Trio
The Daughter: Yu Igarashi  (mezzo-soprano)
Kotsutsumi and shimedaiko (Japanese percussion): Mikako Ogawa
Violin: Kyouju Hayakawa

Kimura trio
KimuraRikki Metsugi (dancer)
Biwa (Japanese lute): Kumiko Shuto 
Clarinet: Hiroko Miyake 


Composer and director: Francesca Le Lohé
Choreography and dramaturg: Alexandra Rutter (Whole Hog Theatre)

Japanese libretto check: Kazui Yabe

Producer: Naoya Yamashita
Venue director and photography: Takeshi Yoshida

Photography: Kohei Usuda


Art Access ‘Otomachi’

Art Access ‘Otomachi’ manage the venue Nakacho House. Established in 2012 to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the
creation of the Adachi Ward, ‘Otomachi’ produces new art-based
projects which promote communication and engagement with the
people of Adachi ward. ‘Otomachi’ regularly collaborates with the
Tokyo Arts Council and Tokyo University of the Arts. THE鍵KEY operated as a pilot program of Art Access ‘Otomachi’.

Whole Hog Theatre

Whole Hog Theatre is an award-winning UK company and
creative collective for emerging creating eclectic adaptations
that encourage diversity and new audiences to the theatre.
Staging the “unstageable” since 2011, the company specialises in
adaptation, working with emerging artists, creating productions
using recycled materials and facilitating Anglo-Japanese
projects. In 2013, Whole Hog Theatre staged the world’s first
theatrical adaptation of Princess Mononoke with the kind
permission of Studio Ghibli. Wishing to build on their success
with Tristan and Isolde and due to the project’s aim of
promoting Anglo-Japanese exchange, Whole Hog Theatre is
excited to support this project with production assistance.

Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation

The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation is a UK charity,
established in 1988 with a generous benefaction from Daiwa
Securities Co Ltd. The Foundation’s purpose is to support
closer links between Britain and Japan.