The wizard on the stage
-the world of puppetry artist, Noriyuki SAWA-
(from the article of Japanese monthly magazine "Chuou-Kouron"February 2001)
The place was the special stage of the Prague castle,
in front of the president of the Republic Czech.
There is a Japanese who has performed the show for two hours
and half in such situation. His name is Noriyuki SAWA, who has
brisk activities in the European puppet theatre scene based on
the advanced nation of the puppetry, the Republic Czech.
The Czech country is the Mecca for all puppetry artists.
Puppet theatre is also an important identity for Czech people
together with the Bohemian glass art.
In such country that has the long-age traditional culture,
Sawa is quite famous. If you say that I am Japanese tourist,
they should say that you must know NoriSawa.
Sawa says, "Puppet theatre is usually play for kids in Japan.
But in Europe including Czech country, Puppetry is one of the
theatre arts and even puppets, themselves are scenic arts
also for adult audience."
His performances are quite epoch-making and they even
do not look like the puppet theatre if you see his show at first.
Because his puppet theatre sometimes does not have puppet
on the stage.
Sawa, himself says, "This is the new style of puppet theatre
called <Object-theatre> or <Figure-theatre> in Europe.
They call the traditional ones simply <puppet theatre>.
This new type could have any kind of object on the stage,
not only puppet. There could be also human actor, mask and
what ever you want. This concept enriches the basic potentials
of puppetry art as all-around culture."
He also says, "I am always concerning about the inevitability
to use the puppet in the performance" "And that leads us into
the future form of the modern puppet theatre art".
Sawa has a masterpiece "Kousky". He has deliberated this
concept and reached into this performance.
"<Kousky> is a Czech word and it means <Pieces>. So this show
is a kind of omnibus-production" .
The show "Kousky" could be adapted into the each condition of
the space, age of audience and so on. His presentation could also
breakthrough the language barrier as identity of different nations
because of the show without dialogue.
"Dialogue is a kind of sound effect for me. Also Language,
even you cannot understand nor communicate with it, but
anyway it is language".
Sawa has brushed up his special sense to catch the atmosphere
and different situation of each audience during his travel all over
"You cannot recognize precisely where are the country borders
in Europe because they are anyway on one continent.
Therefore, they always take care of each identity of nations.
And in Europe, they always expect me to show my identity as
Japanese, character of my background.
Audience comes to see my show, the show by NoriSawa, Japanese".
Many Japanese are misunderstanding <Internationalization> means
just <assimilation>. But before you assimilate with others, you have
to establish and keep your own identity.
"My mother has been making the Japanese-Kimono and its
influence to me has helped me so much to work in Europe."
What is your future plan ?
"In ancient age, puppet theatre has been developed as the religious
ritual, it has been miniature-model of the relation between God
and human beings. I would also like just to go forward being
hopefully by the God but maybe by puppets ?".
Be careful in the theatre not to be possessed and manipulated by
his show !
written by Toshiki ASAI