留学生インタビュー

Would you tell me why you went to study theatre in Japan?

After studying at the theatre school at the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, I participated in some theatrical plays and I also worked at the National Theatre Company. Since some of these plays where based on an Occidental perspective I wanted to enrich my theatrical expression. My interest of the traditional Japanese theatre began when I was a student at the Escuela de Arte Teatral del Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes (National Institute of Fine Arts / Theatre Arts School). Oriental, occidental and any kind of regional theatre, as an artistic and human manifestation of art, are similar in general, although they may be very different from a religious, aesthetic, visual and philosophical point of view. We could say that the oriental theatre has influenced the theatrical labour, in the use and treatment of masks, makeup, corporal and dance expression. In the early 80`s, at least here in Mexico, information about the Japanese theatre was very limited or difficult to obtain at school, because of that and in order to study more about it, I applied for the scholarship program offered by the Japanese Government at that time. During the period between 1980 and 1982, I made my research about Japanese theatre, such as Kabuki, Noh, Bunraku and others at the Hosei University, National Theatre, Kanze Hideo Studio and other theatrical groups.

Would you tell me about your experiences while you studied in Japan?

Studying for two years in Japan was an experience that enriched my life. Since my research work was closely related with Japanese habits and philosophy, I was opened to live all kind of experiences. I found Japanese people to be very charming and warm; I also had friends who helped me to learn Japanese. Sometimes I felt myself to be more Japanese than the Japanese people. Everyday life was a brilliant experience for me. Especially the similarities between Japanese and Indigenous ways of life, which surprised me a lot, for example: some vital aspects of daily life occurs at floor level, making slurping noises while eating noodles, the enveloping of food to take away (itacate), and their artistic and traditional handcrafted pottery that they constantly use. At the Hosei University, the Professor Hirosue Tamotsu had a Kabuki Theatre Study and Research Department. The professor recommended me to visit the National Theatre in order to see and observe the training and formation of the actors of Kabuki, Noh and Bunraku theatre. This became an unforgettable experience. My intention was not only to study at the University but to practice and perform on a stage as an actor. Working with some of my Japanese friends, specially Sae Hoshino, Alberto L?pez and his Japanese wife, we translated "Ida y Vuelta" (Round Trip) into Japanese, a play of the Latin American writer Mario Benedetti and created an original theatrical representation where Japanese actors interacted with puppets. This technique was inspired in the Bunraku theatre. With this great idea we always crowded the Jean Jean theatre in the commercial centre of Shibuya.

What kind of relationship did you maintain with Japan after you came back to Mexico?

Since I returned to Mexico, my life is still related to the theatre. I performed "Ida y vuelta" with Mexican actors and with the same technique I mentioned above. It was a great success. I was also the Director of "Hanjo" of the Japanese writer Yukio Mishima, in which we used Onnagata as in Kabuki - the female role played by the male actor-, trying to respectfully represent in our own artistic level which is achieved by the Onnagata. That was a great success. With the play "Hagoromo" (The Kimono of Feathers), we had the same experience. Now, every time I work as a Director, I keep in mind the Japanese theatre. I do not mean to make only a translation of the Japanese theatre, but to introduce aesthetic and visual characteristics of it to the occidental theatre. For example: when I produced "Oedipus Rex" of the Greek writer Sophocles, which we represented over the last 8 years. I think that, although the audience may not know anything about the Japanese theatre, they felt a difference when we introduced Japanese elements into the theatre that is represented here in Mexico.

What advice would you give to Mexicans who are going to study to Japan?

As we say in Mexico, "to the country you may go, do as you see they do"("Al país que fueres, haz lo que vieres"). Diving into the culture you are living in is for me the most fundamental activity. It does not matter if you are studying engineering or any kind of art. You have to know Japan is not only related with technology, but you must also develop a taste for Japanese food, you have to know the way they dress in the traditional or Occidental manner, and the philosophy in which they live.

Uploaded on 28th February 2005