Nostalgic for manners

nostalgiaI went to see Nostalgia. A Japanese production which opened last night along with the Perth International Arts Festival.

It was in a space created within the Perth Convention Centre and it is an excellent production.

It is not the easiest of theatre experiences.  It is all in Japanese – apart from the titles to the various sections which are in English.

And it is quite long.

Nostalgia tells the little-known story of the migration of thousands of Japanese workers to Brazil in the early 20th century. Follow the 40-year wanderings of a Japanese family as they search for a better future through the turmoil of revolution in South America.

The company, Inshinha, rarely performs outside of Japan.  More…

There’s a large cast of singers/dancers/actors and the music is beautiful especially supplemented as it is with the rythmic chanting of the cast and their sharp movements.

The sets are extraordinary, and the visual feast is enhanced with a large screen which adds yet another dimension.

Even though I knew only the bare bones of the storyline (tip:  read the program notes), I was drawn along with the story and intrigued to find out more.

Some of the sections could have been a shorter and still made sense – it was a lot of theatre without a break – nearly two and a half hours – but Feline and I loved it.

There was even a giant puppet, which we argued over as to it’s symbolism, so I’d be interested in what you think.

So why am I “nostalgic for manners”?

Well here’s the thing.  About an hour into the production the ushers were still letting people into their seats.

An hour!

I can understand being 5 minutes late, reprehensible though it is, I live in a glass house on this one, but an hour?!

And it wasn’t as if you could sneak in the back.  You had to clamber up a pitch black metal staircase from the front.

Stomp stomp stomp.

Perth Festival – you need to get tough.

And then there were the early leavers.

It was a long time to go without a pee and maybe they found it too hard, but I was disappointed to see people leaving part way through.

It was really distracting for the rest of us.

I think if you’re going to make a commitment to see a festival production you need to stick with it.  Reading the notes in the guide you would be able to tell it wasn’t going to be a Broadway musical.

So there’s my rant.

After the show we went to the Festival club at Becks Music Box which was lovely – such a great venue.

So far we’ve had three city Festival clubs after the Undercroft at UWA… there was the set up outside the Art Gallery, the Verandah at the Perth Concert Hall and now the Music Box in the front of the city.

Which do you prefer?  And where could it go next??

2 Replies to “Nostalgic for manners”

  1. I haven’t been to the Festival Club since the Undercroft days, which I thought was a good venue, but I have no comparison to make to the other venues.
    The Japanese production sounds interesting. I agree about the late arrivers and early leavers – I think it’s incredibly rude ot the performers putting so much into their work. I’m going to the War of the Roses which will be a real test of stamina, but I’m looking forward to it!

  2. It’s always wise to check start and finish times for anything like this. If you can’t get there on time, wait for the next performance. If it’s going to be more than a couple of hours, don’t drink coffee or a giant coke just before going in. Perhaps next time Perth could organise a back entrance so as not to disrupt those already watching, but still, if you’re more than a few minutes late, you’ve missed the point of the story anyway.

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