Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner and the Farewell Speech

Main Stage
Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner, and the Farewell Speech Photo: Toru Yokota

chelfitsch (Tokyo, Japan)
Presented by the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, SFU Woodward’s and Centre A

January 26-28, 2012  8:00pm
Studio T, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 West Hastings Street.

Post-Show Reception and Conversation with Toshiki Okada, led by Makiko Hara.
Jan 26, 9:30pm at Centre A (2 West Hastings Street)

Post-Show Talkback
Jan 27, led by Kathleen Ritter

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A group of office temps plan a farewell party for a recently laid off colleague. Will a Motsu hot pot restaurant do? Someone is obviously tampering with the climate-control system and it’s getting out of hand. Should the police be notified? A coworker makes her farewell speech. What does it have to do with imaginary penguins and the death of a cicada?

Deadpan dialogue, layered with elaborate gestural vocabulary and brilliant choreography, sheds light on the subtext of professional office etiquette, water cooler gossip and Japanese corporate culture. Marked by distinct musical backdrops that include John Coltrane, Stereolab, and John Cage, each of the three scenes speak to the dark humour and despair of a generation that had been promised a brilliant future only to end up ensnared in fluorescent cubicles.

>>Strangely hypnotic… a three-part meditation on death, class, and listening for the sad poetry in the everyday… By creating a jarring juxtaposition between the physical score and the text, the forgettable is remembered, small details speak volumes.<< Engine 28

Stylishly idiosyncratic director Toshiki Okada is known for crafting sharp and visually vibrant works of theatre out of the most ordinary of interactions. Founded in 1997, his Tokyo-based company is called chelfitsch, a neologism that evokes a childish deformation of the English word “selfish.” A rising star on the international theatre scene, chelfitsch has presented shows in the major theatre festivals of Berlin, Vienna, Paris, Singapore and New York, returning to Vancouver after the 2009 PuSh Festival favourite Five Days in March.

In Japanese with English subtitles

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Tickets Advance $32 /$28 /$26; at door $34 /$30 /$28
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Eligible for PuSh Pass access

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Writer & Director Toshiki Okada
Performers Taichi Yamagata, Riki Takeda, Mari Ando, Saho Ito, Kei Namba, Fumie Yokoo
Stage Manager So Ozaki
Lighting Designer Tomomi Ohira
Lighting Operator Naoko Ito
Sound Director Ayumu Okubo
Producer Akane Nakamura
Production Assistant Tamiko Ouki
Production chelfitsch
Co-production Hebbel am Ufer / HAU, Berlin
Associate Production precog, Tokyo

Running Time 65min

Supported provided by the Performing Arts Japan program of the Japan Foundation, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, and The Saison Foundation.

Special thanks to Steep Slope Studio. This North American tour includes stops at Under The Radar at The Public Theatre (New York) and Walker Art Centre (Minneapolis).

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