Kakekotoba

  • direction, choreography, music and virginal: Alessio Silvestrin
  • performance: Reijiro Tsumura, Yuichiro Yokoseki, Koichi Omae and Alessio Silvestrin 

  • text: excerpts from Phaedo by Plato 

  • light design: Alessio Silvestrin, Azusa Seto
  • mask: Omen Shiwa jo made by Haruko Sugisawa
  • costumes: special thanks to Reijiro Tsumura and
    PLEATS PLEASE ISSEI MIYAKE

  • length: 43 min. 

  • premiere: Cerulean Tower Noh Theater, Tokyo 01.03.2009 

  • co production: Cerulean Tower Noh Theater and Architanz Studio

You know of course that those things in which the number three is an essential element must be not only three but also odd.

Excerpt from Phaedo by Plato

Suppose a person to use the same argument about harmony and the lyre might he not say that harmony is a thing invisible, incorporeal, perfect, divine, existing in the lyre which is harmonized, but that the lyre and the strings are matter and material, composite, earthy, and akin to mortality. And when some one breaks the lyre, or cuts and rends the strings, then he who takes this view would argue as you do, and on the same analogy, that the harmony survives and has not perished you cannot imagine, he would say, that the lyre without the strings, and the broken strings themselves which are mortal remain, and yet that the harmony, which is of heavenly and immortal nature and kindred, has perished before the mortal. The harmony must still be somewhere, and the wood and strings will decay before anything can happen to that.

Excerpt from Phaedo by Plato

The dramaturgical situation on stage finds inspiration from some excerpts chosen from Plato’s dialogue Phaedo, which are chanted by using the Noh vocal technique and superposed to the score without metronomic synchronization. The choreographed movement which developed than in more abstract direction are taking in consideration the context of Japanese traditional space and intend searching qualities of tensions in a temporal duration. The spiritual arguments of the vast dialogue, in relation to the mater, the soul and the personal immortality, create a certain ambiance between each element of the work and inspires some creative metaphors which gave trust to a possible combination of ideas apparently far to each other.

One of the rhetorical techniques characteristic of Japanese poetical writing is Kakekotoba. Literally meaning “ Hanging word”, Kakekotoba is related to the word before and after it. It may be a verb taking for a subject or object the nouns coming before and after it. It may be an adjective modifying the words between which it stands.

The music score of Kakekotoba has been composed on several melodies cells from the Noh theater music and divided in section each in one page. The pauses between each of the 54 pages can be long, with a ritual character inspired form the Japanese Noh. By taking in consideration the fluctuating peaches used in the music of Noh,the attempt of making keyboard transcription of the selected original melodies cells became quite approximate and relatively recognizable in the final result. Therefore the original melodies cells, were needed only to initiate the composing process which than extended the original rhythms and peaches highs by applying the Fibonacci Numbers and by creating different kinds of counterpoints which are shifting from the traditional Japanese music into the possibilities of the 12 tones scale. The instrument used in the performance made in Verona by Bruno Zardini, is a 4 foot virginal inspired by models of the XVII century Flemish school and tuned in mean tone temperament.

Alessio Silvestrin