Junpei Kiz architected the landscape for Mahabharata-Nalacharitam, a theatre show directed by Satoshi Miyagi and played in Festival d'Avignon 2014, designing the ring-shaped stage for the Boulbon Quarry.

Mahabharata in Paris
Landscape architecture for Mahabharata has focused on expressions of mythical existences with features of unique theatres, such as an underground theatre of a national museum, and an outdoor theatre in woods.

For instance, in 2006, in Claude Lévi-Strauss Theatre (designated by Jean Nouvel) in Quai Branly Museum, Paris, since Mahabharata needs to show actors as mythical existences, Kiz led the audience to “look up” at actors; nevertheless the audience had to “look down” at actors in the theatre. How did he do that? He divided actors into two groups: performers on the stage and instrument players under the stage. Instrument players “looked up” at performers.

As a result, the viewpoints of the instrument players were transferred into the viewpoints of the audience and they had an illusion that they “look up” at actors, though they actually “look down” at actors.
This idea comes from Mikoshi, a portable Japanese Shinto shrine. In Japanese festivals, the viewpoints of Mikoshi carriers are transferred into the viewpoints of Mikoshi watchers and they feel as if they carried Mikoshi.
The venue for Mahabharata in Avignon is the Boulbon Quarry, a ruin of a huge stone quarry surrounded by a stone wall over 20m. Peter Brook first directed a version of the poem in 1985 there.
The road to Mahabharata in Avignon
This venue is overwhelmingly huge and desolate that the theory of Mikoshi cannot be applied. Kiz got the new idea. He made seats as low and flat as possible and enabled the audience to really “look up” at actors.

The idea has some problem. From low viewpoints, the audience cannot see through the stage and watch back performers unlike general Western theatres.
On the stage of Western theatres, which have proscenium arches, there are “near” and “far” and the expressions of infinity or eternity are beyond the very back. The way of perspective, where a big thing is near and small thing is far, follows this concept.

In Hikari no Nai, originally written by Elfriede Jelinek as Kein Light and directed by Motoi Miura 2013, Kiz set “a window” on the very back on the stage to express light and darkness. This idea follows the Western perspective.
On the other hand, the stage for Mahabharata in Avignon does not have this perspective. Kiz did not think this to be a weak point and used as a strong point.He spread the stage out to the left and to the right and created a ring-shaped stage.

Mahabharata in Avignon
The stage is curved along with a stone wall like a corridor and shapes a ring. The ring is 3m high, so the audience sees actors with the stone wall. It is like actors are dressed in the stone wall.
Cave paintings
The stage spread to the left and right is like a Japanese picture scroll in Heian era. The actors as mythical existences with the stone wall may reminds you of the cave paintings in Lascaux.
Circle of Cosmos
The ring-shaped stage harmonizes a huge stone quarry with the world of the myth.
A ring is a symbol of eternal circulation, cycle of reincarnation, and the cosmology that blesses successive lives. In the place surrounded by the huge stone wall, the ring performs as the window to the sky.

物件名|MAHABHARATA – NALACHARITAM 2014 Avignon version
会 場|Carrière de Boulbon as a Avignon Festival Official performance in France
会 期|7-19 July, 2014
上 演|SPAC

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