Dairakudakan's Kochuten: Paradise in a Jar a Jar
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Forum, 701 Mission (at Third Street), S.F.
Friday and Saturday, June 27-28, at 8 p.m.
Admission is $10-20
As part of its 30th anniversary, the troupe embarked on an international tour, presenting Kochuten: Paradise in a Jar, a series of surprising and strange scenes that feature 10 men in white body paint and flesh-colored G-strings moving fluidly between comedic theater and bizarre, unpredictable dance progressions. As one would expect of butoh, a form created in the spirit of rebellion and unorthodoxy, Kochuten is an irreverent manifesto of sorts, a physical exploration of themes such as the search for self and the conflict between the individual and the communal.
Moving to a musical backdrop of rock, reggae, opera, and Japanese pop, the skilled dancer-actors have an astonishing ability to transform their actions and facial expressions from gleeful to ghoulish, grotesque to graceful. In one particularly dramatic vignette, a dancer seems to explore his deep and complex relationship with a squat, round table: The inanimate object serves convincingly as a source of comfort, frustration, anger, and love. Dairakudakan is also reputed for its outrageous and seditious humor, and Kochuten features a scene that involves dancers chopping off their penises (they use hot dogs) with a kitchen knife while howling perversely; the troupe has been known to utilize bodily fluids and nudity in past productions. Now, Kochuten showcases the next generation of one of Japan's most acclaimed companies.