In one of the more interesting acts, the audience was invited to participate with an imaginary ping-pong ball and paddle. The performers mimed for us to clap in unison. As the rhythm was building, imaginary balls were volleyed back and forth ending in a crescendo of percussion. The performers then proceeded to walk off the stage, into the audience to interact with us. Not your typical Japanese theatrical production.
When we think of Japan, we think tradition. The rigidity of this society permeates the arts. It is customary for Japanese performers to pass down their craft from father to son and female roles have traditionally been played by men. Tao: The Art of the Drum breaks this mold by transforming Japanese themes into a modern rendition. Women have a definitive place on stage as well.
Rather than uphold a tradition, Tao: The Art of Drum is entertainment that aims to delight its audience. The performers vigorously beat the “Taiko” drum, (typically used for traditions and rituals), using all of their body to rhythmically interact with the beat. Choreographed in martial arts style, their highly toned bodies tell their strength.
Tao: The Art of Drum, now considered a top production, is the rage in Japan. It is in a class with American entertainment iconography, think “Stomp” and “Blue Man Group”.
Blog by Lucas