‘I’ve painted myself white & I am Death’ and other lines from the 2011 Singapore Arts Festival
He just stands there, minutes trawling by. A white unmoving thing, er, figure as Bachâ€™s Toccata & Fugue ruptures in the background. â€œDracula!â€ the guy behind me whispers. Just because he isnâ€™t moving it doesnâ€™t mean heâ€™s the lord of the undead.
Youâ€™ve joined me here inside Singaporeâ€™s Drama Dance Theatre and weâ€™re watching the Asian premiere of Kuu (Emptiness), a Butoh performance by Yoshito Ohno, which is one of the highlights of this yearâ€™s Singapore Arts Festival. The Singapore National Arts Council has invited The STAR to the Lion City to watch several key shows in week two of the festival.
Kuu is Yoshitoâ€™s tribute to his late father, the legendary Kazuo Ohno, who popularized the dance form. Yoshito made his stage debut with his old man in, well, The Old Man and The Sea in 1959.
Yoshito, now a Japanese man in his 70s, stands with his back to the audience, wearing a cream-colored blazer and slack. We could almost see his back muscles rippling, a tensing spine, and a buckle of emotions. He hasnâ€™t done anything yet and already our minds are getting blown. We begin to ask ourselves what is dance and what it is not. We begin to wonder if it is still dance or is it accurately more of theater.