One Minute World Arts- The Most “Senior” Theater in Japan Goes Down in History

Founded by Yukio Ninagawa, the renowned Japanese theater director, #SaitamaGoldTheatre was disbanded in 2021 and has gone down in history after 15 years of operation. In 2006, Ninagawa decided to create a theatre troupe with players aged 55 and over. 1226 applicants across #Japan went through an intense competition to get in, and eventually 48 were selected to join the company. In Ninagawa’s view, “Saitama Gold Theater was born out of a search for new forms of theater based on the personal histories of people of age.” For that reason, these mature people with rich life experiences were assembled to pursue their dreams to perform as stage actors.

Although Saitama Gold Theater had won international acclaims by adapting and performing #Shakespeare’s plays, as well as bringing them to big cities worldwide, it faced the problem of senior members aging at a time when the global COVID crisis continued to worsen, and therefore made the decision to close down with Shogo Ota’s non-verbal play The Water Station. The work is about people with a sense of despair and hopelessness getting to the tap to drink water and charge themselves with energy to live until the next day; it was directed by the rising director Kunio Sugihara, who was invited to work with the company for the first time and, rather unknowingly, the last time. For Sugihara, the wordless play was perfectly in line with Ninagawa’s original plan to make a new place where mature older people could find new faces and perspectives through physical expression. “I believe it will be appropriate for their grand finale,” he said.



由日本知名導演蜷川幸雄所籌組的「#埼玉金世代劇場」(Saitama Gold Theater),在歷經15個年頭後,正式走入歷史。2006年,蜷川幸雄決心打造一個由55歲以上的年長者所組成的劇團;經過激烈的徵選,最後從1226位競爭者中擇取出48位團員。他曾說:「金世代劇場是為了從長者個人生命經驗中找到劇場新可能而誕生的」;正因如此,才把擁有豐富人生閱歷的熟齡演員會集在一起進行創作。

曾因改編 #莎士比亞 戲劇而享譽國際、並且前往各大城市巡迴演出的金世代劇場,時至今日,許多元老級團員年事已高,再加上疫情的影響,所以決定平靜地結束營運。該團揮別舞台的告別作,是太田省吾(Shogo Ota)所創作的 #無聲劇《供水站》(The Water Station);劇情講述一群絕望之人,藉由獲取到水而得以繼續存活。儘管導演杉原邦生(Kunio Sugihara)與金世代劇場的第一次合作也成了最後一次,但他認為這齣透過肢體傳達生死意念的作品,完全貼合蜷川幸雄當初成立劇團的原衷,因此很適合用來替這個劇團的藝術生涯劃下句點。


Photo Credit: © MAIKO MIYAGAWA