Following last week’s production THE TALE OF THE ANCIENT LIGHTS, we spoke with performer Riuchi on his approach to creating theatre. His award-winning one-man show won Best Performance and Best Lighting at the Galway Fringe Festival 2014. Described by the Irish Times as “an intriguing synthesis of technology by a skilled and imaginative performer”, Riuchi’s award-winning one-man show was an intricate dance of light and obscurity accompanied by a beautiful instrumental soundtrack.
- How would you describe your work?
What I create is very specific to my own nature. I am a self taught performer and only train for specific skills and techniques that I wish to acquire. I am kind of a hermit and train mostly on my own. Some people call me a mover, a dancer or an illusionist lately. I just wish to be me and it’s already very hard. What I create are worlds where my imagination can run wild and turn the impossible into an obvious reality. I mix the old and the new, create illusion live on stage and use my body as a medium to communicate emotion to the audience. My works is a mix of movement, theatre, dance and technology with a constant search for the perfect balance.
- As a choreographer, who are your influences? Whose work do you really like?
For any concept I’ll always look at my Asian side and the story itself will be inspired by Asian tales and characters. I would also overlap it with an emotional journey. The story does not need to be understood as I will prioritize what the audience will feel during the show. So many of my stories start with a pure emotional visual concept. I think performances as a live painting. I want them to be beautiful but also inspiring.
I start any projects years in advance. Each project takes an average of 2 years of creation and another year for improvement. So 3 years at the very minimum. That time is used to create techniques and specific skills but also to put together special effects designed for the stage. As I create illusion based show, I have to start with feasibility. I would work with an engineer and a magician and will try to come up with a new way to create magic effects.
If I take any project on board, I will finish them. They could be slightly different from my original ideas but i do my best to stick to what I had planned in the first place.
- Do you consider a play/performance/piece ever truly finished, or do they continue to evolve?
They always evolve, not drastically but as I create shows to tour they need to improved as time goes by.
- You were last in the Granary Theatre during this year’s Cork Midsummer Festival for your production Dream of Light. Can you tell us about how you found being part of the Festival and what you learned from it?
I was trying there a new concept of performance. My first show was very difficult physically and technically. Any changes would take weeks as the show is entirely programmed to give this effect of perfect timing. I created a monster and had to live with it. For this new show I went with the opposite idea by making sure I could change everything easily, so all illusions are created to be performed live. I also wanted to get deeper into my own emotion and how to convey them to the audience. In the overall it worked well, but this show will need much more time to be where I wish it to be. It is still in creation and I will get it ready better next year for a small tour.
- This production combines traditional Japanese ritual with modernity. Can you give us an idea of what an audience can expect from The Tales of the Ancient Lights
This show is a bridge between your inner kid and yourself. When I created this show I thought deep down what I wanted to be when I was younger, so I created a world to reach this state. If you are an adult, be prepare to dream again, If you are kid explain to your parents what you understood from it.