performing arts


A Look Inside the World of Kabuki with @ebizoichikawa.ebizoichikawa

To see more of Ebizo’s Kabuki photos and videos, follow @ebizoichikawa.ebizoichikawa on Instagram. For an in-depth look into Ebizo’s ongoing performance, tune in next week to @instagramjapan.

(This interview was conducted in Japanese.)

Being a samurai, a princess, a red-horned demon, a husband and a father all in a day is the typical life of 37-year-old Japanese Kabuki actor Takatoshi Horikoshi, who succeeds the stage name Ebizo Ichikawa XI (@ebizoichikawa.ebizoichikawa) from one of the most prestigious houses of Kabuki actors in Japan. Between his time applying thick layers of stage makeup and the playtime with his two children, Ebizo is always looking for ways to open up the centuries-old Japanese performing arts to the global community. “I want people around the world to see my Kabuki photos,” he says. “I’m hoping to show more details of my work through videos, too.”

By sharing images of the characters he acts, and the selfies taken moments before or after his daily performances, Ebizo aims to convey the true essence of Kabuki. “I want people to notice the colors,” he points out. “The basic Kabuki makeup consists of white, red and black, which are very vivid and beautiful, even when seen from afar.” He also highlights the exquisite makeup techniques, the traditional costumes and the overall aesthetics iconic of Japan. “I want people to know that these are a part of the Japanese make-up culture.”

Ebizo admits that it’s not always easy to connect with an international audience, especially given the language barriers. However, he believes that the more images he can share from his daily life, the more he can educate. “I sometimes hear stories of renowned talents from other countries gaining their inspiration from Japanese culture,” says Ebizo. “Many of those things have their roots in Kabuki, and I want to tell the world more about it.”

Colin Morgan’s message to support  Belfast Metropolitan College (BIFHE)’s Performing Arts Acting Course: Read the whole letter 

“My name is Colin Morgan, I was a student back in 2002 at (then) BIFHE on the Performing Arts Acting Course in Tower Street. I have now recently been contacted by many of my past colleagues informing me of the plans to cancel the performing arts course and I am completely appalled that this is the case. 

At the age of 16, a boy from Armagh, BIFHE was one of the very few options I had of being able to pursue my passion and ambition to act. Without that course I would have been lost and forced to choose subjects in a local technical college that I had no interest in doing and things could have taken a very different turn for my future.

As it happens, BIFHE was there for me and offered me the opportunity to hone and develop my desire to act, study the craft that acting has the potential to be, learn from my peers and have the opportunity to perform in a safe environment, to gain a qualification and enabled me to then progress on the study at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and I have been working consistently in the profession now for nearly 8 years and I credit BIFHE as being a vital step in where I am now.

The impact of cancelling this course will have a detrimental effect to all those young people, like me, who are trying to make a future and a career out of performance. What message is being sent here by cancelling the course? To me it’s a clear message of dissimal to the talent that exists in our country, it’s a denial of development, it’s an ignorance to the possibility of aspiration in the business and it’s a failure to support a vital and thriving industry which Northern Ireland is now benefitting from.

It’s hard enough to try and make it as an actor from Northern Ireland as it is. I was forced to leave the country after studying at BIFHE because the opportunity to study at drama school wasn’t available at home. The knowledge that the opportunity to enable young people to even apply (and have the ability and confidence to apply) to drama school is now being cut off just seems ludicrous. Are we saying that it’s ok for major filming projects to come and film in Northern Ireland but our young people here aren’t worthy to be trained to be a part of it?
What are our options? How can we prevent this from happening? And if our message and our voice isn’t being heard on this, then I think the message becomes even clearer: acting and performance is not being treated as a serious career option for people in Northern Ireland. And I, and many other Northern Irish actors working professionally today, are here to say that it is achievable but we need all the help we can get.
I hope in some way that we can turn things around and not let this disappointing blow happen to the future of our country’s aspiring performers.

Colin Morgan”

PS: Dan Gordon, the man who posted Colin’s message, is a Northern Irish actor, director, TV presenter and writer.

I have default movements that reference voguing, but to me voguing is just compositionally interesting. The angles and lines, and specific kind of way the body forms itself when performing this way, that lends itself to a much more harmonious composition whenever I am animating or building. For me it’s a formal movement that relates to drawing and relates to miming, but it’s also a modern dance. I’m interested in modern dance tropes as well. I’m just trying to figure out how to use variational, limited movement forms to keep a harmonious image going in my work. I’m thinking about objects, I’m thinking about sawing, I’m thinking about levers and pulleys, I’m thinking about mowing the lawn, I’m thinking about murder, I’m thinking about erasure, I’m thinking about sexual gesture. And even when I had the porn star guy in my work and I was having sex oncamera, that was kind of a dance performance as well. And I thought that yielded interesting Kama Sutra poses that lent themselves to composition. Politically, I’m not interested in voguing. I’m trying to abstract the movement of it more, to get that language outside of my practice to stop people from talking about it. My movement style has defaults that reference voguing, but it references a lot of things.
—  Jacolby Satterwhite in the Yale Literary Magazine