Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Eaten Dramaturgy: Mamoru Iriguchi @ Edfringe 2017

Eaten by Mamoru Iriguchi at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017

Mamoru Iriguchi, an award-winning performance artist, returns to Edinburgh Festival Fringe with ‘Eaten’, a new show for children (6+) about food, eating and being eaten.

What if your food started talking back? Meet Lionel the lion. He’s just eaten a human called Mamoru for lunch. Being very hungry, Lionel hasn’t chewed his food, so Mamoru is still alive and very well in his stomach, and now wants to say hello...
Donning a lion costume, Mamoru Iriguchi simultaneously plays the roles of the eater (Lionel the lion who dreams of being a vegetarian) and the eaten (Mamoru the human who loves meat). A Surrealist dialogue about food occurs between the predator and his prey, locked in one body.

What was the inspiration for this performance?

Since I was a child, I have always been interested in food chains. I often imagined what it was like to be eaten by another animal and felt absolutely terrified by it. But at the same time, I loved eating food: other animals, plants and fungi. This contradiction was the initial inspiration for ‘Eaten’ where I wanted to be “the eater” and “the eaten”, both at the same time, to go on a journey to find what eating and being eaten really mean.

The fact that we forget where our food comes from was another factor that drove me to develop this piece, particularly for a young audience.  We should be more interested in what we are eating.

Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas?

Absolutely: I cannot think of any other art form where artists and their spectators share the same space and time.

How did you become interested in making

I wanted my art to directly communicate with the audience who are present in the same space and time with myself.

Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?

This is the first show that I have made for young audience. Thanks to generous support from Imaginate and Lyra, we had an amazing opportunity to work with pupils from Niddrie Mill Primary School in Edinburgh. The collaboration with those young people influenced this work in so many levels.

I also felt it was crucial to work with a director who is familiar with performance for children as well as live art. As such, I am really excited that Eilidh MacAskill has been involved in that capacity.

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

I think that the piece is asking complex questions about food through a fun and bonkers theatrical language that is accessible for all.  

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

I would like them (young audience in particular) to experience the complex world of ‘eating’. Food is life and death and everything in-between. If they get intrigued by the world of food and food chains and start to pay a close attention to what they eat, then that would be wonderful.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

We have all-star cast when it comes to food. The eater, the eaten, the digester, the digested, the defecator and the defecated. And I am sure you’ll learn a fact or two you did not know before, whatever your age. Hopefully, everyone finds something in this show both entertaining and enlightening.

Occasionally interrupted by a haunting Conceptual Cow who represents all the cows eaten by Lionel or Mamoru in the past, the pair develops a firm friendship... until Mamoru gets totally digested. Lionel’s sorrow over the loss of his best friend, cannot last too long however, as Dr Poo emerges from his bottom with a triumphant fart.

With a surrealist and humorous storyline, Iriguchi – together with a co-performer Suzi Cunningham – invites children and grown-ups to the fascinating world around food: eating, being eaten, digesting, defecating and everything in-between and beyond, in nature and on our dining tables.

Project History: Eaten was conceived from Iriguchi’s concerns over the human relationship with food and nature today, as well as his interest in the significance of ‘being eaten’ that is so essential to driving the entire ecosystem, yet is often seen as failure.

By setting up an imaginative situation where the eater and the eaten talk to each other and become friends, Eaten playfully introduces the intricate mechanism of the food chain/web.

The piece then explores what it means to eat and to be eaten, what contribution these activities make to the ecosystem, and how humans have made themselves more and more detached from the actual process of producing food and, as such, are no longer aware of where their food comes from.

Eaten is packed with theatrical ideas and imaginative characters. It encourages young audiences and like- minded grownups to carefully examine what they eat and re-think their relationship with food and nature.
Supported by Creative Scotland, Imaginate, Dance Base, The Place, Lyra and Southbank Centre, Eaten has been developed through a number of work-in-progress sharings including WHY? Festival (Southbank Centre for 300 school pupils) and Imaginate Scratch (for producers and artists working with/for young audiences).

The team recently worked together with pupils from Niddrie Mill Primary School (Craigmillar, Edinburgh: facilitated by Lyra). The feedback from those opportunities made crucial contributions to the development of the project. The piece is to premiere this summer at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
w w w . i r i g u c h i . c o . u k
Mamoru Iriguchi | | m: + 44 7941 316 723
Message from Mamoru Iriguchi: We are delighted to premiere Eaten at the Fringe this summer. It is particularly exciting to bring the piece to Summerhall, an acclaimed venue that has been attracting a wide range of audiences who are after something new and thrilling. We look forward to many encounters with both families and theatre professionals from all over the world to share in this incredibly intriguing topic of food.

Creative Team Mamoru Iriguchi: concept, design, performance, co-direction | Eilidh MacAskill: direction | Suzi Cunningham: performance | Nikki Tomlinson: outside eye | Selina Papoutsueli: dramaturgy | Alison Brown: costume supervision | Gavin Pringle: stage management | Nick Wong: producing

Eaten (Age Range: 6+) Venue: Summerhall: 1 Summerhall, Edinburgh EH9 1PL Time & Dates: 12:15, 2-27 August (except 7,14,21) Tickets: £8/£6 (Family & School discount available) Box Office: Summerhall: 0131 560 1580 | EdFringe: 0131 226 0026 |
Notes to Editors Mamoru Iriguchi is an award-winning Edinburgh-based performance maker and theatre designer with background in zoology. His performance works explore 2D and 3D, liveness and pre-recorded-ness, gender and sexuality, fairytales and evolution theories.
His pieces, including 4D Cinema (Autopsy Award winner/Chelsea Theatre + Frankfurt LAB co-commission), PAINKILLERS (The Yard NOW commission), One Man Show (The Place Prize commission), Projector/Conjector (selected for Aerowaves Spring Forward) were supported by organisations including Arts Council England, Artsadmin, National Theatre Studio, and The Place.

They toured in the UK and internationally. He also makes intimate short pieces that have been shown at Tramway, Duckie, Tate Britain, ICA, and Wellcome Collection.
Trailer: Eaten by Mamoru Iriguchi from Mamoru Iriguchi on Vimeo.

Iriguchi’s theatre design work includes Mincemeat (Cardboard Citizens, Best Design, Evening Standard Theatre Awards), Gloria: A Pigtale (Bregenz Festival, Austria and Royal Opera House, London) and The Pink Bits (Mapping4D, Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Award).

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