Opening scene (Spring)

Title on program

December 2003

Following on from the successful musical production, "Ennin", a bit of local history in the form of the life of a Buddhist monk who ventured to China on a long and (it's a musical, remember!) colourful pilgrimage, in December 2003 the same stage saw another completely original production. Same writer/director, and same choreographer, but without the professional principals this time. Billed as "Iwafune - the musical - My Arcadia", this was an eclectic and somewhat abstract song to the earth, covering a vast sweep of history (160 million years, I think it was), seen through the eyes of the local flora and fauna (mostly arthropods). So I got to be a spider, which I've never been before, and as such, danced the tango, which I haven't done since dancing lessons with Audrey Butt at Stroud Girls High School in 1960-something.

Just one human character - "The boy", ably played by Reiko-chan (a girl, of course, top left in the photo above) - bursts in on this arcadian scene to frighten all the animals.


My family I'm not going into any detailed synopsis: mostly it was just fun to do. But I got myself a new stage "family", and it was our job to announce the turning of the seasons, from Spring to Winter. You'll see us right in the middle above, with our two highly energetic offspring, Maki-chan and Mizuki-chan; rather remarkable, considering that as you see, Nabe-san and I are plainly totally different species of spider!

Higanbana I was pleased to see a moment of stardom for a favourite flower - higanbana, or the red spider lily. Actually this goes by many names - in the script here it was called manjûshage (probably the Chinese name). There is something of a movement to restore it from the ranks of "just a weed"; you can see more photographs of the very beautiful (real) flowers on Plant-Watcher's page. Insect? This was something for participation by all ages - from seven to seventy-plus. Unfortunately, one is reminded of quite how much one has forgotten how flexible bodies are when they are younger. The kids literally threw themselves into it.

Then the final dance - the best bit (for me anyway). Can't possibly give all the details, but look! I've appeared above the stage, ready to raise my arms, and when I did, all the women fell to the floor! Amazing ...




Curtain call