Ten Nights of Dream
based on stories by Natsume Sôseki

Dates and Venue 21 – 23 May 2009, 8pm | Centre A, Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

Reviewer Ed Farolan

Colleen Lanki performs the characters and images from legendary Japanese novelist Natsume Sôseki's epic workTen Nights of Dream. In a series of Japanese-style dance movements choreographed by Lanki and accompanied to sound effects and music by Alcvin Ramos, the show reflects in an extraordinary multi-media fashion through the direction of Matthew Romantini and projection designs by Craig Alfredson, Ana Luisa Espinoa, David Kim and Yulia Shtern, Natsume's dreams in haunting images: a woman buried with a piece of fallen star; a blind child riding on the back of the dreamer; a huge ship going nowhere; a panama hat; a barber; a goldfish seller; and the humorous dream about a thousand pigs.

The text used in the production was taken from the 1974 translation by Aiko Ito and Graeme Wilson from the 1908 work of Soseki. 10 dreams are portrayed in this 1.5 hour production, and one could hear a pin drop as an audience of less than 50 watched intently. The set and costumes were all in white giving it its dual purpose, as white is the colour of mourning in the Eastern world, and at the same time, the white backdrop and Lanki's costumes, were used as screens for the projection of images.

This was a production beyond the ordinary. It was unique in the sense that we rarely see and are educated by productions in the Kabuki and Noh tradition, and I'm glad that Vancouver has opened its doors to this rare opportunity. Last year I reviewed A Beautiful Woman Is An Unfortunate Life written by William Maranda and directed by Lanki, who teaches Theatre at UBC and who was based in Tokyo for several years studying traditional Japanese theatre. She delivered this comedy with a flair only an expert in Asian theatre could execute. In this production, she performs and ditto, as a performer, one could see the disciplined grace of movement comparable to Martial Arts performers but sans violence.

Kudos to the production team for a production beautifully executed!

© 2009 Ed Farolan