Monday 20 July 2015

Performance Report: Kyodo Matsuri

Despite the weather forecasts constantly shifting their goalposts, and rain ultimately continuing right up to kick-off, it cleared up just in time for the opening.

2015 Kyodo Matsuri
Ready to go, just.
That's not to say it went off without a hitch though. We, and a number of other teams, normally use a local temple to change into costume and undertake other preparations. This year, the temple was closed, that is to say, demolished, and in the process of being rebuilt. Another building connected to the temple was made available for our use, but was even more cramped than usual. One team even got changed under the stairs outdoors. Still, can't grumble—they were kind enough to let us use it, so we didn't have to get changed in a back alley like we do at one of our regular festivals.

Additionally, the performance schedule was changed around at the last minute, so rather than doing a couple of road parades before performing on the elevated main stage, we went straight to the main stage with barely a moment's notice. Unfortunately this meant that some of the details had yet to be ironed out, and I think we can all agree that mistakes were made.

2015 Kyodo Matsuri
"That didn't hurt much."
Photo: Ken'ichiro Sugiura

In spite of this, I decided to try something a little bit different this year. There's a comedic element we put into our stage piece to break the tension and it normally gets a few laughs. To prevent the act from stagnating, I threw in a "carefully staged" fall which ended up with me laying on my back with my feet in the air, while a bunch of people whacked me with fans, by way of pointing out my error. It got a very positive crowd response, which means I probably have to do that every time now, and this raises concerns as to whether or not my staging it was just a fluke. It didn't hurt, twice, and I need to keep it that way.

Other than this though, both parade and stage piece portions went smoothly, and we were able to progress straight from the start line to the goal line each time without holdup. The crowds seemed more impressed with us than usual, which I'll put down to the months and months of practice we put in.

Next stop, Kitamachi Awa Odori on 25th, which with wider and partially sealed off roads and twice as many teams performing, is an entirely different experience altogether.

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