ITALY – Mishima is the name of a project that the Brazilian artist Ismael Ivo staged at the wonderful arena at the Pietrarsa Railway Museum in Naples, Italy. It is based on the life and creative world of the Japanese artist Yukio Mishima, who committed sepuku (samurai ritual suicide) at the height of his brilliant career.
The performance started at dusk and the Gulf of Naples formed a natural backdrop for a rice-covered, Japanese-rock-garden-like set. The stage hosted an encounter between dancers involved in a ritual celebration representing the contrast between sunrise and sunset and between life and death.
The show was co-produced by the Fondazione Campania dei Festival, the Arb Dance Company and the Accademia di Belle Arti di Napoli. The Vietnamese dancer Khải Ngọc Vũ led the performance, accompanied by dancers from the Compagnia Arabesque/Les Danseurs Napolitains, the voice of Angela Luglio, and Federica Severini on the violin.
Ismael Ivo dealt with the choreography and Marcel Kaskeline with set design. The costumes were entrusted to Gabriele Frauendorf, while the lighting was designed by Marco Policastro: “As often happens,” the lighting designer explained, “I had no guidelines regarding the type of lighting to use. So I started out by attending some of the rehearsals and put together my own lighting interpretation, which I improved during the dress rehearsals.”
“It is an emotionally intense show, which is virtually devoid of scenery. The lighting was therefore extremely important, though it was not easy to create an architecture with it. Luckily the Clay Paky Alpha Profiles helped me tremendously with this task. Thanks to the Profile’s beam shaper, I was able to create sets with light on the stage/garden without any real scenery. There were only two elements I could work on: the stage surface, consisting of a three-centimetre thick layer of rice, and the dancers.”
“Almost all the lights were fitted on two slightly-off-axis backlighting battens located at the back of the stage. The centre was left deliberately clear to use the natural backdrop and two front Layer towers,” Policastro continued. “The top quality lights, provided by Emme2, consisted of 18 Clay Paky profiles, 10 PAR 64 VNSP CP60s, 10 RJ 713s and 16 ACL 250W 28Vs. I used a GrandMa Full Size lighting desk, which we worked with right from the start of programming.”
“The show was full of pathos. It totally absorbed my body and mind, and completely drained me, but” – Policastro concludes – “it was one of those shows that leave you highly satisfied when they are over, and you regain all your depleted energy many times over.”