“Write something that you lost, and hold onto this,” says the woman who hands squares of paper to the audience members. A man in geta (wooden rectangular sandals) and cream socks walks into the auditorium.
This is Tristan Jacobs. He’s the sole performer in Kochira, a physical performance piece inspired by Japanese traditions and exploring memories; forgetting and the unforgettable. He speaks fluent Japanese as he tries to make sense of the objects that occupy the stage – a large wooden medicine-cabinet and a white projector. He carries the cabinet in various positions and finally finds that it fits on his back. From the stage wings he retrieves five drawers.
As he interacts with each drawer, he embodies a different character – a young girl, an old man, a panting dog, someone shy and something unknown. Music plays while he performs and illustrations are projected into, onto and around the cabinet and collection of drawers. Through imagined nights and new days, across landscapes and a bare stage, he carries the cabinet and re-remembered stories.
Somewhere towards the end, a story escapes and can’t be refound. He lifts a slightly lighter cabinet and walks off-stage, leaving an empty drawer in a lonely pool of light. We drop our squares of paper into the abandoned drawer and follow each other out the door.
By Sarah Rose de Villiers