Sada Yakko (1871-1946) – geisha and dancer. She introduced Japanese theatre to the West and was the first professional actress of modern Japan. In Polish culture, she is known primarily through the writings of Jan August Kisielewski. For artists active in the Polish modernist movement, known as Young Poland, she became an inspiration – “a sensation of an exotic nature”. When in March 1902 Polish viewers could admire her in Krakow, Warsaw and Lviv, she already had a six months tourneé around the United States behind her. At the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900 she achieved a great success. At that time she was hailed as the Japanese Sarah Bernhardt.
Over a hundred years later, Hana Umeda, a half-Japanese, half-Polish dancer tries to bring back to the Polish scenes a classical Japanese dance, which has been almost completely forgotten during the 20th century. Being a student of the jiutamai dance master, Hanasaki Tokijyo, Hana Umeda tries to convey the Japanese dance to her Polish students. She performs mainly as an exotic attraction during events related to Japanese culture.
And although, portrayed by Pablo Picasso, adored by artists and intellectuals, the Japanese diva had become one of the most famous artistic revelation of her time, the question of the authenticity of her art is still coming back among theatre researchers and scholars of Japanese studies. We know from numerous accounts that her stage creations were inspired by such artists as Sarah Bernhardt, Ellen Terry and Eleonora Duse. Yakko gave up some theatrical signs present in the traditional Japanese dance and instead enriched her performances with expression and drama.. A real Japanese artist is not focused on expressing herself or telling deep truths to the world. In order to establish a relationship with her recipient, she strives to bring pleasure through emotion, laughter or pathos to the audiences. Sada Yakko did not shy away from the common exotic image of the Land of the Rising Sun.
Searching for her hundred years older colleague Hana Umeda tries to summon the remains of Sada Yakko’s stage body.
Fragments of: *L. Downer „Madame Sadayakko. Gejsza, która uwiodła Zachód”, przeł. Patryk Gołębiowski *J.-A. Kisielewski „O teatrze japońskim” *M. Shelley „Frankenstein”, przeł. Henryk Goldmann *E. Jelinek „Dzieci umarłych”, przeł. Agnieszka Kowaluk are used in performance
Magda Małczyńska-Umeda, Gabi Krajewski, Ujazdowski Castle Centre for
Contemporary Art and Komuna Warszawa.
The performance was created thanks to “Młoda Polska” Scholarship of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage.
Co-organizer: Komuna Warszawa
premiere: 13.02.2019, godz. 19.00