The Society of British Theatre Designers

Staging Places: We Are The Storytellers Now - open until March 29, 2020 at V&A London

Shizuka Hariu

Cloud / Crowd

Cloud / Crowd
  • Production: New National Theatre Tokyo
  • Company: Japon Dance Project
  • Venue: New National Theatre Tokyo
  • Year: 2014
  • Directed by: Japon Dance Project
  • Choreography by : Yasuyuki Endo, Naoya Aoki, Masahiro Yanagimoto, Mimoza Koike, Hokuto Kodama
  • Composer : Davy Bergier
  • Lighting Design by: Hisashi Adachi
  • Costume Design by: Akemi So
  • Scenography by: Shizuka Hariu
  • Image © 2015 SHSH Architecture + Scenography
The scenography truly realises the title of the performance, ‘Cloud/Crowd’ visually. Large scale of cloud structure is set above the stage which its volume and height can be transformed throughout the performance. It allows both audiences and performers to fully experience the metamorphosis of the Cloud. At the first scene, the Cloud is placed overhead which provides dancers a large dance space on the stage. As the performance continues, the Cloud is slowly lowered and it emphasises the dynamic movement of the dancers. At the second scene, the Cloud is transformed into a backdrop scenography, it is sometimes lifted up and down to enable dancers to enter or leave the stage, this movement of the Cloud gives the feeling that the dancers are performing in the sky. New material is used for the Cloud scenography, a hybrid material combining organza and cotton. Cotton is placed by hand carefully on the organza, in order to create three- dimensional texture and invites performers and audience into the imaginative landscape. In contrast to the light soft cloud, wooden pallets are used metaphorically in various parts of the stage to form sea wall and island like volumes. It acts as a reminder of reality and everyday life. As the New National Theatre Tokyo contains great amount of depth, from front to backstage, one of the challenges in this project is to explore this depth and turn it into imaginative visual aspects. A transparent screen is installed behind the Cloud, the position of the screen is carefully calculated and it is used to further exaggerate the depth by approximately 50m with the help of the stand lights. It also gives different perspectives, reflections of the stage and dancers appear on the screen during some of the lighting effects. It creates a surreal mirage effect where dancers look as if they are floating. Overall, the Cloud is performing alongside the performers and the scenography provides a different ambience for the space continuously. ???