File #18 & #19
On Tour with Lowo=Tar=Voga: The Last Leg - From Wakayama to Kyoto

Togei Hachiman Kobo: Gallery Hachi
658 Nogami-cho, Kaiso-gun, Wakayama Prefecture
Tel: 073-489-4004

Art Complex 1928
1928 Bldg. 3F, Sanjo-gokomachi-kado, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto
Tel: 075-254-6520

I have reached the end of my series on accompanying the Osaka theatre company Lowo=Tar=Voga on their performance tour. In this last part, I report on a year-end performance by the group in Wakayama and one soon after the start of the new year in Kyoto.

Lowo=Tar=Voga gave a total of three performances at Gallery Hachi, including the kickoff of the tour and a two-day engagement at the end of last year. Though it is in Wakayama, the gallery is located in the mountains, quite a ways away from my home in the city. It took me about an hour to get there on my motor bike, as I made my way through the extreme cold. When the group performed there in October, it was in an outdoor theatre, but this time the event was held inside the gallery.
With an appearance that recalls a two-storey warehouse, the venue is usually used to exhibit the ceramics works of the Izawas. The opening acts came all the ways to the Wakayama hills from Kyoto and Osaka. In Nara, I was treated to Hakka Happa, and in Kyoto, I had a chance to see Falsos Gitanos for the first time. This time, instead of a live performance, the Cailoptic Company brought its nostalgic, toy movies. A special feature with Voga's leader, Kusakabe Kagelowo, serving as benshi (narrator) was also screened. As the program continued with Matsumoto Natsuki's speaking, everyone in the place was glued to this unusual sight.

In Kyoto's Senshuraku, there was an unmistakable New Year's vibe.
Everything unfolded with a delightful radiance inside Art Complex 1928, the upstairs theatre in this building, erected in 1928, which is such a familiar part of the Kyoto cultural scene and a distinguished presence on Sanjo-dori. There was a sellout crowd for this large-venue performance which was scheduled to run for about four hours, from the opening performances to the main event. Each performer added variety to the program and the whole thing really felt like a festival. In the midst of all this excitement, the tour finally came to a close.

From the end of 2003 to the beginning of this year, thanks to Lowo=Tar=Voga, I had the chance to visit a wide array of venues and make the acquaintance of many different people. I'd like to thank everyone involved with the project; I hope to see you all again somewhere soon.