April 14 – 17, 2016
@Black Stripe Theater
*Photos and translation by Rodger Sono
MET was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to watch a performance of Black Stripe Theater’s production “Seven” which at the time of this review had already been sold out for its entire run April 14-17th.
The true stories of 7 women
The story of “Seven” tells the true accounts of seven courageous women who are embattled over the ability to covet their own rights as women. Each lay tales of their struggles to overcome adversities and hardships, education disparity, as well as gender bigotry at the hands of their own family members. Others suffer from domestic violence, rape, and human trafficking.
The Seven speakers represent a wide scope of nationalities and cultures ranging from Russia, Cambodia, Guatemala, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, as well as Northern Ireland.
Striking a core
The play consists of various scenes with each of the seven main characters speaking out and drawing in the audience to their plight. One woman’s speech, in particular, stuck a deep chord within me. She spoke of men being like gold and that women were just pieces of clean cloth meant to polish the gold. Should the cloth be damaged, as the character continued, this would tarnish the gold. “Clean cloth” symbolized the woman’s purity and each character on stage was wrapped in clean cloths. There were “dirty cloths” symbolically dumped all about the stage representing the contradiction of man. A woman’s purity and perhaps, her virginity were being soiled with disdain. Although I found many things disagreeable in the play it opened my eyes to the conditions many women face in the world and made me question my own situation. I was enthralled by each the women’s speeches and never once minded that the play ran an hour and minutes without an intermission.
The set was beautifully draped with articles of women’s clothing in various states of disarray to symbolize each stage of the women’s lives. The stage lighting was carefully designed to represent the stark contrasts of each of the characters. More tasking were the complicated transitions to represent seven different countries where the women spoke from. This was accomplished with the smooth movements of the ensemble, transitional music and visually pleasing lighting.
Learn from their lives
After watching this play I felt that my perspectives on life had changed. It’s a documentary, based on true stories, set in modern day society. I became more aware of the plight of women in other countries that still exist. Women born in other countries are denied having an education and face horribly cruel circumstances on an almost daily basis. The privileges I have being born in Japan where our culture is readily accepted, seemed inconsequential. I felt inspired after seeing this play to do whatever I can to make others in society aware of the situations of these women.
Directed by Rachel Walzer
Date: April 14 – 17th, 2016 (in English)
Location: Sangubashi Transmission Theater
B1 Sangubashi Guest House, 4-50-8 Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Map *MAP
Entrance fee: ¥4,000
*All tickets are sold out, but you’ll be on the waiting list after you send a mail to email@example.com with your preferred date, full name and the number of tickets you want.