This is an excerpt from Taishō Chick, a cabaret/spoken word piece I wrote for Asako Izawa as part of the Art Gallery of NSW 2008 exhibition Taishō Chic. It came to mind as I began thinking about Shop Girl, another short script I'm writing for Asako and koto player Satsuki Odamura. Shop Girl is the story of a Japanese woman who defects to North Korea, hoping to find movie stardom in the Stalinist state. It's evolved from a creative development we did a couple of years ago (funded by the Theatre Board of the Australia Council and Sydney University Department of Performance Studies) and from my enduring interest in North Korea. Our plan is to produce Shop Girl in 2009.
Here's that excerpt from Taishō Chick:
In times of change I open the dictionary.
Not literally, but to open a crease in the language and reveal what we couldn’t say yesterday
we drummed out syncopated rhythms with chopsticks. Drew cartoons with cold coffee on table tops.
Painting was my way of walking into the heart of the world without anybody knowing I was shy.
A taxi over the bridge, a little avant-garde introspection in the shade of the willow trees, and rice riots—that’s rice, R-I-C-E, not race. The poor were being bossed around by the high cost of rice.
For the not-so-poor
It was the age of silk stockings, foxtrots and all that jazz.
Of department stores and opinions—remember, long before the iPod brought music to our ears, the I-novel brought us first-person narratives.
I look for myself
a café waitress lining up her future. Irie Takako starting her own film production company. Journalists reporting the latest from Paris or Shanghai. Young men in suits tailored British style.
And the key to all this activity?
The adventures and affairs of the metropolis …