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Five Days in March Re-creation



A complete "re,crea.on" of the major work that changed the direc.on of contemporary theater in Japan.
A new challenge with a new cast born in the '90s awakens us once again to "theater" and spotlights "our today”.

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Five Days in March describes the realities of the lives of several youths in Tokyo during a five-day period in March 2003, including the day on which the United States began bombing Iraq. Its unique methodology, which revolved around the connection between the speech and physical presence/movements of these youths, shook the theatrical structure that had been taken for granted until then to its very foundations. It had an immense impact on the next generation of playwrights and is still talked about as a turning point in the history of contemporary Japanese theater. More than ten years have passed since the premiere performance of this piece portraying the everyday doings of apathetic youths far from the war, and there have been great changes in respect of the picture of youths, social situation, speed of information transmission, and sense of distance from war. The youths and circumstances as described in the original script have already become dated, and in this sense have made the work a "period piece." While the basic story has remained unaltered, the script has been rewritten somewhat to prompt awareness of the passage of time from those days to the present. Designed by Torafu Architects, the stage space allows for boundless changes in meaning through the physical presence/movements of the young actors embodying the present, and their involvement with the performance. This space likewise highlights the earnest human portraits of the times and throws the merciless shape of the contemporary society into sharp relief. What has changed since then, and what has not?
This re-creation derives from rigorous pursuit of the essential structure of theater, on the premise that the speech, actors' bodies, and space on the stage are catalysts for the workings of the audience's imagination. It could be regarded as the ultimate in the methodology of theatrical direction making full use of this imagination, which Toshiki Okada has worked so hard to perfect as the director. It is also deftly fuses two different styles that have been developed and refined by Okada through a wide range of works so far: one that gives full rein to kinds of speech and physical motion which could be likened to theatrical static, and one that takes a minimalistic approach aimed at stripping away anything superfluous. In this aspect as well, it breaks new ground that seems to presage the start of a new chapter in his theatrical art.


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Basic information of the work

Screening time
about 90min
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Accessibility of this work

  • Audio guide
  • Sign language
  • Barrier-free subtitles
  • Subtitles
  • Multilingual
  • Dubbing
  • Artist’s original barrier-free version
  • Non-verbal

About accessibility of this work

We have a barrier-free videos.


English subtitles: English subtitles with spoken words and speaker names

Message from artist / creator

The play is set in Tokyo in March 2003, at the beginning of the Iraq War. The play was written a decade ago and is being performed in a new way by seven young (and powerful) actors. The text has been rewritten in a surprisingly large way. What do you think will happen when “Five Days in March” is performed in Japan in 2018?


Toshiki Okada

Artist Profile



The theater company chelfitsch was founded in 1997 by Toshiki Okada, who writes and directs all of its productions. Applauded for its distinctive methodology, which applies the relationship between quirky speech and physical movements, it attracts keen attention, both inside and outside Japan, as a troupe in the vanguard of contemporary theater. Its slovenly, “noisy” physicality, which seems to exaggerate ordinary gestures at times and seems not to do so at others, was even likened to dance. The company made its debut abroad in 2007, when it performed “Five Days in March” at the Kunstenfestivaldesarts, which is regarded as one of the most important festivals on the European performing arts scene, in Brussels, Belgium. It has since performed works in a total of more than 90 cities in Asia, Europe, and North America. In 2011, “Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner, and the Farewell Speech” received the critics’ award from the Association québécoise des critiques de théâtre in Montreal, Canada.
In more recent years, the troupe has performed in works whose production rested on international collaboration with the world’s major festivals and theaters around the world, specifically: “Current Location” (2012), “Ground and Floor” (2013), “Super Premium Soft Double Vanilla Rich” (2014), “Time’s Journey Through a Room” (2016), and “Five Days in March – Re-creation” (2017). It continues to constantly update its methodology, which revolves around the relationship between speech and body, and explore new avenues of expression unbound by conventional dramaturgy. In 2018, it produced and exhibited/performed “Beach, Eyelids, and Curtains: chelfitsch’s EIZO-Theater” at the Contemporary Art Museum Kumamoto. This piece uses projected images (“eizo”) to bring theatrical space into being. In 2019-2020, it collaborated with the artist Teppei Kaneuji and produced “Eraser Mountain” at KYOTO EXPERIMENT 2019 and “Eraser Forest” at 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa. It performed a single artistic concept in two different types of space and used the way of “EIZO-Theater” as well.


Playwright, Direction: Toshiki Okada
Performers: Chieko Asakura, Riki Ishikura, Yuri Itabashi, Ayaka Shibutani, Ayaka Nakama, Leon Kou Yonekawa, Manami Watanabe

Technical Director: Koro Suzuki
Lighting Director: Tomomi Ohira (ASG)
Sound Director: Norimasa Ushikawa
Costume: Kyoko Fujitani (FAIFAI)
Assistant Director: Mana Inukai
English Translation: Aya Ogawa
Publicity Photography: Kenta Cobayashi
Publicity Design: Jujiro Maki

Co-produced by:
KAAT Kanagawa Arts Theatre, ROHM Theatre Kyoto, Kunstenfestivaldesarts

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