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The Legend Returns to the Place of Origin

Following is the article submitted to the Alien Times by the TAIHEN “The legend of Maha-Laba Villege” Performance Executive Committee. You can also read this article in the current issue of the Alien Times. [Find a copy of the latest Alien Times]


The Legend Returns to the Place of Origin

~Internationally Acclaimed Performance Group to Perform in Tsuchiura~
By TAIHEN “The legend of Maha-Laba Villege” Performance Executive Committee


Maha-Laba Mura (Maha-Laba Village) was a commune of people with cerebral palsy which existed in Ibaraki prefecture in Japan from the mid to late 1960s. The conditions and experiences in this isolated commune led to the development of the ideas and policies of the Blue-Lawn Party. This party led an intense liberation movement of disabled people in the 1970s. The party’s beliefs and actions were a challenge directed toward the value system of non-disabled society and its eugenic ideology. The party’s intensity was a shock to the non-disabled world, but the movement collapsed before long.

It is a story about the genesis and decay of an isolated microcosm. People with no place in society escaped into the microcosm and built their own life. Taihen tries to picture this story as a myth, to symbolize true nature of the
universal existence of human beings.

TAIHEN has been invited by a group of Ibaragi residents to perform “The Legend of Maha-Laba Village” in Tsuchiura. This is significant both for the performers and the audience in that Maha-Laba Village was once located in Ibaragi.

TAIHEN is a physical theatre troupe of physically disabled people which has been actively performing professionally since 1983 in Japan. They have been performing internationally since 1993. Manri Kim has found that the disabled body has an expression that none other can create. Their twisted, distorted bodies, normally considered to be ungainly are transformed into peculiar beauty. What she has started is a completely new genre, neither Butoh nor dance, that has given much inspiration and hope to all people, whether disabled or not. All performers have polio, cerebral palsy or other conditions and most require 24 hour care, so they need unique backstage crews and Kurokos (assistants dressed in black as in Japanese puppet theater), who help
the performers to enter and exit the stage.


“If you are wishing to express the universe and yourself,
the means of manifestation may be found in authentic
inner motion, which might be unrecognized motion in a
customary movement”.

TAIHEN is a troupe of physical performers deeply expressing
their inner selves. The performers’ motions are far from
standard but they crawl, wriggle, squirm, walk, run and jump
unaided. Though their individual expressive line may not look
straight nor look stable, their inevitable movement is finely
balanced. One’s movement is directly connected to one’s
inner life. In Taihen’s creation, the audience can unite with
the performers to sense and to experience the unity of
microcosm (physical body) with the universe.

TAIHEN’s stage works are without words. The works are “physical theatre” in which physically disabled performers try to turn their distorted bodies and ungainly movement into symbolic expression. TAIHEN will speak about “Maha-Laba village” confronting a civilization steeped in the ideology of erasing disabled people, but it is not a story about the disabled people only. Rather, we speak of universal human existence.

taihen3“The legend of Maha-Laba Villege” performances
Sunday, May 10th, 2009
Morning performance starts at 11:30, doors open at 11:00
Afternoon performance starts at 17:30, doors open at 17:00

Ibaraki Ken-nan Syogai-gakushu center
(Urara building 5F, Front of JR Tsuchiura St. West gate)

Adults: 3,000 yen (2700 yen advance),
students or elderlies: 2,500 yen,
A pair of the disabled and the attendant:
3,000 yen, the disabled: 2,500 yen
* You can also reserve tickets online:

TAIHEN “The legend of Maha-Laba Villege” performance Executive Committee
Tel: 080-5097-2288 (Orito), E-mail: oriton435[at]yahoo.co.jp
Wesite (English): http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~TJ2M-SNJY/
Blog: http://taihen.tsukuba.ch/