Multitude of Peer Gynts (MPG) is an inter-Asian theatre collaboration project (Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka), exploring “fear/anxiety” and “im/mobility” in contemporary Asia, based on a rereading of Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt.
The manifestation of the project in 2019 has been done in 3 phases: June 23rd – July 6th, 2019 (two weeks) in East Flores-Indonesia, August 23rd- September 6th (two weeks) in Tokyo-Japan, and October 16th to November 19th (5 weeks) in Shizuoka-Japan. From November 5th to 19th, 2019, in Shizuoka Arts Theater, Japan, Teater Garasi has successfully performed Peer Gynts - Asylum’s Dreams, a Shizuoka version of a theater performance created as a part of Multitude of Peer Gynts: Unmapping the Verge of Asia project.
The two weeks running successfully managed to attract approximately 2,000 spectators. In addition to the general public and theater-goers from various cities in Japan, more than half of the audience is high school students from various schools in Shizuoka. The performance in Shizuoka is a culmination of three working phases of the project in 2019. The first phase of the project in 2019 was completed in East Flores, Indonesia (June-July 2019), the second in Tokyo, Japan (August-September 2019), and the third phase in Shizuoka, Japan (October-November 2019).
During global pandemic restriction in 2020, we conducted the project on a specifically structured website (http://www.urfearmpg.net/), staging 11 modular works as a performance network from October 31 until November 30. Titled “Huhu and The Multitude of Peer Gynts”, the project in Jakarta-Yogyakarta is the fourth site of our intercultural performance series, following the first series of workshops, work-in-progress in Larantuka, Tokyo, and --also the world premiere performance-- in Shizuoka. As it was initially structured from various artists’ modules, the virtual version in 2020 allowed the project to explore each of our modular approaches in-depth to its cultural location, producing an alternative way to conduct an intercultural theatre collaboration in the time of the pandemic.
In 2021,UrFear: Transit Sri Lanka and Vietnam continues the journey of “Multitude of Peer Gynts”. Consisting of various artists and perspectives from Vietnam and Sri Lanka, the project continues to explore the potentiality of modular experimentations. This website stages its findings: various work-in-progress pieces and its forking paths.
Our findings and working path from Larantuka to Tokyo, as well as the presence of our new collaborators from Shizuoka Performing Arts Center, allowed us to build a more cohesive world for the productions. All the three phases of the project in 2019 had strengthened our believe in the modular approach as well as the more dynamic relationship between performance making and the specificity of its context, location, as well as the audience where the project took place. The work in progress approach allows the performance making as a knowledge-production laboratory to grow with the public. The overall project of Multitude Peer Gynts will continue to apply and expand our modular approach as we travel back to Indonesia in 2020 and as we plan to embark to Vietnam and Sri Lanka in 2021.
The modular online performance approach of 2020 allowed the performance making as a knowledge-production laboratory to grow in depth based on the specific context of its collaborators’ cultural location while retaining the relationship and network of ideas between one module with another. In 2021, we continued the experiment with the cultural exchange approach as we collaborated with new collaborators in Vietnam and Sri Lanka.