Toshiki Okada Super Premium Soft Double Vanilla Rich[Theatre]
Toshiki Okada, an acute observer of contemporary Japanese society has set his latest creation, Super Premium Soft Double Vanilla Rich in that pillar of Japanese, city-dweller existence: the 24/24hr supermarket, of the kind found on every big city street corner. Open all night, lights blaring, these mini-temples to consumerism symbolize the contradictions of a Japan no doubt still reeling from the shock of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, but incapable of modifying its way of life in any meaningful way. Through the seven characters in the piece, Toshiki Okada and his company Chelfitisch map out the relations of hierarchy and dependance in existence between the products, clients, temporary employees, shop manager and sales representative. This structure enables Toshiki Okada to continue his investigations into work and liberty, themes which he began investigating in Free Time (2008) and then continued to look into with the trilogy Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner and the Farewell Speech (2010). The different characters, obsessed by demands of profitability and surrounded by an endless flow of superfluous products, are constantly under pressure. They are also constrained to adopt the highly coded forms of on-the-surface politeness and find themselves at the mercy of the unerring, obstinate rhythm of automated machinery. This gives rise to a form of onstage language which is both precise and strange, and which is always on the point of implosion... Seeped in the newspeak language of neoliberalism and profiteering, authoritarian optimism, Toshiki Okada’s text enters into a head-on collision with a choreography which is characterized by jumpy, neurotic gestures, set to the rhythm of a lifeless, sterile rendition of Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier.