Tales of Ise


Curiosity killed the cat – but I am not a cat.
Curiosity thus pushed me to read – in French – without taking any risk – the collection of the Tales of Ise – which are, it seems, the texts to be read to really enter the heart and the soul of Japan.

Anonymous – scene from the Tales of Ise – 19°

These are very short texts – which are articulated around a poem. In fact, the very short narratives give a context, reasons, to the writing of the poetry.

And this is how the simplest ideas fall into place, all by themselves, and almost without thinking about it.
I wanted to see poetry on a stage.
The Tales of Ise provide the context.
To the question: Why not put them on stage? – there is no good reason.
The answer: because , is just a proof of great laziness – and is therefore not valid.

These texts interest me for several reasons – first of all because they are beautiful.
Then because they are easy to stage
And finally because they are very short – and thus allow, in an extraordinary way, to feed the short shows which will come to support the experiences in virtual reality.

And without wanting to sound opportunistic, the virtual reality audience is also, very often, a very Japanese culture loving audience.

Do you want examples?

Here’s a man who travels, and walks, and walks – the further he goes, the further he gets from those he loves. He arrives in front of the sea, he looks at the waves :

More and more
After the places I have left
I sigh
How I envy you
Waves that go back

Or that sad love story – they were separated for three years – when he returned, she had just given up waiting for him – then he left again – she ran after him and could not join him – sat down to kill herself and with her blood composed :
Without sharing my love
He went away
The one I could not hold back
So now I am,
I disappear

As for a large majority of them, they are, truly erotic – that is, a child doesn’t understand anything at all and an adult wonders if he has understood what he has read? What is this strange story of a man who wants to become the wind that passes between the slits of the sumptuous blind of madam?
But the image, if we keep it as it is, in the literal sense, is quite pretty – and it gives a price all the more tasty to this literature a little too unknown on the Western shores.

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