The Opportunity of Efficiency


The Opportunity of Efficiency

April 2013

Inspired by the growth of efficiency as a force for change in society and the influence of big business on national and international affairs, The Opportunity of Efficiency is a story of small lives caught up in a global power struggle.

Bio-scientist Iffy Scott has made a discovery that could save millions of lives – but, it seems, not everyone thinks it’s a good idea.

Alan Harris (writer of National Theatre Wales’ first ever production, A Good Night Out in the Valleys) returns to create the company’s first ever international commission, produced by theNew National Theatre, Tokyo.

Location: In Tokyo, Japan
Members: 55
Latest Activity: May 17, 2016

To stay up to date with the show, and follow NTW staff members on their adventures in Japan, we've created a Storify Story of all the tweets and updates from Tokyo. 

Read it here

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Comment by Matt Ball on April 10, 2013 at 2:50

Whilst i'm in Japan, I'm out and about meeting artists, and giving talks about the work of NTW, and particularly WalesLab.

When we looked at the residency model for this years work, we decided that it shouldn't just include shows but all the other activity the company undertakes. So whilst John is busy directing The Opportunity of Efficiency, and Abdul is making the Assembly, I'm on the road making an amazing offer.

We're looking for two Japanese (or Japan based) artists to bring to Wales in 2014 to have a WalesLab residency.

Over the last two days I've left Tokyo and headed south-west to Kobe. Here I met the wonderful people at Dance Box. A not for profit organisation, in the heart of its local community. They had been kind enough to invite me to speak at a meeting of OPAM, an organisation of producers from across Japan, to introduce NTW's work and explain how WalesLab operates. As well as the producers we were joined by local artists.

The founder of Dance Box talked about having relocated the venue from Osaka, following the earthquake, there was a presentation from a company who combine the traditions of Japanese & Korean Dance & drumming, and a community radio company set up in the aftermath of the earthquake to provide a focal point for local information. We were also joined by the local councilor who gave a great presentation explaining how important dancebox was to the local community.

After about 4hrs of talking we decamped to a local Burmese restaurant to talk theatre, dance, family and food.

Comment by Katherine Jewkes on April 8, 2013 at 17:29

Here's my latest #NTWJapan Blog. Day 2. and I've been busy! enjoy! kx

Comment by Katherine Jewkes on April 3, 2013 at 10:54

Ah! It all sounds super, guys. Can't wait to see you all on Saturday!

Comment by Michelle Carwardine-Palmer on April 3, 2013 at 10:52
Suited and booted I headed to the Welsh Government offices in Akasaka, Tokyo today and met Mr Takeharu (Tiger) Nakagima, Ms Yoko Kobori and Mr Goro Okada to talk about our production. Ms Kobori was very impressed with the Japanese cast for the production - many of whom are well known television actors here in Japan.

We had a wonderful conversation about Wales and made many connections with locations and people - Tiger regularly runs along the Cardiff Bay barage, touches the Penarth rocks and then heads back in to The city. In June there will be a delegation from Cardiff (including the Minister Edwina Hart)joining the Tokyo team and the Welsh rugby team too, so lots of cultural exchanges throughout the year.

On Opening Night we hope to be joined by some of the Clwb Hiraeth members (which means Longing) - members are previous executives of Japanese companies in Wales, such as Panasonic in Pentwyn and Sony in Brigend (42 Japanese companies in total have businesses in Wales). One of our guests was the Chairman of Clwb Hiraeth and was one of the first Japanese businessmen to work in Wales in 1972 and his daughter was born in Cardiff hospital. We also hope that some of the St David's Society can join us too.

Today I have also received email responses from the Tokyo Metropolitan theatre and the Japan Foundation so hope to meet them too. The new Kabuki Theatre also reopened yesterday so I hope to visit that (I think tickets may be scarce but will try).

Tonight it is a meal with John, Alan, Abdul and Matt so I hope their local knowledge will lead to a pucker Japanese cuisine experience rather than the cop out I managed last night, pizza! I blame jet lag for my lack of adventure.
Comment by National Theatre Wales on April 3, 2013 at 9:23

It's been an eventful week - with a sick cast member, a visit from scientists, and the set being built.  Here's all the news in Rehearsal Blog 5.

Comment by abdul shayek on April 2, 2013 at 16:49
Comment by Matt Ball on April 2, 2013 at 6:13

Life can be strange.

This time last week I'd nipped home to have lunch with my baby daughter, before heading over to Newport to seeTin Shed's new space in an old MFI. This Monday I'm on  a train to London as the first leg of my Journey to Tokyo.

My only previous experience of Tokyo was a brief stopover in Narita airport on the way to Auckland. On that occasion we had been supposed to be going via Brunei, but a cancellation and dash round Heathrow trying to get seats on a pre Christmas flight had left us with an 8 hour wait in frustratingly close to Tokyo. I bought what I thought were calamari, but turned out to be onion rings - not an auspicious first trip. This time it's going to be very different.... 

Japan has always been on my 'go to' list - with it's beautiful No & Kabuki Theatre's, Bunraku puppets, and in more contemporary practice the work of Tadashi Suzuki was a big influence on me. In fact I spent a couple of years doing weekly Suzuki training under various teachers - including Ichiro Nakayama - who played the title role in Suzuki's Lear.  But all that is in the past - why am I going to Japan?

This is a question I've been asked quite a few times recently.  So here's a brief explanation. At NTW I look after WalesLab, our artist development initiative, which support new voices and exciting ideas. Part of our funding for this project involves giving opportunities for Welsh artists to work in new contexts and for international artists to come and work in Wales. So this is what I'm mainly working on in Japan.

I'll be giving a talk at Dance Box in Kobe next week, and one in Tokyo, visiting venues in Osaka, Yokahama & Kyoto, and hopefully meeting some really exciting artists and seeing some of their work. The main thrust of this is to offer a couple of artists the opportunity to come and make something in a Welsh context, to be inspired by what's happening here and to inspire us with their ways of working.

The opportunity for makers not attached to large institutions to travel internationally with their work is rare, so I'm aware how lucky I am to be going, and how much of an opportunity it would be for the artists to come here.  I'm also aware that many of you would like similar opportunities - and to that I say we're working on it...

If you know someone I should meet or see the work of in Japan, please do get in touch; all leads gratefully received.

Comment by Michelle Carwardine-Palmer on March 31, 2013 at 15:06

Another busy week of pre-Japan preparation - I have practiced with my chop sticks with some Sushi; watched an amazing performance by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales - conducted by the fantastic Taaaki Otaka (who, in 2010 became Artistic Director of the New National Theatre Tokyo) with brilliant guest solo performances from Adam Walker, Anthony Marwood and Lawrence Power.  WMC kindly invited me to their interval reception where I also met the CEO of Sony, MD of Panasonic and Minister Edwina Hart - all of whom were very complimentary of our future endeavours and are excited to hear all about it when we return. Since Thursday I have also attempted to adjust to Japan time by waking up at 4am!!!  Friday evening I went to see Sutra by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and the Shaolin Temple monks and design by Antony Gormley - another brilliant evening of 'Bullet Proof Monk, meets Jenga, meets The Cube' extravaganza....I loved it. And finally a few hours of wrapping gifts and then trying to find somewhere in the suitcase to pack them in. Today I have been scrolling through Google Maps and walking the digital streets of Tokyo so I know whether to turn left or right out of the tube station to get to the apartment - it does freak me out that you can walk in to a shop on these do they do that?!!  So far I have noticed a number of American fast food chains and lots of Tokyo residents wearing face masks.  Hopefully I shall make it in one piece.  

Some questions for you all;

What is the one thing we should do whilst in Tokyo/Japan?

What is the one thing we should eat?

What is the one thing we should not eat?

Are there any cultural events we should go to?

Who should we meet?

What do you want to know while we are out there?

Next posting will be from the other side of this world, until then Ogenki de


Comment by abdul shayek on March 29, 2013 at 10:50

アッセンブリー Assembly in Japanese!

Comment by abdul shayek on March 27, 2013 at 15:55

Yes what a great story.  I don't get very touched by animal stories but certainly Heichiko & Gelert are quite touching......


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