2023 Volume 3 Issue 1 Pages 26-38
This essay gives a critical reading of Woyzeck (2013) and Over the Rainbow (2014), two stage productions by Performance Troupe Taihen. Based in Osaka since 1983, Taihen's ensemble of actors all live with severe disabilities. The backdrop to the analysis of these two plays is the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, to which Over the Rainbow was a direct response. The essay questions the role that corporeality plays in the mediation of environmental catastrophe, and considers the relationship between contamination, disability and institutional power. The essay contains five main sections. The first section introduces Taihen, drawing attention to the group's ongoing concern with the politics of eugenics. The second section defines the term “contamination” in relation to media discourses surrounding the Fukushima event. The third section addresses the themes of discourse and mediation in the context of institutional power, drawing on Michel Foucault's notion of “bodily inscription” and Alain Badiou's concept of the “event” to establish a relationship between contamination, Taihen and Georg Buchner's play, Woyzeck. The final two sections recast these elements in an analysis of the two productions by Taihen.