Karen Lee Tawaryama has been interviewing Kyoto people on her blog, Kyoto Faces. In her latest piece she writes of the non-verbal long-running performance called GEAR, which in 2015 was voted on TripAdvisor one of the city’s best attractions! In the interview below, she questions Yoppy, one of the dance performers about the show and his involvement. [For more about Karen’s blog, please see here.]
A: I began breakdancing when I was eighteen years old. Until then, I taught hip hop, but I saw someone breakdancing at Kyoto Station and thought it was really cool. At that time, I was with Katsu, another breakdancer in GEAR. I started acting in GEAR about three years ago.
Can you tell your perspective about the GEAR story? What do you feel when you’re acting in the show, and what would you like to convey to the audience?
A: In the show, I’m the yellow robot, who acts as a bit of a fool. In that role, I always try to smile to show my positive attitude and that I’m having fun.
How about the meaning behind the character Doll?
A: Because of the doll’s appearance, each robot discovers his own originality. Over time, the tension builds and everyone starts to have fun together. At the beginning, all of the robots are the same and their routine is rigid, but because of the doll, this all changes. The robots take on their own personalities and talents, and they begin to “feel”. In my opinion, it’s this kind of story.
What’s your favorite part of the play, and also the part your consider the most difficult?
A: I love it when everyone is running around the desk on the revolving stage. There’s a big surge of excitement and there’s a big flurry of activity. That’s really fun for me. As for the difficult part, hmm… There’s a part where, even though I had been moving around, I suddenly have to freeze in place. I always get nervous about that.
What’s your “Kyoto #1”?
A: I live in the neighborhood of Toji Temple, but I often go to the mountain beside Fushimi Inari Taisha, Mount Inari, for training. I climb all the way up the mountain. There’s a place at the very top where the view is really beautiful and you can buy a small juice for 200 yen. I love the satisfying feeling of opening and drinking that juice at the summit.
YOPPY, thank you very much for your time and a wonderful performance!!
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
GEAR performances take place on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 2pm and 7pm, and Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays at 12pm and 5pm. Tickets without reservations are on sale one hour before the show at the show venue. If it is your birthday month, you are also eligible to receive a small gift!
For more detailed information about the show, or to reserve tickets, please refer to the GEAR website: (English): http://www.gear.ac/en/