Chambre Claire / CHROMA



65 minutes, no intermission

Created through 3 weeks residence in Halle, Germany and premiered in 2008 for the THEATER DER WELT 2008 HALLE

La chambre claire or camera lucida (light chamber) refers to those devices with prisms and mirrors used as aids to life drawing prior to the advent of the camera obscura (dark chamber). The photographic process as we know it today requires the darkness of a “black box” ””camera body, darkroom”” whereas this performance is staged entirely in light.

The year before he died, Roland Barthes wrote a treatise on photography entitled «La chambre claire». We can say this book is also as a requiem for his late mother.

Already quite interested in optics and photography, I chose the title to my own performance for its bright connotations. What inspired me in creating my work, however, is the notion of photographs as proof positive of “THAT-HAS-BEEN,” their power to evoke memories both societal and personal.

- Shiro Takatani

La Chambre Claire (or Camera Lucida) is a show built up from precise, symmetrical movements, inviting spectators to embark on a thought-provoking journey into their most intimate and personal territory. In this, his first solo work as creative artist and director, Shiro Takatani pays homage to the French writer Roland Barthes and his essay on photography, La chambre claire (1980). The result is a performance that blends theatre, the art of movement and installation to compose a great fresco full of subtle, elegant minimalist images that advance towards an aesthetic climax. Reflecting on photography and memory, the production invites us to embark upon an intimate, solitary journey to look inside ourselves and formulate a personal interpretation of what we see.

- from the brochure of Festival GREC (Barcelona, Spain)


Performer: Claire Misako Yabuuchi, Yuko Hirai, Olivier Balzarini, Hiromasa Tomari, Hidekazu Maeda

Stage Manager: So Ozaki

Lighting Design: Seiko Ouchi

Sound Design: Takuya Minami

Computer Program: Ken Furudate

Video Technician: Ichiro Awazu

Company Manager: Yoko Takatani

Production: dumb type office Ltd.

Coproduction: THEATER DER WELT 2008 HALLE

// CHROMA //

70 minutes, no intermission

created during 3 weeks' rehearsal and premiered at Biwako Hall, Shiga, Japan

Chroma is an investigation into the nature of colour, tone and light, a non-story of how we learn to see and create the world we see. A collaborative effort of the entire creative team, all performers and participants contributed ideas from the sciences of physics and harmonics to their most personal associations and remembrances. Simon Fisher Turner's music came first, then the title, which harks back to Chroma: A Book of Colour (1994), the last work by English artist-filmmaker Derek Jarman with whom Simon collaborated on numerous projects. As in the book, the performance intersperses poetry, anecdotes and quotes from such luminaries as Aristotle, Leonardo, Newton, Geothe and Wittgenstein with meditations on the loss of sight””not necessarily limited to Jarman's own AIDS-related blindness and subsequent death. The staging casts time's arrow in reverse, starting from a wish to free the self from death ("Unclose your eyes") and regressing over the course of one day””one lifetime””to birth ("Feedback"). We hope the production may serve as an "eyepiece" and "mirror play" for viewers to reflect (and refract) upon their own chromatic sense of the world.


Director: Shiro Takatani

Performers: Misako Yabuuchi, Yuko Hirai, Olivier Balzarini, Alfred Birnbaum

Music: Simon Fisher Turner, Takuya Minami, Marihiko Hara

CG/Computer programming: Ken Furudate

Stage manager: Nobuaki Oshika

Video technician: Shimpei Yamada

Stage technician: So Ozaki

Conceptual collaboration: Hiromasa Tomari, Alfred Birnbaum

Voices (in order of appearance) : Paolino Accolla (Aristotle, Leonardo), Mark Robinson (Newton), Markus Thinnes (Goethe), Alfred Birnbaum (Wittgenstein, Jarman), U-zhaan (text: Misako Yabuuchi)

Graphic design: Takuya Minami

Company manager: Yoko Takatani (dumb type office Ltd.)

Production: dumb type office Ltd.

Coproduction: Biwako Hall Foundation

Support: The Saison Foundation

Cooperation: Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media [YCAM], Seian University of Art and Design


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Halle, Shiga
65 min