Reviewed by Estelle Rosen
(As a long time admirer of Japanese culture, my visit to Japan many years ago remains the most memorable trip ever.)
MANGA from Belzébrute Productions is the second part of their trilogy of vengeance. Last year they presented part one, Shavirez Gypsy of the Seas.
Some audience members, gathered on the sidewalk after the show, were offended by the way the story was told and by the way the Japanese were portrayed. This wasn’t a history lesson folks. These comments reminded me of an article in Hour last month when an interview about Belzébrute’s production of MANGA elicited many unfavorable comments with regards to the faux-Japanese spoken. Belzébrute have referred to it as Japanese Québecois. Inspired by sounds and words, sometimes we hear French words, sometimes English words. As a movement piece, though, language is insignificant. The movement does the talking. What I saw was creativity at its best. Reminiscent of Kabuki theatre, updated with video and puppetry, live music including drums and flute, the atmosphere becomes vibrant.
The story revolves around a young girl growing up, specifically the changes in Japan history. Remember that MANGA means comic book in Japan. Somewhere between a comic strip and animated film, MANGA doesn’t disappoint.
I would suggest one goes to see MANGA with an open mind. Embrace its creativity, its animation, its humour, and enjoy it for what it is.
But do go see it.