Stormy House is a mixed media project produced by Whitestone Arts for presentation in the UK and Japan in 2018 for the 200th birthday of Emily Brontë. The performance will combine text, dance, inscription, visuals and augmented reality and will invoke the ghost scenes from Wuthering Heights alongside Japanese ghost tales (kaidan) as translated by Lafcadio Hearn at the turn of the 20th century.
We are delighted to have received funding from the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and the Artists International Development Fund (Arts Council England/British Council) for a 2-week visit to Japan in May 2017. Playwright Judith Adams, visual artist Simon Warner and performer Stacey Johnstone will record landscapes, make contacts at Kyoto Art Centre, the Lafcadio Hearn Museum in Matsue and Doshisha Women’s College in Kyoto. We will also explore sections of the poet Basho’s ‘Narrow Road to the Deep North’.
In the depths of the Dark House and shadows, we placed Woman, marking her as the whitest of beings; but only the face and hands. The teeth were painted black, the lips green-black, the eyebrows shaved. She was as a spectre: might not the Darkness have emerged from her mouth and black teeth, from the black of her hair, like the thread from a great Earth Spider?
Tanizaki: In Praise of Shadows
As the novels of Tanizaki, Murakami, Soseki, Enchi, Idemitsu, Ishiguro and Mizumura testify, the western and eastern traditions of gothic – these vampire dramas of the excluded, the marginal and the enslaved – are yoked in magnetic attraction and repulsion; yet why is never clear. Inside and outside the Stormy House ghosts, doublings, split personas, women and ghost children lurk at our windows and in the dark shadows of the Room (camera), ignored through the edicts of men at the world’s ultimate peril.
Emily located her childhood imaginary Queendom of Gondal in ‘the North Pacific Ocean’, we found during research, making Japan a likely location for her imaginary landscape. The coincidence was too good to ignore – something Einstein might describe as ‘spooky action at a distance’.
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