MCA: Toshiki Okada

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God Bless Baseball

Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) – MCA Stage
20 E Chicago Ave
Thursday, January 28 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, January 29 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, January 30 at 7:30 p.m.
Ticket Cost: $30 general, $24 members, $10 students
(subject to availability)


Toshiki Okada formed the theatre company chelfitsch in 1997. Since then he has written and directed all of the company’s productions and has become known for his use of gestural choreography and extremely colloquial Japanese. chelfitsch was named after a deliberate mispronunciation of the English word “selfish,” and has become known for its “theatre of alienation” in conversation with the economic crisis and the cultural aftershocks of Fukushima. Winner of the Kishida Kunio Drama Award, Japan’s most prestigious honor for playwrights, Okada has grown to be the most sought-after Japanese artist in the Western contemporary theater community. Learn more about chelfitsch here

Tadasu Takamine is one of the most controversial, thought provoking, and irreverent video and installation artists currently working in Japan. He has been an artist-in-residence at Jerusalem Center for the Visual Arts, Banff Center for the Arts, and Saw Video Centre for the Media Arts. He has exhibited extensively throughout Asia, North America and Europe, as well as Australia, Israel, Mexico and South Africa. Takamine’s individual performances and moving image works, engage almost masochistic levels of endurance and frequently focus on sexuality, humanity, and the body. Learn more about his work here


God Bless Baseball addresses everyday life in contemporary Japan and South Korea set against a backdrop of the countries’ interactions with the United States. Okada believes that people in Japan and Korea cannot ignore the American influence on their lives, and develops this into a central theme. Positioning the United States as parent and Japan and Korea as brothers heavily influenced by the parent, Okada utilizes his characteristic structure of an episodic narrative to weave references to baseball (an international symbol of America) together with mentions of U.S. military presence in countries, the South Korean mandatory draft, and personal viewpoints. God Bless Baseball represents an American export that is highly popular in both Asian and American culture.

God Bless Baseball will be performed by Japanese actors playing Korean roles (Pijin Neji and Aoi Nozu) and Korean actors playing Japanese roles (Lee Yoon Jae, Kang Cheong Im and Wi Sung Hee). The project is collaboration with visual artist Tadasu Takamine, former member of the celebrated multi-media performance group Dumb Type, whose multimedia set design will add a dynamic layer to this production. Takamine made the comical but provocative video God Bless America (2002) which acts as inspiration for this piece.

Photo credits: Moon So Young

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