I learnt how to create a piece by negotiating cultural differences, it was as if we were trying to create our own context.

Keiko Yamaguchi is currently working as an actor in  Les Misérables  and Verona Story -from Romeo and Juliet, productions by ACO Okinawa, a company that organizes ricca ricca* festa.  Read on to learn more:

Both plays are collaboration productions between ACO Okinawa and Compagnia Rodisio from Italy.  Les Misérables was created in 2016, and has been presented in the ricca ricca festival every year since. Verona Story was devised at the end of 2021 at the Teatro Delle Briciole in Parma, Italy where Compagnia Rodisio is based, and premiered in Okinawa in January this year, and this summer was the second time we have performed in front of an audience.

What excited you about this project/role: It is exciting for me to perform such masterpieces, in a style of two-people playing with objects. In Les Misérables, I play various characters including Fantine, Cosette, Javert, Marius, Bishop, people in the city, and narration. In Verona Story which is based on Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare, I also play multiple characters on top of my main character, Juliet.

Keiko performs a scene in Verona

Verona story images by Compagnia Rodisio.

How do you apply what you learnt at Rose Bruford College to your day-to-day work?
In Japan, I have been involved in many projects with international artists. The biggest learning I took from my Rose Bruford days, is the experience of working with my classmates from different places around the world. I learnt how to create a piece by negotiating cultural differences, it was as if we were trying to create our own context. And the sensitivity towards physical expression in relation with vocals I built during my study in European Theatre Arts and my collaboration with Matthieu Bellon, my teacher at that time, always helped me in creation.

What did you enjoy most about your studies?

Finding out what my body could do. And how the body connects to emotion and vice versa. I could enjoy exploring that because of the language barrier I had.

What is your advice to any students considering or studying this course now?

I believe European Theatre Arts is a course where you can explore many different kinds of things in your own way. The ability to throw yourself to the unknown and the creativity/strength to build up something out of it will help you in any kind of situation in the future . Especially if you are someone from a country outside of the UK, enjoy your time of being different and be innovative about your own expression.

 Is there anything else you’d like to say?

I’m very grateful that I saw Jeremy (our Actor Musicianship MA Course Director) in Okinawa in Japan, and got a chance to catch up with the college in this way. It seems that the network of the Rose Bruford has been expanded more and more and reached Japan. I hope this network will be carried on and give various opportunities to emerging artists from the Rose Bruford College.

Read more about the ricca ricca*festa in Japan.

Les Misérables images by Tomoaki Kudaka.