Tetsuwari Crack Iron Albatrossket

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Tetsuwari Crack Iron Albatrossket is an experimental theatre troupe and may be Japan’s premier dramatic ironists and meta-comedians. Tetsuwari’s leader and playwright Inui Akito descends from a long line of famous actors/writers, but he’s also a student of Monty Python, The Harder They Come, and modernist drama.

Usually based in a community center in old-timey Nezu, their short segments deconstruct traditional shitamachi culture and theatre itself through self-reference and absurdist techniques. Characters talk in parallel directions, rarely understanding each other, whether they be discussing the pirate chic of dead canaries, the mystery of hard-boiled eggs, high-quality glass polishing for uptown bars, or prophecies involving Damo Suzuki and an elephant-shaped Trojan Horse. There’s also a surplus of dance routines and male choral group parodies with synchronized kleenex waving.

Tetsuwari avoids the trap of dramatic pretension through their mix of “real” actors and stumbling amateurs: It’s hard by the end to tell if the guy in the state-provided glasses is pretending to forget his lines or just forgetting his lines. At the very least, they blow the entire mainstream o-warai world out of the water. And I would postpone final judgment on the possibilities of Japanese comedy until experiencing the live Tetsuwari show.

W. David MARX (Marxy)
April 12, 2005

Marxy wrote a lot of essays back on his old site Néomarxisme. This is one of them.

One Response

  1. r. Says:

    i can’t believe this post didn’t get any comments other than this one.
    anyway, thanks for taking me to see them the other day, david.
    i think we could fill a whole blog chock full of writing about this group and still not scratch the surface.
    hope they get the attention they deserve.
    best,
    r.