In Puccini’s opera, a 15-year old geisha is given in marriage to an American soldier, who promptly returns home after impregnating her. She waits for three years for him to return, ultimately commits suicide upon discovering that he got married to an American wife in the meantime. Still popular nowadays, the essence of this opera remains tied to the orientalist gaze cast upon Japanese women.
Playwright and director Satoko Ichihara, who boldly and elaborately depicts unease around human life and sexuality in her work, has decided to take on this story as the base for a new theatre performance for Theater Neumarkt in Zurich. How might we, today, transcend matters of good and evil to laugh off this irredeemable melodrama? Written in the past, how will these words be transformed in the here and now by passing through the bodies of those who live in Tokyo or in Europe in 2021? Satoko Ichihara intends to invert the asymmetrical desires of Madama Butterfly’s stereotypes of Japan / women as seen from the West / men).