After Japan’s great earthquake of 2011, a tsunami almost entirely demolished the region around the city of Rikuzentakata and thousands died. The city is now undergoing immense reconstruction to elevate the area as a countermeasure against future tsunami waves. Using local rocks to raise the land, however, has led to severe damage to surrounding mountains.

In Eraser Mountain, Japanese director Toshiki Okada and visual artist Teppei Kaneuji question this human-centric approach to the problem and ask us to reimagine the relationships between people, objects, and the world:’

Is it possible to create theater not only for the people watching at one moment in time? Can we use theater to present a world in which people and objects are completely equal, rather than trapped in their usual subservient relationship?

Learn more about Toshiki Okada and chelfitsch. Learn more about Teppei Kaneuji.

Office Hours: Coming Soon

Indefinite Article

Karen Shimakawa on Toshiki Okada

Okada explores transhistorical, transnational anomie brought on by contemporary globalization.

Get Into It

Get Thee to the LIbrary

Recommended readings to accompany the Indefinite Article by Karen Shimakawa.

Barbara Bolt and Estelle Barrett (eds.), Carnal Knowledge: Towards a “New Materialism” Through The Arts. I.B. Tauris, 2013

Diana Coole, Samantha Frost (eds.), New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics. Duke University Press, 2010.

David Lochbaum, Edwin Lyman, Susan Q. Stranahan, and the Union of Concerned Scientists, Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster. The New Press, 2014.

Toshiki Okada, The End Of The Moment We Had. Pushkin Press, 2019.

Richard Lloyd Parry, Ghosts of the Tsunami: Death and Life in Japan’s Disaster Zone. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2017.

Read All About It

Jason Zinoman for the New York Times | May 21, 2014

Snapshot | Toshiki Okada

“I’ve changed the way I have written and who I write for. I used to live in Tokyo and write for that audience. Now, I really stretch my imagination to think how my work will be perceived by those who don’t share my language or culture. It’s a big change.”

Jeremy M. Barker for Culturebot | Dec 27, 2011

An Interview With chelfitsch’s Toshiki Okada

“I believe spoken language in theatre is important, but at the same time it is only part of theatre.  And I think also language must affect the body that speaks it.  Language affects not only speech but also the whole performance.”

The Brooklyn Rail | March 2015

Interview: Teppei Kaneuji

When I make an artwork I prioritize process and method, so that the object itself is simply something born from the process. Thus, in a sense, the work is itself the tool. The tools, materials, and artwork are interchangeable.

The Artling | Sept 18, 2014

Interview with Japanese Artist Teppei Kaneuji

“Even though we are looking at the same piece of art or object, how we interpret it differs according to one’s experience or cultural background. The things you know and the things you don’t also differ and that is beyond our control.”

Extra Credit

We’ve picked a book to complement each show in our season. We’ve got novels, short stories, essays, poetry, and memoir. Before opening night of each show (usually Fridays, but not always!), we’ll meet in the lobby for happy hour drinks and discussion. It’s an fun, informal way to find a new favorite book, meet people, and get your brain into gear for the show – even if you haven’t had a chance to read the book yet.

NYU Skirball Book Club | Friday, Feb 28, 2020

The End of the Moment We Had by Toshiki Okada

Two brilliant, multi-layered stories, demonstrating the fluidity and richness of this extraordinarily gifted writer’s language and ideas.