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Acrobatic bicyclists to make Shizuoka a stage

by Nobuko Tanaka

Special To The Japan Times

If your Golden Week schedule isn’t full yet, how about visiting a picturesque tea-growing district set against the backdrop of Mount Fuji and enjoying street theater performed by Italian artists?

You can take your pick from eight performance venues staging events from this weekend as an hors d’oeuvre for the main course, which is the annual World Theatre Festival that will kick off in Shizuoka City on June 2.

First up this weekend is a free hourlong street performance titled “Lisbon,” featuring 10 bicycle-riding acrobats from Italy

The story, based on lines written by Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935), will bring a nostalgic sense of “the way Europe was” to small streets in Shizuoka Prefecture, complete with live music and singing.

Anna Stigsgaard, the Danish experimental theater director at the helm of “Lisbon,” said at a recent press conference that she became particularly interested in open-air street performances after seeing them in Italy, and that they are a great chance for artists to meet people who might never go to a theater. She also said she believes they allow local people to make new discoveries about the streets and surroundings they usually take for granted, thus opening both their eyes and the performers’ to new perspectives and discoveries.

“Lisbon” is being performed free in eight places in Shizuoka Prefecture: Numazu, Fujinomiya, Shizuoka City, Hamamatsu, Izu, Kakegawa, Shizuoka Airport and Shimizu Football Stadium from April 28 till May 6. For more information, call SPAC at (054) 203-5730 or visit www.spac.or.jp