A.M. is a feature length music theatre performance for soprano, four musicians, sound tracks and a large video installation.
A.M. is conceived by composer and director Arnoud Noordegraaf, it explores the deep, mysterious and somewhat exotic heart of Tokyo city night life. Inspired by the writings of much appraised best selling author Haruki Murakami, Noordegraaf dove deep into the city of Tokyo, to find the heart of this immense and dense society. From this, a new and sparkling story evolved, collaborating with British playwright Adrian Hornsby.
A.M. spans one night in Tokyo, in the ghostly hours between dusk and dawn. The story lines of two young people wandering the streets for various reasons, run parallel in a narrative style that is both hypnotizing and metaphysical. Time, space, memory and perspective are cleverly woven together in a contemplation on human nature.
The dense way this city is built, and the tight social and cultural structure of its inhabitants, make Tokyo into a great metaphor for society, be it in the East or the West. This giant ant hill represents in a way all ways in which we flock together and try to cope with one another.
Apart from Tokyo itself, Murakami’s writings form a great inspiration for this theme. His combination of humour, psychology, imagination and a profound understanding of the human mind, are translated by Hornsby and Noordegraaf into a layered multi disciplinary work. Narrative, music and video roll into one.
This resulted in a performance that is both theatre and sculpture, where décor and auditorium have merged, in a setting of a small ensemble, multiple loudspeakers, a baroque soprano and a multitude of video images.
The images form a lively urban landscape around the spectator. The video installation will define the physical space that binds the audience to the soprano, and to the narrative itself. It represents both physical and virtual space.
The audience is immersed in Tokyo night life, in a story that explores the very heart of society. Our own Western society in fact, the ways our culture might evolve.
In the West we are born as an individual, and as a group we are drifting, we need weekly polls to know how we function as a group. In Japan it’s almost the other way around. One is born in a tight social structure, and the search - struggle even, to find a personal identity is much greater.
Now, in times of economic uncertainty and unstable social coherence, we may start to wonder where our preferred personal social boundaries are. How is our society, our enormous ant hill formed? Is there any hope? A flickering spark of light at the end of a long dark night?
Tokyo is the perfect metaphor for this; by regarding a slice of Japanese culture through A.M.’s looking glass, the Western audience can recognise their own situation mirrored in this seemingly far away world.
For his composition Noordegraaf used a broad spectrum of colours and city sounds, recorded during various lengthy night time sessions wandering through the streets of Tokyo. He scored for a (Baroque) soprano an ensemble four players panned out over multiple loud speakers. Noordegraaf musically shapes the contemplation from an exotic culture, mirroring to the West and back to the East too.