The Legend of Maha-Laba Village

written and directed by Manri Kim

A story about genesis and decay in an isolated microcosm

"Maha-Laba Mura" (Maha-Laba village) was a commune of people with cerebral palsy; this commune existed in Ibaragi prefecture in Japan from the mid to late 1960s. (Note: "Maha-Laba)

The conditions and experiences in this isolated commune led to the development of the ideas and policies of the Blue-Lawn Party. This party led an intense liberation movement of disabled people in the 1970s. Their political action plan said:

"We are aware that we ourselves are the people with cerebral palsy."
"We assert ourselves strongly."
"We deny "love" and "justice"."
"We deny the civilization built by the non-disabled."
"We stop at nothing to solve our problems."

The party's beliefs and actions were a challenge directed toward the value system of non-disabled society and its eugenic ideology. The party's intensity was a shock to the non-disabled world, but the movement collapsed before long. (Note: "Blue-lawn party" movemants and TAIHEN)

The piece is not a historical account of the Maha-Laba village or the Blue Lawn Party.

Photo: Kohji Fukunaga

It is a story about the genesis and decay of an isolated microcosm. People with no place in society escaped into the microcosm and build their own life.

We try to picture this story as a myth, to symbolize true nature of the universal existence of human beings.

TAIHEN's stage works are without words. The works are "physical theatre" in which physically disabled performers try to turn their distorted bodies and ungainly movement into symbolic expression.

TAIHEN will speak about "Maha-Laba village" confronting a civilization steeped in the ideology of erasing disabled people, but it is not a story about disabled people only. Rather, we speak of universal human existence.

Photo: Kohji Fukunaga




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* Maha-Laba : The Sanskrit "Maha" means "great", and "Laba" means "cry".

* "Blue Lawn Party" movements and TAIHEN : Manri KIM, artistic director of TAIHEN, was once a member of BLP, but she left because it could not find a path of creation and construction, the next stage which should follow the destructive energy of antithesis. She turned to physical arts in which she directs questions to the "ordinary" aesthetics.