More Please — Butoh at the Fringe in “Shilo Kloko”

By Ernest Kearney  —  It is a pity that Shilo Kloko was at the Fringe so briefly, because it offers a wonderful opportunity to experience Butoh dance theatre and Japanese puppetry art.

Butoh, which rose as a reaction to the inclusion of Western Ballet and modern dance in Japan after World War II, avoids easy definition.  But its emphasis on distress motion, resistance to approachable narrative structure and acceptance of grotesquerie all can be seen as a rejection of Western aesthetic.

American audiences have been exposed to Butoh concepts in the New Wave Cinema of “J-horror,” which shows Butoh influence in films such as Audition and the Ringu series.

With three performers on stage,—Walter Santucci, Yoriko Murakami and primary Ningyōtsukai (puppeteer) Noa Kobayashi Shilo Kloko presents the audience with Platinum Medalwildly imaginative and, at times, disturbing images.  Kobayashi at one point squats on a chair and a torrent of bright red beans pour out from between her legs as she gives birth to a white-cloth puppet baby which she trusts to the care of an audience member.

Shilo Kloko also employs video projection and choir-singing to create a world simultaneously dreamlike and nightmarish; but one that is always fascinating to experience.

A well-earned PLATINUM and the sincere hope that they return to the Hollywood Fringe and stay longer.


♦    ♦    ♦


Shilo Kloko

Played During the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2018

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An award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note who has hoisted glasses with Orson Welles, been arrested on three continents and once beat up Charlie Manson. His first play, "Among the Vipers" was a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition and was featured in the Carnegie-Mellon Showcase of New Plays. It was produced at the NPT Theater in Ashland, Oregon and Los Angeles’ celebrated Odyssey Ensemble Theatre. His following play, “The Little Boy Who Loved Monsters” was produced at The Hollywood Actors Theater, where he earned praise from the Los Angeles Times for his “…inordinately creative writing.” The play went on to numerous other productions including Berlin’s The Black Theatre under the direction of Rainer Fassbinder who wrote in his program notes of Kearney, “He is a skilled playwright, but more importantly he is a dangerous one.” Ernest Kearney has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist, three times, in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His work has been performed by Michael Dunn, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jack Colvin and Billy Bob Thornton, and to date, either as playwright or director, he has upwards of a hundred and thirty productions under his belt, including a few at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater as puppeteer. Kearney remains focused on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. His stage reviews and social essays can be found at and Follow him on Facebook.

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