Produced and Presented by: inkBoat, U.S./Japan Cultural Trade Network and San Francisco International Arts Festival.
Co-Directors: Ko Murobushi and Shinichi Iova-Koga
Performed by: Sherwood Chen, Ko Murobushi, Shinichi Iova-Koga and Peiling Kao
Composers: Shahzad Ali Ismaily, Carla Kihlstedt and Matthias Bossi
Lighting Design: Allen Willner
Props: Frank Lee
Construction: Aaron Rapljenovic
Publicity Manager: Jochelle Pereña
Photography: Pak Han
Special Thanks to: Frank Lee for years of support and belief, Saara Reidsema for locating sand and salt and bones, Dan Rathbun for making the lever action, Dana Iova-Koga for keeping an eye on the money for her role in previous versions, Kyoko and Andrew for believing and supporting this work and to communities supporting our tour in Arcata, Santa Monica, New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco. Also, thank you to the likes of Nina Simone and Tom Jones.
We are working with the ripples left by a long dead Buddhist monk. Ikkyu Sojun struck us for his ability to see beyond the conventional thinking of his time. He embraced the completeness of life and not the façade.
"Who will not end up as a skeleton? We appear as skeletons covered with skin, male and female, and lust after each other. When the breath expires, though, the skin ruptures, sex disappears, and there is no more high or low. Underneath the skin of the person we fondle and caress right now is nothing more than a bare set of bones. Think about it - high and low, young and old, male and female, all the same. Awaken to this one great matter and you will immediately comprehend the meaning of “unborn and undying.”
Have a good look - stop the breath, peel off the skin, and everybody ends up looking the same. No matter how long you live, the result is not altered. Cast off the notion that “I exist.” Entrust yourself to the windblown clouds, and do not wish to live forever.
In this world,
All things, without exception,
Death itself is
Delusion makes it appear that though the body dies, the soul endures - this is a grave error. The enlightened declare that both body and soul perish together. “Buddha” is emptiness, and heaven and earth return to the original ground of being. I’ve set aside the eighty thousand books of scripture and given you the essence in this slim volume. This will bring you great bliss.
To leave behind
Is yet another kind of dream
When I awake I know that
There will be no one to read it.
~selections from Skeletons by Ikkyu Sojun, translated by John Stevens, from his Wild Ways