Born in Yokohama, 1973. Graduated from Keio University, Faculty of Business and Commerce. In 1997, Okada began theater activities as the one-man unit “chelfitsch.” The name chelfitsch was created to represent a child’s mispronunciation of the English word selfish. In order to create “works with the potential to go further” Okada uses a methodology, but he makes a point of “not holding on to the methodology to the point where it holds back the work but quickly letting go of it,” which may be strange sort of methodology in itself for creating plays. With the release of the work Karera no Kibo ni Mihare in March of 2001, Okada changed to a style using “super real” Japanese language. This produces works that have a slow-moving and noisy physical aspect. The Yokohama ST Spot became the base for his theater activities. In 2004, Five Days in March was the winner of the 49th Kishida Drama Award. The judges of this award praised Okada’s work for the strong sense of questioning it brings to the systems of theater and the fresh ideas he uses to turn that doubt into creative impetus. The work was also acclaimed for the skill with which it brings out the insubstantiality of present conditions in Japan. The physical presence and movement Okada brings out in his actors have also been recognized as dance, with his dance work Cooler being chosen as one of the finalists in the TOYOTA CHOREOGRAPHY AWARD 2005. In 2007, his play Five Days in March was invited to the Kunsten Festival des Arts in Belgium, which led to increased activities overseas. In 2007, Five Days in March was performed in Brussels and Paris and in 2008 Okada created the work Free Time in a collaborative production with three international festivals (KUNSTENFESTIVALDESARTS/Brussels; Wiener Festwochen/Vienna; Festival d’AUTOMNE/Paris) In 2009 his overseas activities continued, including a performance tour to nine cites in North America.
Five Days in March performed in 14 cities in 9 countries (*2010 performances scheduled for 4 cities in 4 countries) Free Time (international collaborative production) performed in 3 cities in 3 countries Cooler performed in 4 cities in 3 countries Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner, and the Farewell Speech performed in 2 cities in 2 countries(including preview) (*2010 performances scheduled for 9 cities in 8 countries)
Kunsten Festival des Arts
This festival is held every May in Brussels, Belgium. It is a contemporary arts festival focusing primarily on the performing arts. Known for its avant-garde program, it is recognized as one of the “antenna” festivals of the international contemporary arts scene. In contrast to France’s Avignon Festival with its program of mainstream European theater, KFDA strives to present a program with more experimental works and a variety of artists reflecting the wider diversity of arts from around the world. With its own initiatives, the festival seeks to discover and support the production of works by young artists not only from Belgium but throughout Europe and also artists from developing countries that lack arts support systems. In addition to these many productions of young artists’ works, KFDA works to encourage the careers of these artists from a long-term standpoint by involving them in multi-year collaborative production efforts. At the same time, the festival produces new works with established artists from Belgium and the rest of Europe and provides the venues for their world premieres. As one of the epicenters creating new trends in the world’s performing arts, KFDA enjoys strong brand equity. More than 50% of the KFDA program consists of works produced by KFDA or created through KFDA-led collaborative efforts, and half of these will be world premieres in any given year. The founder of KFDA, Frie Leysen , retired as artistic director after the 2006 festival, after which the post was taken over by her assistant artistic director, Christophe Slagmuylder .