The Water Station

The Water Station is a wordless play written by the Japanese playwright Ota Shogo. It is about loneliness, the need for sustenance and the fragility of love, and is enacted in the tradition of the ‘Theatre of Silence’, visualised by the playwright as being “designed not to exalt human beings to some mystical height, but rather to root them in the fact of ‘being there’”.

For this catalogue, we decided to represent the silence or absence of words with the color black. Black is a powerful metaphor to the silence and loneliness of the play. While no words are spoken in the play, there is a constant trickle of water, from a broken faucet, that flows throughout the duration of the play. The sound of this trickling water, breaks the silence and unites the play by becoming a place where the various travelers depicted in the play pass through and interact.

We decided to use the metaphor of the running water in the play also run through all the pages of the book — from the die-cut on the cover to the blind varnish on the opening page and through the photographs of the play — the trickle of water is omnipresent on all the pages of the book.

While there is text at the beginning of the book and the end, no text is used with the photographs of the play to represent the profound lack of words in the play. On every page throughout the book the stream of water is faintly visible either through die-cut, varnish or photography.

The Water Station was performed in India by director of Theatre, Roots and Wings (Kerala), Sankar Venkateswaran. The performance is a joint collaboration between Theatre Roots and Wings, and the Japan Foundation.