A surrealist physical performance piece inspired by Antonin Artaud, KATA, explores masculinity through it’s title. A Japanese word describing specific behavioural conditioning that emphasizes the learning and reinforcement of patterns through repetition.
In KATA, four subjects are born into a dystopian world, not unlike our own, where, through the inheritance and perpetuation of long-established masculine expectations, they are bred into perfect soldiers. Observed by an audience of investors, the demands of the war industry and of fellow peers systematically enforce gender norms, hardening these men into products sold to satisfy the needs of external forces. As the product test progresses and the veneer of masculinity cracks, the audience is left asking, “ Is this a sustainable investment?”
KATA combines content and form in a way that merges theatre and performance art. In an attempt to present the unrealistic construction of the “ideal male”, our performers commit their bodies and minds to the exploration of “toxic masculinity”. They suffer through repetitive physical training, sacrifice their personal vices, and work tirelessly to attain physical and mental control. In this process they question their own masculinity, their loyalties to their art, and if this form is worth subscribing to.
We hope KATA will aid in the study of gender to better understand the development of masculinity and therefore understand the gender binary and its inequality more thoroughly as a whole.