TOKYO | The horn sounds, and the horror begins : zombies lurk around your car, the blood spatters on your windshield. In Japan, a show of haunted house is is adapted version of “self” to guard against the coronavirus, a threat far more real.
A small troupe of Tokyo, Kowagarasetai (” A team that wants to make afraid “) had the idea of the concept after having been confronted with cancellations cascading on the performance of his usual haunted house because of the pandemic.
As this attraction combines all the defects in these times of social distancing : a confined space, people stick to each other and screaming at the top of your lungs.
“We’ve lost 80% of our customers” because of the health crisis, explains to the AFP Kenta Iwana, 25 years old, actor and producer of the company.
“We even have shows for Halloween in October-November have been cancelled,” adds the director of the troupe, Ayaka Imaide, 34 years of age.
“There was a moment, our revenues have fallen virtually to zero “, adds the one that also plays in the troop.
“Much more scary “
It was then that Kenta Iwana had the idea.
With ” a device in which the clients remain in the interior of the car, and the ghost comes to frighten them from the outside, you could create a haunted house where visitors could have fun while being reassured vis-à-vis the coronavirus “, he explains.
In their vehicles, the spectators can scream as much as they want, without masks. To accentuate the tension, the speakers are slid in the passenger compartment for distributing sound effects and voices recorded, on which the players on the outside must lock.
This new format could well be even more chilling than that of a haunted house classic, according to Mr. Iwana.
“In a haunted house regular, we can always run away when the phantom appears, ( … ). In this version “self”, one is locked and one cannot go anywhere, which is much more scary “, pleaded he.
The stories of ghosts and haunted houses are popular in Japan, where they are traditionally associated with the summer season.
The reason for this association is not clearly established. Some argue that this is linked to the belief that the spirits of the deceased return during the summer. Others argue that by giving cold sweats, these stories allow you to cool off during the hot and humid nights of the summer of nippon.
After Kenta Iwana, the custom began when secondary roles of the kabuki, the form of epic, the traditional japanese theater, began to play tales of ghosts when the stars were absent during the summer months.
“Continue to have fun “
Kota Hanegawa, another actor of the troupe, especially appreciated the proximity with the audience that allows him to format “.
“It is closer (spectator, ED) even if it is through the glass and that we must adhere to the social distancing,” says the actor, 28-year-old, the cheeks and the shirt stained with false blood.
“It is rather funny to” be able to see up close the reactions of the passengers, ” he adds.
“For some the solution might be to wait patiently,” the end of the health crisis, “but in our case, we wanted to continue the haunted houses, leaves to change the shape, continue to scare and amuse people,” explains the director Ayaka Imaide.
The public seems to be captivated : advance tickets for the next representation of the gang in a garage in Tokyo in July are already exhausted.
The state of emergency in Japan came to an end last month, and restrictions for sporting events and entertainment are being gradually phased out.
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