Oiwa 2022 / Collaboration

In an abstract immensity, between life and death, mental state and holding on for survival, Oiwa creates a vision of the fragile balance between attraction and repulsion, suffering and solace. We become witnesses of the psychological and physical forces at work in a couple’s relationship. The duet puts before us a paradox: within the perfect balance, there is always a possibility to fall and break the balance by giving yourself completely. Do you take the risk, or do you try to keep control to avoid falling? Do the plunges that break the balance happen by accident, or are they voluntary?

The title comes from the classical Japanese story of Oiwa. Set in the 17th century, and based on real events, at the heart of the story is Oiwa, who was happily married until her husband fell in love with another woman. Driven by the desire to be with his mistress, the husband decided to slowly poison Oiwa, thus avoiding any possible accusation of murder. Throughout her gradual demise, she suffered greatly, with her hair falling out and her face starting to deform. After her death, however, Oiwa vowed to take revenge for the harm she suffered. She returned as an onryō, a ghost that seeks revenge. Writers would later use the myth to challenge traditional views of male and female roles, and Oiwa’s story and transformation into a ghost became a defense of women’s positions in Japan.

Oiwa was created by Franck Chartier with the dancers of the Ballet de Marseille. It is set to music by composer Atsushi Sakaï and sound designer Raphaëlle Latini, inspired by La Sonnambula by Vincenzo Bellini. The starting point for the performance itself was the love duet created in The hidden floor with the dancers of Nederlands Dans Theater in 2017, and afterwards adapted in Peeping Tom’s own Triptych. In The hidden floor, a couple is put into an extreme context – a sinking ship that is slowly taken over by the forces of nature – in which they are trying to survive. Oiwa presents an evolution in the couple’s story, venturing into a supernatural state of mind, a dimension made up of memories, imagination and ghosts of past and future lovers.

The duet is the first collaboration between Peeping Tom and the Ballet de Marseille. It will be a part of the program Roommates, an evening that combines six pieces from the repertoire of the Ballet de Marseille. It will premiere at the Théâtre de la Ville Paris, at the Espace Cardin, on 25 May 2022.


Tour Dates

May 2022
25ParisThéâtre de la Ville
26ParisThéâtre de la Ville
27ParisThéâtre de la Ville
28ParisThéâtre de la Ville
29ParisThéâtre de la Ville
31ParisThéâtre de la Ville
June 2022
01ParisThéâtre de la Ville
02ParisThéâtre de la Ville
03ParisThéâtre de la Ville
04ParisThéâtre de la Ville
July 2022

Concept and direction
Franck Chartier

Created with and performed by the dancers of the Ballet de Marseille
Sarah Abicht, Nonoka Kato, Daniel Alwell, Dovydas Strimaitis, Martha Eckl, Riley Fitzgerald, Jonatan Myhre Jorgensen, Aya Sato, Antoine Vander Linden, and César Faria Fernandes (NDT), Chloé Albaret (NDT)

Artistic assistance
Louis-Clément da Costa

Composition & Sound design
Raphaëlle Latini

Acoustic composition
Atsushi Sakaï

La Sonnambula performed by
Marie Lombard (voice), Marion Martineau, Robin Pharo, Atsushi Sakaï (viola da gamba), Erwan Boulay (sound engineer)

Light design
Eric Wurtz

Franck Chartier

Assistant costumes
Héloïse Bouchot

Ballet national de Marseille – direction (LA)HORDE

Théâtre de la Ville-Paris