Toshiki Okada’s ‘Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner and the Farewell Speech’ at L.A. Theatre Center


A scene from “Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner, and the Farewell Speech” at Laforet Museum Harajuku in May 2010. (Photo by Toru Yokota)

Toshiki Okada’s “Chelfitsch: Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner, and the Farewell Speech” will be performed at the Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, on Friday and Saturday, June 17-18, at 8:30 p.m. and Sunday, June 19, at 3 and 8 p.m.

The 70-minute show, which is in Japanese with English titles, is being presented by the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center and RedCat as part of the Radar L.A. Festival, and is funded in part by the Agency of Cultural Affairs of Japan.

Born in Yokohama in 1973, Okada formed Chelfitsch (, his theater company, in 1997 and has written and directed all of its productions. The company’s name, which is Okada’s coinage, represents the baby-like disarticulation of the word “selfish” and is meant to evoke the social and cultural characteristics of today’s Japan.

Stylishly idiosyncratic, Okada is known for crafting sharp and visually vibrant works of theater out of the most ordinary of interactions. In “Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner, and the Farewell Speech,” his performers wrestle with issues as seemingly banal as selecting a restaurant for dinner or the workings of an office climate control system, and as awkward as the departure of a young co-worker.

Deadpan dialogue is layered with an elaborate and evocative gestural vocabulary, adding humor and depth to the proceedings. Each section of “Hot Pepper” is marked by a distinct musical backdrop, while Okada builds his complex choreographic alchemy and action-driven vision that has been celebrated at festivals worldwide.

Le Soir, a Belgian newspaper, said in its review, “A singular language, made of hijacked rituals and obsessive poetry, captivates from start to finish.”

Admission is $20. For more information, call (213) 237-2800 or visit

Event parking is available at several locations off Main and Sixth streets for $5 to $6.


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