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Edinburgh Fringe 2022

Tea Ceremony

SRSLYyours / Civil Disobedience

Genre: International, Theatre

Venue: ZOO Playground 1


Low Down

Developed around the ancient tradition of a Tea Ceremony, a male geisha (award-winning actor Marios Ioannou) begins to question her role as “servant” and “entertainer” operating in a system based on capital, consummation and ownership. As an icon of beauty, well-trained to seduce her customers through movement, song and dance, the Geisha leads the audience on a journey of modern-day abuse, child labour, human trafficking, torture and slavery, and the high price we pay for our joy and greed.


The traditional tea ceremony in Japan is well known and a geisha is trained to be the consummate host. Geishas learn to walk a certain way in their Kimono, to sing, play instruments, dance and to hold genteel conversations with guests. In this version of a tea ceremony produced by SRSLYyours / Civil Disobedience the focus develops into another aspect.

While there is a tea ceremony at hand, our male geisha in full costume, kimono and jet black sculpted geisha style wig with little dangling ornaments and white face makeup welcomes us.

If you have experienced a tea ceremony you will know the host is genial, polite and it usually happens in a simple but traditional setting. Our host is equally genial and polite gently gesturing us to sit or inviting us to help a little – however the setting, let’s say, has seen better days.

This geisha has experience in this craft and is worldly wise. Soft spoken and mild mannered we watch and listen, empathise, even, as we sense that the years of repeating the same script, the same actions with the same objects are not only at breaking point but also bringing a realization that there is more to life. In fact, life as we know it needs checking because there are so many shocking things happening in front of our eyes.

The geisha’s name translated into english is Chrysanthemum Blossom, a beautiful name that evokes brightness and hope, which is sadly not present in the face under the makeup on this day and there is a good reason. In this play, the geisha is played by renowned actor Marios Ioannou, directed by Achim Wieland and written by Achim Wieland and Marios Ioannou, the crafting is poetic and also explores the ugly underside of the world.

Underscored at times by beautiful music and images, the additional props are carefully selected to shake our expectations and thinking. The show goes through the seasons with each one having a different focus. Throughout the show Ioannou’s stance, walk, gestures and expression, every single well chosen movement is precise and humble…then cracks begin to show…

This solo play tells a meaningful provocative story in an unexpected setting. The play is well crafted with a wonderful multi dimensional performance by Ioannou.