A Geisha’s Tea Ceremony in Paphos


Geishas have intrigued the artistic and cultural world for decades, and appearances in films, books and plays giving an insight into their craft and role in society. As part of her responsibilities, a Geisha holds a tea ceremony, an ancient Japanese tradition, and a play in Paphos this week attempts to portray this scene and all that entails to the life and troubles of a Geisha.

The monologue titled Tea Ceremony under the direction of Achim Wieland with Marios Ioannou embodying the Geisha will be presented today and on Friday at Ibrahim’s Khan. However, this is far from the first time the island has seen the play as it was also performed in 2018 and 2019 at Rialto Theatre Limassol and New Stage THOC Nicosia. Now it travels to Paphos before taking on a European tour in Athens, Turin, Edinburgh, Madrid and Stockholm.

The play is developed around the tradition of a Japanese tea ceremony in which a Geisha invites her guests to an evening of comfort, luxury and wellbeing. During the monologue the tea host begins to question her role as an entertainer, operating in a system based on capitalism, consummation and ownership.

Well-trained as a performer and servant, the Geisha challenges not only her own role but the audience’s motivation as well, in which materialistic needs are fulfilled at the expense of increasing exploitation of the world’s resources and the suffering of the ones born in the unlucky part of the world.

Geisha Kikunohana seduces the spectators through song and dance on a journey of modern-day abuse, child labour, human trafficking, torture and slavery. As Italian critic Tommaso Chimenti noted in his review “Tea Ceremony is a melancholic song, a mute scream, man elegant cry in the midst of an excruciating noise.”