Natsume Date

For Natsume Date's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

SPAC's teen 'Dream' comes true

Aug 13, 2014

SPAC's teen 'Dream' comes true

Mount Fuji towers nearby, and the hills around are covered with beautiful tea fields, while occupying a huge, 21-hectare plot of greenery dotted with theaters and rehearsal spaces is the home base of Shizuoka Performing Arts Center. In the words of the French-based, Cameroon-born ...

Europe's rich tapestry unites two contrasting theater fests

Aug 6, 2014

Europe's rich tapestry unites two contrasting theater fests

As I often go to theater festivals in Europe, I was delighted to hear about the Schweizer Theatertreffen (Swiss Theater Encounter), a brand-new event being held in May. And since I’d already planned a trip that month to the Berlin Theater Festival, it was ...

'Scary stories' series reaches limit

Jun 25, 2014

'Scary stories' series reaches limit

In “Hyakumonogatari,” a 1911 novella by the great author and translator Ogai Mori, the protagonist explains that its title refers to a traditional way of telling ghost stories, saying: “In hyakumonogatari (meaning ’100 tales’), people gather together and arrange 100 candles. Each person tells ...

Cocoon Kabuki enters a new era

Jun 18, 2014

Cocoon Kabuki enters a new era

Theatre Cocoon in the Bunkamura performance-arts hub of Tokyo’s vibrant Shibuya district has always been a popular venue specializing in new works by fresh contemporary writers. Emblematic of this is Cocoon Kabuki, its unique series begun in 1994 under the then Artistic Director Kazuyoshi ...

Yang Liping speaks out

May 21, 2014

Yang Liping speaks out

“My dance is not something I learned from someone; my mentor is nature and I learn from watching nature,” is how the Chinese star Yang Liping explained the roots of her art in a recent interview for The Japan Times. Now aged 55, Yang ...

Tokyo fans thrill to 'Michaelism'

May 14, 2014

Tokyo fans thrill to 'Michaelism'

In England in 1999, after the huge success of the ABBA-songs show “Mamma Mia,” the theater scene became awash with “jukebox musicals.” From 2002′s reasonably successful Queen-based “We Will Rock You” and “Taboo,” which drew on the music of Boy George/Culture Club, to the ...

Surrender yourself to 'Fuerza Bruta' fun

May 7, 2014

Surrender yourself to 'Fuerza Bruta' fun

Standing around with a drink in your hand as if you were on the dance floor of a club might not be a good idea at a Diqui James production. In “Fuerza Bruta,” which premiered in 2005 and continues its evolution in Tokyo this ...

Chasing a Phantom of success

Mar 26, 2014

Chasing a Phantom of success

Based on “Le Fantôme de l’Opéra,” a 1911 novel by the French author of detective fiction, Gaston Leroux, and transformed into a musical composed, co-written and produced by Englishman Andrew Lloyd Webber (now Baron Lloyd-Webber), “The Phantom of the Opera” was first produced in ...

Super Kabuki 'spells fun'

Mar 12, 2014

Super Kabuki 'spells fun'

Just like the many native English-speakers who have difficulty understanding the language and classical references in the works of William Shakespeare, so Japanese people generally feel a sense of distance from kabuki, as though it were a foreign language. However, Ennosuke Ichikawa III, who ...

NNTT debut peers behind the masks of 'Condemned' Sartre family

Feb 19, 2014

NNTT debut peers behind the masks of 'Condemned' Sartre family

Until Japan was opened to the West in the mid-19th century, its theater culture mainly comprised traditional forms such as kabuki, comic kyōgen, bunraku (puppet theater) and noh. Afterward, once European acting styles were thrown into the mix, there emerged a theater genre known ...