'Edward II': The director's take

Oct 16, 2013

'Edward II': The director's take

Two years ago, Shintaro Mori made his directorial debut at the New National Theatre, Tokyo, with a minimalist production of Samuel Beckett’s absurdist masterpiece “Waiting for Godot.” Now, at age 37, he’s back there at the helm of probably one of the West’s first-ever ...

It doesn't have to be all true to be the life of Akihiro Miwa

Sep 18, 2013

It doesn't have to be all true to be the life of Akihiro Miwa

“Miwa has carried on being a true monster (kaibutsu), whereas many amazingly talented freaks have gone back to looking and behaving normally after enjoying a brief boom in popularity,” said dramatist Hideki Noda at a press conference last month for “Miwa,” his play based ...

Japan's love affair with Chekhov

Aug 29, 2013

Japan's love affair with Chekhov

“I have rarely seen a great production of any Chekhov play in Japan. Sometimes, I’ve even wanted to ask how they managed to make them so tedious.” Mansai Nomura, one of the country’s leading kyōgen (traditional comedy) actors, may say this with a wry ...

Jeté-ing from ballet to kitchen-sink drama

Aug 14, 2013

Jeté-ing from ballet to kitchen-sink drama

Though she’s moved from elegant arabesques to doing the washing up, former prima ballerina Tamiyo Kusakari is stealing the show in “Ani Kaeru (The Older Brother Returns),” a kitchen-sink drama playing every night through Sept. 1 at Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre in Ikebukuro. For renowned ...

Ninagawa's golden oldies reach a whole new stage in life

Aug 10, 2013

Ninagawa's golden oldies reach a whole new stage in life

“After a performance at the 232-seat Maison de la Culture du Japon in Paris, one of the Japanese staff there said I had a ‘splendid voice.’ I didn’t buy anything in Paris, but that was the best possible souvenir,” said Kiyoshi Takahashi, 85, the ...

Seven years on, and everyone's itching for more

Aug 10, 2013

Seven years on, and everyone's itching for more

To date, including his all-male production of “The Merchant of Venice” that’s set to run next month at Sainokuni Saitama Arts Theater outside Tokyo, Yukio Ninagawa will have staged 29 of the 38 plays attributed to William Shakespeare — and his ambition to direct ...

For a nonverbal theater group, The Original Tempo has a lot to say

Jun 20, 2013

For a nonverbal theater group, The Original Tempo has a lot to say

“The Yellow Raincoat Squad’ is charming and engaging. This is another one of those productions that defies description but is a must-see for all ages,” wrote Catherine Lamm in The British Theatre Guide in August, 2009. Lamm was reviewing one of Japan’s best-kept theatrical ...

Shizuoka theater festival courts the avant-garde

May 24, 2013

Shizuoka theater festival courts the avant-garde

Claude Regy says the team at the Shizuoka Performing Arts Center (SPAC) threw him the “best birthday party ever” when he arrived in Japan just days after the actual May 1 occasion. The 90-year-old French director is hoping for an even better birthday gift, ...