East German backs Japan's public theaters

Jul 17, 2009

East German backs Japan's public theaters

Peter Goesnner was born in Leipzig, in the former communist East Germany, in 1962. His dream was to be a great football player, but 40 years later, the witty, easy-going German is in Tokyo directing “Sekishoku Elegy” (“Red Elegy”) by absurdist playwright Minoru Betsuyaku. ...

Noh, Shakespeare joined in a 'Tempest'

Jun 26, 2009

Noh, Shakespeare joined in a 'Tempest'

The acclaimed Noh stagings of Shakespeare by Ryutopia (Niigata Prefecture’s public theater) resume next month both at home and in Tokyo. As the theater’s sixth program, Yoshihiro Kurita — Ryutopia’s associate director and the director of all its Noh-Shakespeare works — has chosen the ...

How to conjure worlds from the fewest words

Jun 26, 2009

How to conjure worlds from the fewest words

One evening in late May, a cozy rehearsal room in Yokohama was more like a drill hall as Mikuni Yanaihara called for another run through a dance scene in her latest play, “Gonin Shimai” (“Five Sisters”). As a choreographer and dancer, 38-year-old Yanaihara first ...

See a rising ballet star

Jun 5, 2009

See a rising ballet star

After staging “Tales of Beatrix Potter,” a cheerful program for kids of all ages in February, then the beautiful and tragic love story of classical-dance masterpiece “Giselle” in May, K-Ballet’s offering for just four days this month is “Symphony No. 9″ by its 37-year-old ...

Toilet humor set for Tokyo theater

Jun 5, 2009

Toilet humor set for Tokyo theater

The title may be cheesy, but there’s plenty that’s memorable about the content of this politically astute musical, too. After opening in a small New York theater in 2001, “Urinetown” soon became such a hit that it was snapped up by Broadway producers and ...

A mother alone

May 22, 2009

A mother alone

To launch Za Koenji, the new public theater in Suginami Ward designed by Toyo Ito, artistic director Makoto Sato made the bold decision to present “Keshou Two Acts” (“Makeup”), a one-woman play by renowned writer and director Hisashi Inoue that stars Misako Watanabe. Now ...

Wishing Chong: from barbecue to demons

Apr 24, 2009

Wishing Chong: from barbecue to demons

2008 was undoubtedly the year of “Yakiniku Dragon” (“Korean Barbecue Dragon”), a realistic, autobiographical work by the Korean-Japanese playwright Wishing Chong that premiered April 17 in the New National Theatre’s Pit. When the curtain came down that night on the NNT/Seoul Arts Center collaboration ...

Dance meets theater

Apr 10, 2009

Dance meets theater

Long ago, 52-year-old Belgian choreographer Alain Platel was an orthopedic therapist. Then, in 1984, he founded his performing troupe called “Les Ballets C. de la B.” Now his company — whose strikingly original approach to contemporary dance positions it, along with the likes of ...

Swords and slapstick

Apr 3, 2009

Swords and slapstick

In Los Angeles last week, the showdown in the World Baseball Classic between Japan’s “Samurai” and their South Korean rivals had TV audiences gripped. So, too, were those at Saitama Arts Theater, who witnessed an acting duel between 26-year-olds Tatsuya Fujiwara and Shun Oguri ...