Theater festival's roots dig deep into Shizuoka

Apr 28, 2016

Theater festival's roots dig deep into Shizuoka

In recent years, theater fans and artists here and abroad have increasingly been wakening up to the fact that cherry blossoms aren’t the only spring bounty in Japan. That’s because, thanks to the annual World Theatre Festival Shizuoka under Mt. Fuji, the coastal city ...

The double delight of 'Grand Hotel'

Apr 26, 2016

The double delight of 'Grand Hotel'

It started life in 1929 as “Menschen im Hotel” (“People in the Hotel”), the first novel by Austrian writer Vicki Baum, but its storyline — set in the Grand Hotel in Berlin in 1928 — first became widely known through 1932’s Oscar-winning film “Grand ...

Strindberg's surrealistic 'Dream' heralds a pivotal era for KAAT

Mar 22, 2016

Strindberg's surrealistic 'Dream' heralds a pivotal era for KAAT

He doesn’t officially become Kanagawa Arts Theatre’s artistic director until April 1, but Akira Shirai wasn’t fooling when he declared, “I aim to make KAAT (the official acronym of his Yokohama base) a place where we take a whole fresh look at theater’s role ...

Zainichi dramas delve into Japan's shadows

Feb 23, 2016

Zainichi dramas delve into Japan's shadows

“At last, the masterpiece ‘Yakiniku Dragon’ (‘Korean Barbecue Dragon’) is going to be staged again!” The “!” that leaps up at the end of this sentence in a recent press release from the New National Theatre Tokyo surely reflects a widespread excitement on hearing ...

Theater academy pulls no punches

Jan 26, 2016

Theater academy pulls no punches

In a rehearsal studio at the Za-Koenji theater in west-central Tokyo’s Koenji district, trainee actress Yuuhi Suenobu was striving to act the role of a frightened young woman wandering aimlessly in a chaotic wasteland with her injured mother. The scene unfolding before me was ...

'Crazy Camel' helps butoh over the hump

Jan 23, 2016

'Crazy Camel' helps butoh over the hump

‘Many people have a preconception about butoh — that it is performed by dancers whose bodies are painted white. So when we debuted our current program, ‘Crazy Camel,’ in France, and we came on stage covered in gold-colored powder, the fans and experts there ...