Exploring the funny side of familial angst

May 16, 2016

Exploring the funny side of familial angst

After it opened on Broadway in 2007, “August: Osage County” scooped a Tony for best play and earned a Pulitzer Prize for U.S. playwright Tracy Letts. Then in 2013’s film of the play, Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts were nominated for Academy Awards for ...

World was a stage for acclaimed theater director Yukio Ninagawa

May 13, 2016

World was a stage for acclaimed theater director Yukio Ninagawa

Acclaimed stage director Yukio Ninagawa was a titan of global theater but his hand felt astonishingly fragile when I shook it in delight in 2012 after the world premiere of “Trojan Women,” which brought together a remarkable ensemble of Japanese, Arab-Israeli and Jewish-Israeli actors. ...

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 ...