Lepage's '887' addresses memories in magical ways

Jun 21, 2016

Lepage's '887' addresses memories in magical ways

Almost a year after “887” premiered in Toronto in July 2015, and following five-star reviews at every stop on a multinational tour that took in the world’s biggest annual theater event, the Edinburgh International Festival, the latest play by Robert Lepage — the Canadian ...

Dramatist speaks up for the downtrodden and new thinking in Japan

Jun 21, 2016

Dramatist speaks up for the downtrodden and new thinking in Japan

Fifty-three year-old Oriza Hirata unexpectedly arrived early for our 9 a.m. interview in a Tokyo family restaurant one recent Sunday morning. Not only that, but the famed playwright and director turned up alone without the squad of minders such people’s managers generally send along ...

'Tell Me' lays bare one woman's quest

May 24, 2016

'Tell Me' lays bare one woman's quest

The first thing Yojiro Ichikawa said when we sat down for our recent interview in a Tokyo rehearsal studio was, “Shall I speak in English?” For the director of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical “Tell Me on a Sunday,” which has its Japan premiere ...

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 ...