'Natch' gets ghostly on stage

Apr 9, 2013

'Natch' gets ghostly on stage

“If I thought too much about my future plans, I would kind of get stuck,” says Natsumi Abe. “So I just try to concentrate on the next day’s work and do it as well as I can.” It’s a serious statement on work ethic, ...

Ghosts of Cowra breakout haunt Japan to this day

| Mar 17, 2013

Ghosts of Cowra breakout haunt Japan to this day

Prisoner A: ” ‘Never live to experience the shame of being taken prisoner by the enemy’ … that’s what the Imperial Japanese Military Regulations say, hence there must be no prisoners. So what’s happening here now are the dreams of ghosts” — from “Cowra ...

Aspiring thespians get help in realizing dreams

Mar 8, 2013

Aspiring thespians get help in realizing dreams

If you had a son or daughter who announced they wanted to be a stage actor, whatever would you say to them? In Japan today, as in centuries past, this still remains a dreaded scenario for many “respectable” parents hoping to raise children who ...

Redefining conventions of the play

Feb 21, 2013

Redefining conventions of the play

Without doubt, Takahiro Fujita is the most prominent newcomer in the world of Japanese contemporary theater. To a considerable extent that’s because the 27-year-old playwright/director has an unusual trademark style — to create works that often have the same lyrical phrases and series of ...

Theater groups play together

Feb 8, 2013

Theater groups play together

Fresh from a U.S. tour, “Zero Cost House,” the first international collaboration work between Yokohama’s Chelfitsch company and Philadelphia’s Pig Iron Theatre Company (PITC), opens at Kanagawa Arts Theatre next week with its original U.S. cast. One of the few high-profile Japanese dramatists on ...

Cirque offshoot 7 Fingers has lofty ambitions

Feb 1, 2013

Cirque offshoot 7 Fingers has lofty ambitions

Since first touring its native province of Quebec in 1984, the self-styled “multifaceted creative force” that is Canada’s Cirque du Soleil has become a major global phenomenon with several permanent venues. In 2002, though, seven Cirque du Soleil members turned their backs on that ...

South Korean dance show aims for the eyes, not the ears

Jan 24, 2013

South Korean dance show aims for the eyes, not the ears

South Korean entertainment is excelling in a lot of disciplines, and stage performance is one of them. Now a groundbreaking action-drawing show, “Hero,” will take its turn trying to impress Japanese audiences. “Hero” embarks on a monthlong run at the Roppongi Blue Theater in ...

'Coriolanus' comes home — to Kyoto

Jan 23, 2013

'Coriolanus' comes home — to Kyoto

It’s a fair bet that many people at the Globe Theatre in London last May expected the Kyoto-based Chiten (Point) Company to present a stereotypically Japanese, samurai-style “Coriolanus,” complete with taiko drums and period armor. Instead, however, Japan’s contribution to the theater’s Globe to ...

Social awareness takes center stage

Dec 27, 2012

Social awareness takes center stage

Japan’s calamities of March 2011 — the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, and the start of an ongoing nuclear disaster — changed not only the social awareness of the general public who make up theater audiences, but also how dramatists approached their work. ...

From an underdog in the U.S. to Japan's top dog

Nov 29, 2012

From an underdog in the U.S. to Japan's top dog

Two years ago, 32-year-old director/translator Eriko Ogawa returned to Japan after 10 years in New York and presented a riveting production of “The Late Henry Moss,” Sam Shepard’s 2000 Pulitzer prize-winning tale of loves and hatreds in a frontier family way out West. Though ...