'Our Planet' director focuses on Japan's locals

Aug 30, 2012

'Our Planet' director focuses on Japan's locals

Just three years ago, in 2009, Yukio Shiba burst to stardom at age 27 with his masterful first play, “Waga Hoshi” (“Our Planet”), which premiered in Tokyo and the following year scooped Japanese contemporary theater’s prestigious Kishida Kunio Award. “Up until then, even in ...

Public theater takes on a leading role

Jul 12, 2012

Public theater takes on a leading role

Once upon a time, Japanese contemporary theater shared the limelight with youth-cultural movements that were rocking the nation. Back then, in the late 1960s and ’70s, the avant-garde works of the angura (underground) theater scene had such an affinity with the radical student movement ...

Koki Mitani: Japan's Mr. Comedy

| Jun 3, 2012

Koki Mitani: Japan's Mr. Comedy

Koki Mitani is far and away the nation’s best-known dramatist. Although theater is quite a niche medium here, most people in Japan — whether male or female, young or not so young, Japanese or not — recognize his face, even if they couldn’t name ...

Shizuoka eyes theatrical bridge over to Avignon

Jun 1, 2012

Shizuoka eyes theatrical bridge over to Avignon

Stranger things have happened, and in the near future a vibrant cultural bridge across Eurasia may be built between the city of Shizuoka in the beautiful foothills of Mount Fuji, and ancient Avignon in the artists’ mecca of Provence in the South of France. ...

'Alien' actress at home with a robot

| May 20, 2012

'Alien' actress at home with a robot

Even today in the performing arts in Japan, gaijin (lit. “aliens”), as foreigners are called, are still often presented like something to be gawped at in a Victorian freak show. It was a bit like that when a new play called “Sayonara (Goodbye)” premiered ...

There is trouble on Kafka's shore

May 17, 2012

There is trouble on Kafka's shore

Seventy-six-year-old theater director Yukio Ninagawa is famed and honored the world over for his magnificently visualized stagings of Shakespeare and Ancient Greek tragedies — as well as modern Japanese plays. He was awarded a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 2002, and has ...

Monkeying around on the stage

May 4, 2012

Monkeying around on the stage

Britain’s longest-serving theater critic, Michael Billington of The Guardian newspaper, is famous for not lavishing praise on his subjects easily or often. So when Billington tipped his hat to “Kafka’s Monkey” in a 2009 review — rhetorically asking, “Is there anything Kathryn Hunter can’t ...

Acrobatic bicyclists to make Shizuoka a stage

Apr 27, 2012

Acrobatic bicyclists to make Shizuoka a stage

If your Golden Week schedule isn’t full yet, how about visiting a picturesque tea-growing district set against the backdrop of Mount Fuji and enjoying street theater performed by Italian artists? You can take your pick from eight performance venues staging events from this weekend ...

Songha prepares for a Wilde John the Baptist

Apr 12, 2012

Songha prepares for a Wilde John the Baptist

A year ago, Songha Cho changed his professional name to plain and simple Songha — explaining that there is no appropriate kanji for Cho, though there is for Songha. That problem, the third-generation Korean-Japanese said, is just one of many complications faced in daily ...

A modern take on American theater classic

Mar 16, 2012

A modern take on American theater classic

SIS Company’s new production of “The Glass Menagerie” by the U.S. playwright Tennessee Williams (1911-83) looks like a marriage made in theatrical heaven between one of Williams’ masterpieces and an impressive cast. In the central role of this loosely autobiographical drama centered on a ...