Shizuoka theater festival courts the avant-garde

May 24, 2013

Shizuoka theater festival courts the avant-garde

Claude Regy says the team at the Shizuoka Performing Arts Center (SPAC) threw him the “best birthday party ever” when he arrived in Japan just days after the actual May 1 occasion. The 90-year-old French director is hoping for an even better birthday gift, ...

Flamenco queen shares 'Utopia'

May 17, 2013

Flamenco queen shares 'Utopia'

Sitting in an interview room at the Bunkamura cultural complex in Tokyo's Shibuya district, María Pagés leans forward, smiles and tells me: "Flamenco is my language."

The comedy and drama of Takashi Fujii

May 16, 2013

The comedy and drama of Takashi Fujii

At age 41, Takashi Fujii has quite the resume. In 2000 and 2001, he appeared on national broadcaster NHK’s annual top-rated New Year’s variety show, “Kohaku Utagassen” (“Red and White Song Battle”); he toured abroad as a pop singer in 2004, including shows in ...

U.K. stage group to rework 'Mononoke' magic

Apr 19, 2013

U.K. stage group to rework 'Mononoke' magic

If anyone understands the truth in the phrase, “It doesn’t hurt to ask” — it’s Alexandra Rutter. The 23-year-old cofounder and artistic director of Whole Hog Theatre (WHT) is also the director of the first-ever adaptation of Hayao Miyazaki’s 1997 anime masterpiece, “Princess Mononoke.” ...

Welsh approach to 'national' theater is efficiently different

Apr 11, 2013

Welsh approach to 'national' theater is efficiently different

Always keen to break new ground, Keiko Miyata, artistic director of the New National Theatre Tokyo (NNTT), has created a series titled “With: linking theater” as the centerpiece of this season’s program. In this, she has lined up three appetizing collaborations by asking playwrights ...

'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 ...