Satoshi Miyagi, the artistic director of the Shizuoka Performing Arts Center (SPAC), admitted during a press conference in April that he had thought about calling off the center’s international theater festival following the March 11 disasters that hit Japan’s northeastern Tohoku region. Finally, though, he says he decided to stage the event, “Because theater gives audiences a chance to think about challenges in a calm and focused way.”
Despite the fact that some foreign participants canceled due to radiation and aftershock concerns, the festival opened to throngs of theater lovers June 4 amid the tea fields in the foothills of Mount Fuji.
Three of this year’s highlights are Miyagi’s 1996 piece “Tenshu-Monogatari (The Castle Tower),” which has been staged in nine countries; a double bill of “Govardhanodharanam (Lifting of the Govardhana Mountain)” and “Parvati Viraham (Parvati’s Love Quarrel),” presented by Indian dancer Kapila Venu; and “La Reve de Takase (Takase’s Dream),” a collaboration between Cameroonian choreographer Merlin Nyakam and 10 Shizuoka students who were selected by audition.
Audiences will also be treated to a new stage dramatization of the acclaimed 1959 Alain Resnais film, “Hiroshima mon amour.” This work, written by famed French author Marguerite Duras, tells the story of a one-day liaison between a French woman and a Japanese architect in Hiroshima in the 1950s.
SPAC regular Omar Porras, will be flying in from Europe to present his latest work, “Bolivar, Fragments of a Dream,” about Latin American anticolonialist champion Simon Bolivar, and “Why Why” — a recent production by English theater giant Peter Brook, was added to the festival’s lineup at the last minute. This one-woman work will be performed by German actress Miriam Goldschmidt, with Japanese subtitles.
“World Theatre Festival Shizuoka under Mount Fuji 2011″ runs till July 3. “Tenshu Monogatari” is on June 18, 25 and July 2; “Why Why” is on June 18 and 19; “Govardhanodharanam/ Parvativirham” is on June 25 and 26; “Takase’s Dream” is on June 19; “Hiroshima mon amour” is on July 2 and 3; “Bolivar, fragments of a dream” is on July 2 and 3. All plays show at SPAC, at four different theaters Ticket prices vary. For details, call (054) 203-5730 or visit www.spac.or.jp.