Cocoon Kabuki enters a new era

Jun 18, 2014

Cocoon Kabuki enters a new era

by Natsume Date

Theatre Cocoon in the Bunkamura performance-arts hub of Tokyo’s vibrant Shibuya district has always been a popular venue specializing in new works by fresh contemporary writers. Emblematic of this is Cocoon Kabuki, its unique series begun in 1994 under the then Artistic Director Kazuyoshi ...

Female dramatists dispel gender concern

Jun 18, 2014

Female dramatists dispel gender concern

by Nobuko Tanaka

Last month in Berlin, in a conversation with Annemie Vanackere, artistic director at the city’s cutting-edge Hebbel am Ufer company, she was saying how she loved contemporary Japanese theater, and how HAU had worked with several Japanese dramatists. Then she suddenly asked me: “Why ...

NNTT reprises hit 'Rokumeikan' opera based on Mishima play

Jun 18, 2014

NNTT reprises hit 'Rokumeikan' opera based on Mishima play

by Kris Kosaka

Midway through the second act of the opera “Rokumeikan,” Countess Asako, the wife of Count Kageyama, the conservative government leader, turns to her former lover Einosuke Kiyohara, who heads the progressive opposition party, and emotes in song: “No, we do not talk of politics; ...

David Bintley bows out with a 'Pagoda' set in Japan

Jun 11, 2014

David Bintley bows out with a 'Pagoda' set in Japan

by Kris Kosaka

Challenge is intrinsic to artistic creation, but David Bintley relishes it so much that he specializes in conceiving the unlikely. “I like to do things that people think are impossible in dance,” the English choreographer said in a recent interview with The Japan Times ...

Roberta Marquez: a Juliet to die for

Jun 4, 2014

Roberta Marquez: a Juliet to die for

by Ayako Takahashi

The Royal Ballet, generally considered to be the best classical company in the world, numbers some 100 dancers from teens of countries who are based at its magnificent and newly refurbished Opera House home in London. Among those, Brazilian-born Roberta Marquez has been dazzling ...

Chocolatecake are no sweeties

Jun 4, 2014

Chocolatecake are no sweeties

by Nobuko Tanaka

Its name translates as Chocolatecake Theatre Company, but there’s nothing self-indulgent about topics Gekidan Chocolatecake gets its teeth into. For the last two years, the Tokyo-based troupe has won best-play awards from the cutting-edge CoRich Performing Arts theater-portal website. In 2012, that was for ...

'The Bee' in Paris: Take #2

May 28, 2014

'The Bee' in Paris: Take #2

by Mana Katsura

Last week, the Stage page featured a Paris resident’s take on an English-language version of “The Bee,” a disturbing drama cowritten by Hideki Noda and Irish playwright Colin Teevan that was performed there this month in a 300-seat section of the Theatre de Chaillot. ...

Talking Pinter with Leveaux; an 'authorized' interaction

May 28, 2014

Talking Pinter with Leveaux; an 'authorized' interaction

by Nobuko Tanaka

When we met last weekend, the world-renowned English theater director David Leveaux was relaxing with a cigarette “in the lovely sunshine” outside a rehearsal studio by Tokyo Bay. He was there for an intensive afternoon’s work with the three Japanese actors who form the ...

Outdoor kabuki marks Skytree anniversary

May 28, 2014

Outdoor kabuki marks Skytree anniversary

by Lindsay Nelson

To commemorate the second anniversary of the May 22, 2012 opening of Tokyo Skytree, the leading kabuki actors Nakamura Shichinosuke and Onoe Matsuya last Saturday performed the popular dance-based piece “Dango-Uri” (“The Dumpling Sellers”) on an outdoor stage in the Sky Arena at the ...

Shirai triumphs with 'The Tempest'

May 21, 2014

Shirai triumphs with 'The Tempest'

by Nobuko Tanaka

“I’d like ‘The Tempest’ I am creating to be on the smallest scale ever, but as it’s a very spacious stage at the New National Theatre, Tokyo, it won’t have the most compact set. Nonetheless, I will try to present it as stories from ...