Young gun Kinoshita takes aim at tradition

Jan 28, 2015

Young gun Kinoshita takes aim at tradition

by Mana Katsura

Though for more than 300 years it’s only been performed by men and boys, kabuki exists in the public imagination as actors engulfed in hair and makeup, wearing elaborate costumes and striking ostentatious poses on a vast stage. Despite this, works by the Kinoshita ...

Condors dancers share double bill with rising star

Jan 28, 2015

Condors dancers share double bill with rising star

by Kris Kosaka

Ryohei Kondo, who founded the popular male dance troupe Condors in 1996, is always brimfull of innovative ideas — even when they’re garbed in traditional clothing. When Maimi Sato, Saitama Arts Theatre’s head producer of dance, asked the choreographer to interpret a Japanese folk ...

Yokohama fest offers a performing-arts feast

Jan 28, 2015

Yokohama fest offers a performing-arts feast

by Nobuko Tanaka

Since Tokyo Performing Arts Market began in 1995, the annual event has established itself as one of Asia’s leading trade shows for creators, producers and festival organizers — as well as being a great chance for general audiences to catch a wide range of ...

Avignon chief sees culture and politics sharing the stage

Jan 21, 2015

Avignon chief sees culture and politics sharing the stage

by Nobuko Tanaka

“The Avignon Festival is not only about shows and theater, but also about thinking, searching and seeking to understand the world and its politics — and offering an opportunity for three weeks’ intellectual life experience every year,” Olivier Py, the event’s artistic director, declared ...

French triumph frees SPAC pioneer to be bolder still

Jan 21, 2015

French triumph frees SPAC pioneer to be bolder still

by Nobuko Tanaka

Following on Olivier Py’s comment in the accompanying story that “everybody” at last year’s Avignon Festival loved Satoshi Miyagi’s “Mahabharata — Nalacharitam,” which Py, as the festival’s director, had awarded the honor of opening the event, I rolled up to Shizuoka Performing Arts Center ...

Rising stars of kabuki run new-year Asakusa gauntlet

Jan 14, 2015

Rising stars of kabuki run new-year Asakusa gauntlet

by Natsume Date

One of the major sightseeing spots in Tokyo, and indeed in Japan, is the city’s oldest temple, Sensoji, which was founded in 645 in the Asakusa district of present-day Taito Ward. Though perpetually thronged with people, its beautiful precincts attract staggering numbers at New ...

Ichiyanagi opera aims to be 'total work of art'

Jan 14, 2015

Ichiyanagi opera aims to be 'total work of art'

by Ayako Takahashi

As part of its 40th-anniversary celebrations, Kanagawa Kenmin Hall in Yokohama will stage a world-premier version of “Legend of the Water Flame,” an opera by the renowned composer Toshi Ichiyanagi that’s scored around a libretto by a fellow octogenarian, the poet Makoto Ooka. “Opera ...

NT adds a new twist to its 'dogs tale'

Jan 14, 2015

NT adds a new twist to its 'dogs tale'

by Rei Sasaguchi

Based on a book of the same name by Kyokutei Bakin that was published in 96 volumes between 1814-42, the kabuki play “Nanso Satomi Hakkenden” (“Stories of Eight Men with the Character for ‘Dog’ in their Surnames”) recounts how its protagonists strive to restore ...

Star Belgian choreographer celebrates manga and more

Jan 7, 2015

Star Belgian choreographer celebrates manga and more

by Natsume Date

“Tokyo, my brother, my protector” was the tweet posted by Belgian-born Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui — often dubbed “the busiest choreographer in the world” — straight after he arrived here two months ago. Explaining in a recent interview with this writer what had prompted so ...

'Flies' festers at core of family life

Jan 7, 2015

'Flies' festers at core of family life

by Mika Eglinton and Andrew Eglinton

Central to William Golding’s dystopian novel “Lord of the Flies” is the notion of violence as a social construct. “Maybe there is a beast … maybe it’s only us,” says the protective Simon before a hostile assembly of other schoolboys marooned on the uninhabited ...

Uyama's new 'Lear' acts his age

Jan 7, 2015

Uyama's new 'Lear' acts his age

by Mika Eglinton

“You see me here, you gods, a poor old man, As full of grief as age; wretched in both!” (“King Lear,” Act 2, Scene 4) ‘King Lear” is often seen as a rite of passage for actors, one of the ultimate roles to conquer ...

Curtains up on 2015

Jan 1, 2015

Curtains up on 2015

by Ayako Takahashi, Natsume Date, Mana Katsura, and Kris Kosaka

Innovation adds sparkle to traditional forms Looking into the crystal ball of Japan’s traditional performing arts in 2015 reveals a sparkling blend of change and tradition. In what is its 120th year, the film and theater company and pillar of kabuki, Shochiku, will mark ...