Director Ogawa sublimely cracks Mamet's code

Nov 20, 2013

Director Ogawa sublimely cracks Mamet's code

by Nobuko Tanaka

First impressions can, of course, be deceiving, but mine of 65-year-old David Mamet’s play “The Cryptogram,” whose world premiere was at the Ambassadors Theatre in London in 1994, was simply how unhelpful and knotty a work it was. In light of its title, perhaps ...

An audience with Sylvie Guillem

Nov 13, 2013

An audience with Sylvie Guillem

by Ayako Takahashi

There are many wonderful ballet dancers the world over, but Sylvie Guillem is undoubtedly in a category of her own — and not only because of her famously self-willed ways. Born in Paris in February 1965, in 1984, Guillem — whose first love as ...

Brecht's 'Fatzer' underground in Kyoto

Nov 13, 2013

Brecht's 'Fatzer' underground in Kyoto

by Andrew Eglinton and Mika Eglinton

The term “metatheater” refers to devices in a play that break the so-called “fourth wall” — the illusion of theatrical reality — in order to involve the audience as critical participants in the production. Metatheatricality is a hallmark of early 20th-century Modernist drama, and ...

Wrestling with Verdi's 'foul truth'

Nov 6, 2013

Wrestling with Verdi's 'foul truth'

by Natsume Date

Women wearing flashy East-meets-West dresses and men in dark suits frolic drunkenly in a hotel lounge. Behind them can be seen the ends of the hallways for each floor of guest rooms. Couples slip away from the group from time to time, disappear down ...

Theater of protest boosts rising new hub

Nov 6, 2013

Theater of protest boosts rising new hub

by Nobuko Tanaka

Ikebukuro boasts Tokyo’s second-busiest rail station after Shinjuku, and until recently it was just a transport hub people passed through between their jobs in the city and homes in suburbs to the north. Latterly, though, things have been changing in this once nondescript, somewhat ...

'Absence' makes Mroué's ghostly work even stronger

Nov 6, 2013

'Absence' makes Mroué's ghostly work even stronger

by Mika Eglinton

Rabih Mroué is an internationally renowned Lebanese actor, director and playwright whose work often probes into representations of the real in an age of digital narratives — particularly in the context of conflict and revolution in the Middle East. His work is marked by ...

Festival/Tokyo pushes a return to storytelling

Oct 31, 2013

Festival/Tokyo pushes a return to storytelling

by Nobuko Tanaka

In 2009, when Festival/Tokyo took over from the annual Tokyo International Arts Festival, it burst forth with the slogan “Towards a New Real” and the resolve to stamp the city’s name on the global arts map. Back then the aim was to refresh the ...

'The Suit' squares a love triangle

Oct 30, 2013

'The Suit' squares a love triangle

by Lindsay Nelson

In his seminal 1968 work “The Empty Space,” Peter Brook wrote: “Certainly, we still wish to capture in our arts the invisible currents that rule our lives, but our vision is now locked to the dark end of the spectrum. Today the theatre of ...

'Total abandon' for two landmark duos

Oct 30, 2013

'Total abandon' for two landmark duos

by Kris Kosaka

Ballet audiences in Japan are widely acknowledged to be among the best in the world, but there’s still a lot to be learned here about contemporary dance. However, those seeing a show in a short tour of works by French choreographers Mathilde Monnier and ...

Voices of Syria's war set to haunt Tokyo stage

Oct 30, 2013

Voices of Syria's war set to haunt Tokyo stage

by Andrew Eglinton

The war in Syria has been making headlines for more than two years now, but it’s made very little impact on the theater world in Japan. Next month, though, that’s set to change with the Tokyo staging of “The Fear of Breathing,” a hard-hitting ...

Fraught reunions

Oct 23, 2013

Fraught reunions

by Nobuko Tanaka

Her long-term boyfriend’s death spurs concert pianist Charlotte into visiting her eldest daughter Eva, from whom she’s been estranged for seven years. At Eva’s house she also meets Helena, her severely disabled other daughter whom she had confined to a hospital for life, but ...

Passions and pathos

Oct 23, 2013

Passions and pathos

by Rei Sasaguchi

Back in 1751, the haunting power and harrowing sadness of a new five-act bunraku (puppet) play by Namiki Sosuke titled “Ichi-no-tani Futaba Gunki” (Chronicle of the Battle of Ichi-no-tani)” made it such a hit among the masses that, within a year, a kabuki version ...