CITA 'usher' points to need for a Japan theater shakeup

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You won’t be alone if you’ve never heard of the Tokyo-based International Centre for Theatre Arts, because few have seen any plays it has staged and anyway its focus is firmly on building a reputation outside Japan. Founded in 2012 by New Zealand-born James Sutherland, the group has held workshops ...

Bausch's legacy blossoms as emotions unfold on stage

Feb 22, 2017

Bausch's legacy blossoms as emotions unfold on stage

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When the curtain opens on a stage blanketed in silk flowers, a beginner might think “Nelken” (“Carnations”) by Pina Bausch was about to offer some sweetly whimsical vision of poetry in three dimensions. That, however, would be to ignore dark underlying themes of power ...

Kimura's crazed 'Macbeth' for today

Jan 24, 2017

Kimura's crazed 'Macbeth' for today

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“When I was studying English literature at the University of Tokyo, even though I had no theater experience at all, I got the chance to direct ‘Macbeth,’ ” 33-year-old Ryunosuke Kimura explained when we met recently at a rehearsal studio in downtown Tokyo. “To ...

Celtic noh draws on two cultures' essence

Jan 24, 2017

Celtic noh draws on two cultures' essence

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Noh is a uniquely Japanese form of musical drama that dates back to at least the 14th century. However, it took 600 years before this performing art surfaced in Western culture — notably with Irish poet William Butler Yeats’ noh-inspired 1917 play “At the ...

The waiting's over for stars of 'Billy Elliot'

Dec 27, 2016

The waiting's over for stars of 'Billy Elliot'

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Eleven years after he saw “Billy Elliot” in London’s West End and was inspired to stage the musical in Japan with a Japanese cast, Yoshitaka Hori, president of leading production company Horipro Corp., could finally stand smiling at a Tokyo press conference called on ...

A golden age of theater for Japan's seniors

Nov 24, 2016

A golden age of theater for Japan's seniors

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At the age of 91, Saitama resident Izumi Noguchi is speaking at his first press conference — at least as an actor anyway. “When I saw an advert in April inviting anyone aged 60 or older to audition for a new project called 10,000 ...

Ong's spellbinding take on 'Richard III'

Nov 22, 2016

Ong's spellbinding take on 'Richard III'

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He is one of Asia’s foremost theater directors, and Ong Keng Sen looked to be enjoying his latest challenge when we met in Tokyo in March during rehearsals for “Sandaime Richard,” Japanese dramatist Hideki Noda’s iconoclastic adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Richard III.” The Singaporean dramatist ...