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 Gold Theater, I just felt like ...

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 ...

NBA Ballet promises a fine and varied show

Nov 22, 2016

NBA Ballet promises a fine and varied show

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The NBA Ballet is set to stage an eclectic bill at Saitama Arts Theater next month, comprising the world premieres of two modern works and 1958’s contemporary-style classic, “Stars and Stripes,” by the so-called “father of American ballet,” Russian-born George Balanchine. Not only do ...

'Contact' enters realms of enigma

Oct 25, 2016

'Contact' enters realms of enigma

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The great 18th-century French writer and philosopher Voltaire famously said, “Illusion is the first of all pleasures.” His 55-year-old compatriot Philippe Decoufle would probably agree. The celebrated dancer, choreographer, mime artist and theater director burst onto the international stage with his daringly surreal, circus-inspired ...

Festival/Tokyo speaks with a defiant voice

Oct 6, 2016

Festival/Tokyo speaks with a defiant voice

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Press conferences are usually upbeat affairs, but at the one held to herald Festival/Tokyo — a two-month theater festival that kicks off Oct. 15 — Artistic Director Sachio Ichimura appears looking worried and begins proceedings by bemoaning the event’s financial situation and wondering aloud ...

Munby's 'Crucible' speaks to societies built on fear

Sep 27, 2016

Munby's 'Crucible' speaks to societies built on fear

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“When the opportunity came to work at Theatre Cocoon in Tokyo, I was so excited about the great dramatist Yukio Ninagawa being the artistic director there,” the English director Jonathan Munby declared. Of course that was before Ninagawa died, age 80, in May this ...

Noh's drum pair keep it in the family

Sep 27, 2016

Noh's drum pair keep it in the family

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Japan’s musical dance-theater form known as noh was honed to its sublime simplicity in the 14th century by a father and son named Kan’ami and Zeami, and since then it has changed very little. Performed on a roofed stage with open sides and posts ...

Ishinha set for stunning final show

Sep 27, 2016

Ishinha set for stunning final show

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Performing on deserted beaches and in villages, temples, dockland warehouses and urban railyards, few theater companies can have traversed the range of landscapes and settings that have inspired Osaka-based Ishinha. Yet though journeys real and imagined have been key themes in Ishinha’s recent works, ...