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 year. Nonetheless, speaking during a recent ...

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, ...

Flamenco fusion set to fire up Tokyo

Aug 23, 2016

Flamenco fusion set to fire up Tokyo

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Surrender to the heat of September as the Antonio Gades Company brings its sultry blend of ballet and flamenco to Tokyo, showcasing three of its classic works in two separate programs at Bunkamura’s magnificent Orchard Hall. Japan has long been a hotspot for ballet ...

Robot-themed stage show draws diverse crowd in Kyoto

Aug 19, 2016

Robot-themed stage show draws diverse crowd in Kyoto

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A robot-themed theater production in Kyoto has attracted packed houses since opening in 2012. “Gear,” a 75-minute nonspeaking performance that combines music, projected images and human movement, tells the story of humanoid “Roboroids” who continue to make dolls at the assembly line of an ...

'Dragon Quest' show pulls its audiences into the action

Jul 26, 2016

'Dragon Quest' show pulls its audiences into the action

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For gamers and lovers of sheer theatrical spectacle alike, the summer’s hottest ticket seems sure to be for “Dragon Quest Live Spectacle Tour,” whose 40 shows nationwide are set to be attended by some 400,000 people — with everyone receiving a wristband enabling them ...

Butoh for kids has fun with 'birthday suit' tale

Jul 26, 2016

Butoh for kids has fun with 'birthday suit' tale

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“Gloomy,” “eerie,” “vulgar,” “avant-garde” and “conceptual” are adjectives often used to describe butoh, the genre of Japanese modern dance started in 1959 by Tatsumi Hishikata and Kazuo Ohno in which performers usually paint their near-naked bodies white. In contrast, Ikko Tamura — a core ...