Insects inspire butoh master Maro

Jun 25, 2014

Insects inspire butoh master Maro

by Rieko Suzuki

“I think if you looked at Earth from space, you’d see that the ones who really hold the reins here are not humans, but insects,” Akaji Maro, a master of the expressionist Japanese dance genre butoh, declared in a recent interview for The Japan ...

Outsider's 'Jacob' is a sensory feast

Jun 25, 2014

Outsider's 'Jacob' is a sensory feast

by Lindsay Nelson

It’s hard to choose the most powerful visual moment in the New National Theater’s production of “19-Year-Old Jacob.” My vote would be for the opening scene when, after the audience has been in total darkness for more than a minute, a single sharp triangle ...

'Scary stories' series reaches limit

Jun 25, 2014

'Scary stories' series reaches limit

by Natsume Date

In “Hyakumonogatari,” a 1911 novella by the great author and translator Ogai Mori, the protagonist explains that its title refers to a traditional way of telling ghost stories, saying: “In hyakumonogatari (meaning ’100 tales’), people gather together and arrange 100 candles. Each person tells ...

Cocoon Kabuki enters a new era

Jun 18, 2014

Cocoon Kabuki enters a new era

by Natsume Date

Theatre Cocoon in the Bunkamura performance-arts hub of Tokyo’s vibrant Shibuya district has always been a popular venue specializing in new works by fresh contemporary writers. Emblematic of this is Cocoon Kabuki, its unique series begun in 1994 under the then Artistic Director Kazuyoshi ...

Female dramatists dispel gender concern

Jun 18, 2014

Female dramatists dispel gender concern

by Nobuko Tanaka

Last month in Berlin, in a conversation with Annemie Vanackere, artistic director at the city’s cutting-edge Hebbel am Ufer company, she was saying how she loved contemporary Japanese theater, and how HAU had worked with several Japanese dramatists. Then she suddenly asked me: “Why ...

NNTT reprises hit 'Rokumeikan' opera based on Mishima play

Jun 18, 2014

NNTT reprises hit 'Rokumeikan' opera based on Mishima play

by Kris Kosaka

Midway through the second act of the opera “Rokumeikan,” Countess Asako, the wife of Count Kageyama, the conservative government leader, turns to her former lover Einosuke Kiyohara, who heads the progressive opposition party, and emotes in song: “No, we do not talk of politics; ...

David Bintley bows out with a 'Pagoda' set in Japan

Jun 11, 2014

David Bintley bows out with a 'Pagoda' set in Japan

by Kris Kosaka

Challenge is intrinsic to artistic creation, but David Bintley relishes it so much that he specializes in conceiving the unlikely. “I like to do things that people think are impossible in dance,” the English choreographer said in a recent interview with The Japan Times ...

Roberta Marquez: a Juliet to die for

Jun 4, 2014

Roberta Marquez: a Juliet to die for

by Ayako Takahashi

The Royal Ballet, generally considered to be the best classical company in the world, numbers some 100 dancers from teens of countries who are based at its magnificent and newly refurbished Opera House home in London. Among those, Brazilian-born Roberta Marquez has been dazzling ...

Chocolatecake are no sweeties

Jun 4, 2014

Chocolatecake are no sweeties

by Nobuko Tanaka

Its name translates as Chocolatecake Theatre Company, but there’s nothing self-indulgent about topics Gekidan Chocolatecake gets its teeth into. For the last two years, the Tokyo-based troupe has won best-play awards from the cutting-edge CoRich Performing Arts theater-portal website. In 2012, that was for ...