Obsessions bared over a dead dog in the night

Apr 2, 2014

Obsessions bared over a dead dog in the night

by Nobuko Tanaka

“It’s f-cking amazing! I don’t know what else to say. I’m really happy and really moved and I’m so humble about that.” One of the most influential, magnetic — and busy — English playwrights at work today, 43-year-old Simon Stephens opened his round eyes ...

Apr 2, 2014

Aichi's thriving drama grassroots

by Kris Kosaka

This year is set to be a good one for English theater in Japan, from Shakespearean comedy to original works, from intimate black-box stagings to a rock’n'roll musical. It’s not Tokyo or even Osaka serving up this feast, though — but Nagoya, which is ...

A chance to shine at an early age

Mar 26, 2014

A chance to shine at an early age

by Lindsay Nelson

It’s 9:15 on a cold and rainy Saturday morning, and Wendell Harrison is running late. “The one day I send an email telling them not to be late, and I’m the one having problems,” he laments. Harrison’s doing double duty at the moment: directing ...

Chasing a Phantom of success

Mar 26, 2014

Chasing a Phantom of success

by Natsume Date

Based on “Le Fantôme de l’Opéra,” a 1911 novel by the French author of detective fiction, Gaston Leroux, and transformed into a musical composed, co-written and produced by Englishman Andrew Lloyd Webber (now Baron Lloyd-Webber), “The Phantom of the Opera” was first produced in ...

Go feast on morsels of a masterwork

Mar 19, 2014

Go feast on morsels of a masterwork

by Rei Sasaguchi

Audiences at the National Theatre of Japan might be excused for indulging in a little time travel this month as they feast their senses on prime morsels of “Musume Gonomi Ukina no Yokogushi,” a masterwork by Kawatake Mokuami first served up at the Moritaza ...

Genders revel in Bausch's iconic 'Kontakthof'

Mar 19, 2014

Genders revel in Bausch's iconic 'Kontakthof'

by Kris Kosaka

To watch “Kontakthof,” Pina Bausch’s masterpiece of dance theater, is to be like a voyeur peering from behind a one-way mirror into the everyday battlefield of male-female interaction. The dancers, too, seem to treat the audience as a mirror, slicking back hair, adjusting bra ...

Tohoku school's plays tell how it is

Mar 19, 2014

Tohoku school's plays tell how it is

by Nobuko Tanaka

“We always start creating our next work by having a meeting with everyone involved in the drama club,” high school teacher Michiko Ishii explained. “We discuss what is actually happening around us and what we should focus on in the next play. So, what ...

Super Kabuki 'spells fun'

Mar 12, 2014

Super Kabuki 'spells fun'

by Natsume Date

Just like the many native English-speakers who have difficulty understanding the language and classical references in the works of William Shakespeare, so Japanese people generally feel a sense of distance from kabuki, as though it were a foreign language. However, Ennosuke Ichikawa III, who ...

Taihen actors put bodies on the line

Mar 12, 2014

Taihen actors put bodies on the line

by Andrew Eglinton

Observing rehearsals by the physical-theater company Taihen for their upcoming “Over the Rainbow” show at ABC Hall in Osaka was in many ways a free-jazz experience. On a compositional level, the Taihen stage is an intimate meeting-ground between cast, crew, musicians and audience. The ...

Paris Opera Ballet chief hails Japan 'challenge'

Mar 12, 2014

Paris Opera Ballet chief hails Japan 'challenge'

by Kris Kosaka

Thanks to Louis XIV’s love of dance, French is the language of ballet and Paris has remained the center of the art for more than 300 years since the Sun King’s splendiferous 72-year reign ended with his death in 1715. Yet for a company ...