Stage Feb 12, 2014

Dance, Kobe — dance!

Whatever springs to mind when you think of Kobe, it's unlikely to be dance. Yet, from the fourth floor of a nondescript building in the port city's multiethnic district of Shin-Nagata there shines forth a veritable beacon called Dance Box. Founded in Osaka in 2003, ...

Behold 'surprised bodies' in Kyoto

Stage Feb 5, 2014

Behold 'surprised bodies' in Kyoto

Kyoto is going global in the world of dance this month, as the city's Monochrome Circus teams up with the Norwegian company Wee on "The Surprised Body Project." Begun in 2005 as a workshop in Oslo led by Italian dancer, choreographer and cofounder of Wee, ...

Yokohama's annual feast of TPAM

Stage Feb 5, 2014

Yokohama's annual feast of TPAM

As befits its designation as a "Cultural City of East Asia 2014," Yokohama is about to host Japan's foremost annual platform for contemporary performing arts. Launched in 1995 as the Tokyo Performing Arts Market, the weeklong event moved to its present home in 2011, when ...

What's the worth of words?

Stage Jan 29, 2014

What's the worth of words?

By popular demand, Shizuoka Performing Arts Center is set to stage a revival of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," its sell-out 2011 production adapted by contemporary theater paragon Hideki Noda and directed by its own artistic diector, Satoshi Miyagi. Back in April 2011, counter to the ...

Woman's-eye 'Merchant' duo reflects favorably on Shylock role

Stage Jan 15, 2014

Woman's-eye 'Merchant' duo reflects favorably on Shylock role

Since it was founded in 1990 by Shakespeare scholar, actor and director Kaoru Edo, Tokyo Shakespeare Company has been producing the Bard's plays translated by Edo in an adaptation series titled "Shakespeare on the other side of the mirror." Now, at the 100-odd-capacity Geki Sho-gekijo ...

Show marks award of kabuki star's new name

Stage Dec 18, 2013

Show marks award of kabuki star's new name

Names matter, and in the realm of Japanese culture almost nowhere more than in kabuki, one of whose top names, Ennosuke IV, has just become artistic director of the Shunju-za theater in Kyoto. To mark this event, an exhibition titled "Ennosuke e no Kiseki" ("The ...

Takarazuka dances to a different tune

Stage Nov 27, 2013

Takarazuka dances to a different tune

What happens when Takarazuka, Japan's longest-running all-female theater troupe, takes on Masayuki Suo's hit movie "Shall We Dance?," which won 14 Japanese Academy Awards in 1996 and aired internationally in 16 countries? There must have been tremendous pressure for director Naoko Koyanagi to adapt and ...

Brecht's 'Fatzer' underground in Kyoto

Stage Nov 13, 2013

Brecht's 'Fatzer' underground in Kyoto

The term "metatheater" refers to devices in a play that break the so-called "fourth wall" — the illusion of theatrical reality — in order to involve the audience as critical participants in the production. Metatheatricality is a hallmark of early 20th-century Modernist drama, and ...

'Absence' makes Mroué's ghostly work even stronger

Stage Nov 6, 2013

'Absence' makes Mroué's ghostly work even stronger

Rabih Mroué is an internationally renowned Lebanese actor, director and playwright whose work often probes into representations of the real in an age of digital narratives — particularly in the context of conflict and revolution in the Middle East. His work is marked by ...

Kyoto Experiment 2013: 'Do as you like'

Stage Oct 16, 2013

Kyoto Experiment 2013: 'Do as you like'

Language, memory and identity politics are at the core of the fourth edition of Kyoto Experiment, the annual feast of progressive and experimental theater now being served up by organizers the Kyoto International Performing Arts Festival. Along with artists from Japan, the event, running through ...