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 is often associated with the work of German playwright Bertolt Brecht.

An example of Brecht’s metatheater can be seen right now at Underthrow in Kyoto’s northeastern Kita-Shirakawa district — since July the intimate 30-seat underground home of the Chiten theater company, where once others grooved when it was a famous music spot called CBGB.

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