In the world of Japanese contemporary drama, the action often takes place offstage as well as on.

A case in point is what happened to Chiaki Soma, the program director at Festival/Tokyo from 2009-13, who is the main force behind the Theater Commons Tokyo festival, now in its second year.

Soma found herself caught up in an unfolding drama when she returned to F/T from maternity leave in August 2013 — only to be told she would be relieved of her position after that year's edition. Reasons for her dismissal were unclear, but in an interview with The Japan Times last year, her successor, Sachio Ichimura, disclosed that though Soma did the job of programming "splendidly ... she didn't have enough experience dealing with bureaucrats." Soma became a freelance theater producer in April 2014.