Living and breathing history, through noh

Mar 1, 2018

Living and breathing history, through noh

by Katherine Whatley

Noh performer Hisa Uzawa has spent her life devoted to an art form that — with its slow and steady movements, sparse staging and ancient chanting — may at first seem staid. In her hands, however, the 650-year-old tradition becomes relentlessly contemporary. Uzawa was born ...

Rethinking noh for the opera crowd

| Mar 1, 2018

Rethinking noh for the opera crowd

by Chiho Iuchi

Artists have long mined older works to create new forms of expression, just look at the continuing relevance of Shakespeare's stories. Among the oldest surviving performing arts of Japan, noh has been a source of inspiration for many in Japan. Combining narrative chanting, slow movements ...

Chiaki Soma puts on a not-so-common theater festival

Feb 22, 2018

Chiaki Soma puts on a not-so-common theater festival

by Nobuko Tanaka

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, ...

Dramatist Oriza Hirata has a vision for theater

Jan 11, 2018

Dramatist Oriza Hirata has a vision for theater

by Nobuko Tanaka

Travel around around 150 km northwest from the hustle and bustle of Kyoto and another, far more peaceful world awaits in the compact onsen (hot-spring) town of Kinosaki nestled on the Sea of Japan coast in a quiet corner of the largely rural city ...

A year filled with standing ovations

Dec 19, 2017

A year filled with standing ovations

by Nobuko Tanaka

While 2017 featured many great stage productions and performances, these were among the standouts: 'Wasureru Nihonjin' ('The Japanese Who Forget') Chiten Watching this latest work by the wonderfully gifted young playwright Shuntaro Matsubara felt like being swept along in a flood of insightful observations about Japanese people ...