Classic early mystery lays bare elusive Lepage style

by Mana Katsura

As an actor and world-class theater, film and opera director, Robert Lepage has become renowned for his unconventional productions using high-tech devices. Now, though, Tokyo audiences can feast their eyes and minds on this 56-year-old French-Canadian’s early masterpiece, 1987′s “Le Polygraphe (Polygraph),” a play that portrays the pain heartless society ...

Noda's 'Half Gods' powers up in all-Korean revival

Oct 8, 2014

Noda's 'Half Gods' powers up in all-Korean revival

by Nobuko Tanaka

In July 2009, Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre’s strategic relaunch with an artistic director in place of the suits who formerly oversaw its bookings was somewhat muted. That was because the sets for productions of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “The Merchant of Venice” by England’s ...

Hit play reveals a wife and mistress baring all

Oct 8, 2014

Hit play reveals a wife and mistress baring all

by Kris Kosaka

English playwright David Hare’s acclaimed 2002 West End hit “The Breath of Life” this week launches a new series titled “Drama for Two: the power of dialogue” at the New National Theatre Tokyo. Featuring the talents of Mayumi Wakamura and Seika Kuze, the Japanese ...

Who cares what Faust looks like

Oct 8, 2014

Who cares what Faust looks like

by Natsume Date

German contemporary theater has only begun to be introduced in Japan this century, before when the term “Western theater” was generally associated with works by British or American directors that told a story and diligently portrayed the psychological state of the characters. In comparison, ...

Singin' ballet star leads top show's Tokyo cast

Oct 1, 2014

Singin' ballet star leads top show's Tokyo cast

by Ayako Takahashi

Any pantheon of classic Western musical comedy films would include 1952′s “Singin’ in the Rain” starring the legendary actor and dancer Gene Kelly. Set in late- 1920s Hollywood as it was transitioning from silent films to talkies, it depicts a romance between an established ...

Kafka's worm takes a high-tech turn

Oct 1, 2014

Kafka's worm takes a high-tech turn

by Nobuko Tanaka

“I work a lot in France, where manga and anime are enormously popular, although many theater producers think they are basically for children and are often too violent. However, they regard my robot theater as being an essentially Japanese art form,” the pioneering dramatist ...

Oct 1, 2014

'Yama' brings ancient folk tales to life on stage

by Lindsay Nelson

At one point in “Yama,” two actors become foxes just by pulling their conical straw hats down over their faces to give them pointy snouts. It’s an idea the play’s director, Andrew Wakatsuki-Robinson, got from headgear he saw at the ancient Yama-dera Temple in ...

Tokyo Ballet's 'Don Quixote' revels in its Russian roots

Sep 17, 2014

Tokyo Ballet's 'Don Quixote' revels in its Russian roots

by Kris Kosaka

From its inception, the ballet “Don Quixote” has been a global collaboration. Based on an episode from the fancifully sprawling 17th-century Spanish novel “Don Quixote de la Mancha” by Miguel de Cervantes, it was originally choreographed by the Frenchman Marius Petipa, scored by Austrian ...

Korea's new 'Goddess' of musicals

Sep 17, 2014

Korea's new 'Goddess' of musicals

by Natsume Date

The central Seoul district of Daehangno is renowned for its small theaters in much the same way as Shimokitazawa is in Tokyo. But whereas the latter boasts teens of venues, Daehangno has upward of 140 — so really there’s no comparison. That remarkable concentration ...

Audiences set to star in Ago's language quest

Sep 17, 2014

Audiences set to star in Ago's language quest

by Mika Eglinton

Satoshi Ago has been in the news lately following his appointment as artistic director of the small but pioneering Kyoto theater, Atelier Gekken. Since long before that, however, the playwright, actor and director has been renowned for his thought-provoking “theater of mechanical reproduction.” Strongly ...