Avignon chief sees culture and politics sharing the stage

by Nobuko Tanaka

“The Avignon Festival is not only about shows and theater, but also about thinking, searching and seeking to understand the world and its politics — and offering an opportunity for three weeks’ intellectual life experience every year,” Olivier Py, the event’s artistic director, declared with passion during a recent visit ...

Ichiyanagi opera aims to be 'total work of art'

Jan 14, 2015

Ichiyanagi opera aims to be 'total work of art'

by Ayako Takahashi

As part of its 40th-anniversary celebrations, Kanagawa Kenmin Hall in Yokohama will stage a world-premier version of “Legend of the Water Flame,” an opera by the renowned composer Toshi Ichiyanagi that’s scored around a libretto by a fellow octogenarian, the poet Makoto Ooka. “Opera ...

NT adds a new twist to its 'dogs tale'

Jan 14, 2015

NT adds a new twist to its 'dogs tale'

by Rei Sasaguchi

Based on a book of the same name by Kyokutei Bakin that was published in 96 volumes between 1814-42, the kabuki play “Nanso Satomi Hakkenden” (“Stories of Eight Men with the Character for ‘Dog’ in their Surnames”) recounts how its protagonists strive to restore ...

Star Belgian choreographer celebrates manga and more

Jan 7, 2015

Star Belgian choreographer celebrates manga and more

by Natsume Date

“Tokyo, my brother, my protector” was the tweet posted by Belgian-born Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui — often dubbed “the busiest choreographer in the world” — straight after he arrived here two months ago. Explaining in a recent interview with this writer what had prompted so ...

'Flies' festers at core of family life

Jan 7, 2015

'Flies' festers at core of family life

by Mika Eglinton and Andrew Eglinton

Central to William Golding’s dystopian novel “Lord of the Flies” is the notion of violence as a social construct. “Maybe there is a beast … maybe it’s only us,” says the protective Simon before a hostile assembly of other schoolboys marooned on the uninhabited ...

Uyama's new 'Lear' acts his age

Jan 7, 2015

Uyama's new 'Lear' acts his age

by Mika Eglinton

“You see me here, you gods, a poor old man, As full of grief as age; wretched in both!” (“King Lear,” Act 2, Scene 4) ‘King Lear” is often seen as a rite of passage for actors, one of the ultimate roles to conquer ...

Curtains up on 2015

Jan 1, 2015

Curtains up on 2015

by Ayako Takahashi, Natsume Date, Mana Katsura, and Kris Kosaka

Innovation adds sparkle to traditional forms Looking into the crystal ball of Japan’s traditional performing arts in 2015 reveals a sparkling blend of change and tradition. In what is its 120th year, the film and theater company and pillar of kabuki, Shochiku, will mark ...

Japan's artists aim to foster intra-Asia links

Jan 1, 2015

Japan's artists aim to foster intra-Asia links

by Mika Eglinton

The subject of Japan’s position in the world of Asian performing arts has been widely addressed over the past decade, and the new leadership of last year’s Festival/Tokyo — its largest annual performing-arts event — vowed to step up efforts to develop collaborations and ...

2014: New horizons opened up in Japan's theater world

Dec 24, 2014

2014: New horizons opened up in Japan's theater world

by Nobuko Tanaka

Looking back over the past 12 months in Japan’s theater world, it’s clear that one encouraging trend is a lessening of the capital’s dominance. Contemporary drama in this country has long been centralized on Tokyo, where major theaters plan their programs far in advance, ...

Japan recast as a <em>konbini</em> state

Dec 17, 2014

Japan recast as a konbini state

by Mika Eglinton

Following its May world premiere in Mannheim, Germany, and a summer spent gathering great reviews from its European tour, “Super Premium Soft Double Vanilla Rich” finally debuted in Japan last week at the Kanagawa Arts Theatre in Yokohama. This latest work by cutting-edge playwright-director ...

Silence is golden in art-comedy for all

Dec 17, 2014

Silence is golden in art-comedy for all

by Nobuko Tanaka

“I’ve been drawing pictures for as long as I can remember,” Kentaro Kobayashi said when I asked him how he came to be such a versatile and popular entertainer. Sporting a smart white shirt, the good-looking Yokohama native went on to explain that he ...