Tokyo’s stage scene ranges from stately traditional noh to shockingly avant-garde performance art. The diversity of Japanese performing arts provides insights into what can seem a monolithic culture.
A Japanese Director’s World Debut
Young playwright Shu Matsui reflects quandaries in his pieces like the emptiness of modern life for many Japanese and the rapid aging of society. I spoke to him after his work appeared at Festival/Tokyo.
Despite worldwide acceptance, grizzled Dairakudakan founder Akaji Maro insists butoh remains subversive. “They seem to be attracted to the bizarreness of it, like people are drawn to a haunted house at an amusement park.”
With 30 million people in the metropolitan area, Tokyo is also one of the world’s largest performing arts markets. This means that a plethora of international touring acts grace its numerous hi-tech venues. I’ve been privileged to be able to go backstage at numerous shows including Blue Man Group.
Japan’s marquee theater fest defends free speech post-3/11
The producer of Japan’s foremost stage showcase sees a cloud descending on free expression in the country. “In recent Japanese media… we can see a critical and dangerous increase in one-sided denunciations of risk-taking artists and art,” says program director Chiaki Soma in her notes for F/T12.
Metropolis, Oct 11, 2012
Perkins, Lewis and Cash… Who are they?
Metropolis, Jul 31, 2012
Silent comedy gets the Tokyo treatment
Metropolis, Mar 14, 2012
Manzo Nomura and Thane Camus bring “mad words” to the barbarians
Metropolis, Feb 15, 2012
American Idol’s Anthony Federov brings the biblical musical to Japan
Metropolis, Feb 17, 2011
Broadway star Amra-Faye Wright tries a familiar role — this time in Japanese
Metropolis, Jun 3, 2010
London’s International Theatre Company returns with a new take on the Bard’s most compact tragedy
Metropolis, May 6, 2010
Black Stripe Theatre takes a timely new look at Manuel Puig’s meditation on politics and homosexuality
Metropolis, Apr 8, 2010