Tokyo Theater Commons and Tokyo Performing Arts Meeting

This article was originally published in the Japan Times Newspaper on January 24, 2017. A bonanza is brewing in Tokyo and Yokohama for lovers of cross-cultural contemporary theater. That’s because, from Jan. 25 to Feb. 5, the capital’s Minato Ward hosts a new performance and workshop program named Theater Commons Tokyo. Meanwhile Yokohama’s Naka Ward…

Kyoto Experiment Autumn 2016

This article was originally published in the Japan Times Newspaper on October 25 2016. “Good fences make good neighbors” is an often-quoted line from Robert Frost’s poem “Mending Wall” about two farmers united in their effort to rebuild a wall that divides their land. Less well known is the poem’s central query: “Why do good fences make…

On Ishinha’s Final Show: “Amahara”

This article was originally published in the Japan Times Newspaper on September 27 2016. Performing on deserted beaches and in villages, temples, dockland warehouses and urban railyards, few theater companies can have traversed the range of landscapes and settings that have inspired Osaka-based Ishinha. Yet though journeys real and imagined have been key themes in…

Kyoto Experiment #6

This article was originally published in the Japan Times newspaper on February 23 2016. “It may be wrong to mix different wines, but old and new wisdom make an excellent mixture.” So claims The Singer in Bertolt Brecht’s 1944 play, “The Caucasian Chalk Circle.” If so, there are few places where tradition and the avant-garde…

Ishinha performs ‘Twilight’ in rural Soni Village, Kyoto

This article was originally published in the Japan Times newspaper on August 25 2015. Tokyo may be Japan’s performing-arts hub, but a growing number of artists are swapping the strictures of its cultural marketplace for the creative and lifestyle benefits of life outside the capital. For the Osaka-based Ishinha theater company, however, there’s nothing new…

Performances at the sixth Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale

This article was originally published in the Japan Times newspaper on July 21 2015. The sixth Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale is set to start July 26 in Tokamachi City and Tsunan Town in Niigata Prefecture, north-central Honshu. Though this mountainous region is known for picturesque wintry snowscapes and lush green summer rice fields, it is beset…

Konan W.U. students mark 50 years of Shakespeare in English

This article was originally published in the Japan Times newspaper on March 31 2015. In 1964, the late Polish theater scholar Jan Kott wrote “Shakespeare, Our Contemporary,” an influential book that questioned the processes of producing Shakespeare in the here and now and whether the Bard’s texts should serve as clues for an archeological dig…

"Twelfth Night" and "I, Malvolio" at ACM Theater, Art Tower Mito

This article was originally published in the Japan Times newspaper on Feb 4 2015. Over the past decade, Shintaro Mori has made a name for himself in Japan’s theater world as a director with a passion for plays in translation. So, true to form, next month at the ACM Theater in Art Tower Mito he…

"Landslide World" – Shiki Goroshi's stage adaptation of "Lord of the Flies"

This article was originally published in the Japan Times newspaper on January 7 2015. 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…

Kansai region in midst of arts renaissance

This article was originally published in the Japan Times newspaper on Jan 1 2015. In its 2013 policy report, the Agency for Cultural Affairs vowed to build “a nation based on culture and the arts” through the promotion of regional festivals, artist-in-residence programs and other events. So what can we expect the Kansai region’s contribution…