Kyoto Experiment #5

This article was originally published in the Japan Times newspaper on Sept 24 2014. Kyoto Experiment, the city’s monthlong international performing-arts festival that debuted in 2010 and has been growing in popularity in the vanguard of contemporary performance every year since, is now set to embark on its fifth and most radical edition. The ongoing…

Nomura Mansai's "Suitcase Macbeth"

This article was originally published in the Japan Times newspaper on July 16 2014. Cultures collide on the small square stage of Mansai Nomura’s pared-down “Macbeth,” in which the actor/director draws on the restrained aesthetics of noh and the agility and wit of kyōgen traditional comic theater as he transplants his version of Shakespeare’s blood-soaked Scottish play to medieval…

On the launch of the Kinosaki International Arts Center

This article was originally published in the Japan Times newspaper on June 4 2014. JUN 4, 2014ARTICLE HISTORY PRINT SHARE The small hot-spring resort of Kinosaki beside the Sea of Japan in northern Hyogo Prefecture is as picturesque as it is peacefully genteel. However, with April’s opening of the Kinosaki International Arts Center (KIAC), this…

French theatre at the core of SPAC's 2014 festival

This article was originally published in the Japan Times newspaper on April 23 2014. It is often said that “variety is the spice of life,” but in the multifarious world of theater it is more a staple than a special condiment. That said, “variety” is the keyword chosen by Satoshi Miyagi, artistic director of the…

Review of "Gear" an immersive, non-verbal theatre show in Kyoto

This article was originally published in the Japan Times newspaper on Feb 26 2014. Art Complex 1928, a contemporary performing-arts venue in central Kyoto, used to be a regional office of the Mainichi Shimbun national newspaper. Its 1920s  Art Deco-inspired architecture — including a star-shaped balcony and windows by Goichi Takeda — has even been…

Tokyo Performing Arts Market 2014

This article was originally published in the Japan Times newspaper on Feb 5 2014. As befits its designation as a “Cultural City of East Asia 2014,” Yokohama is about to host Japan’s foremost annual platform for contemporary performing arts. Launched in 1995 as the Tokyo Performing Arts Market, the weeklong event moved to its present…

On Chiten's rendition of Brecht's "Fatzer" at Underthrow, Kyoto

This article was originally published in the Japan Times newspaper on Nov 13 2013. The term “metatheater” refers to devices in a play that break the so-called “fourth wall” — the illusion of theatrical reality — in order to involve the audience as critical participants in the production. Metatheatricality is a hallmark of early 20th-century…

Kyoto Experiment #4

This article was originally published in the Japan Times newspaper on Oct 16 2013. Language, memory and identity politics are at the core of the fourth edition of Kyoto Experiment, the annual feast of progressive and experimental theater now being served up by organizers the Kyoto International Performing Arts Festival. Along with artists from Japan,…