Japanese Theatre and the International Stage

Japanese Theatre and the International Stage

Japanese Theatre and the International Stage

Japanese Theatre and the International Stage

Synopsis

This well-illustrated work is the first attempt to bridge the gap between several specialized discourses concerning Japanese theatre. Central are problems of scholarly and practical reception of Japanese theatre forms in the West. The essays by a careful selection of internationally well-reputed scholars range widely through Japanese theatre, from the ancient to the postmodern, or, one might say, from kagura to angura. It deals with reception of Japanese theatre in the West, the treatment of the body in stage art and drama, Western influence, the impact of Japanese theatre practice and theory upon the actor's training, and stage directing in the West. Readers will come across a wide variety of intriguing topics, such as lion dances, kabuki, nôh, folk theatre, taishu engeki, and several important modern playwrights, etc. This book truly promises to intensify future dialogue between the many disciplines concerned with Japanese theatre.

Excerpt

In the fall and winter of 1997, the Japan Society of New York presented the most comprehensive exhibition of Japanese theatre arts ever shown outside of Japan. This project, five years in the making, was called "Japanese Theatre in the World," and was the brainchild of the Japan Society's gallery curator at the time, Dr. Gunhild Avitabile. It employed an international consortium of Japanese theatre scholars and artists and represented the full range of Japanese theatre forms, from early ritual performance genres to the most up-to-date postmodern work. Museum exhibits, lectures, and symposia were an essential part of its success.

The exhibit moved to Munich, Germany, in the spring of 1998, being displayed at the Museum Villa Stuck. From May 20–22, a remarkably broad range of international scholars converged on Munich to participate in a major symposium, also titled "Japanese Theatre in the World," and organized by Professor Stanca Scholz-Cionca, then of the Free University of Berlin and subsequently of the University of Oslo and the University of Trier, in collaboration with Professor Hans-Peter Bayerdörfer, Institut für Theaterwissenschaft, University of Munich, and Dr. Hannelore Eisenhofer-Halim, East Asian Studies, University of Munich. The symposium was held in the chambers of the exquisite Prince Regent Theatre (Prinzregententheater). Well over forty papers were presented day and night for three days. These were accompanied by framing events, such as acting demonstrations, workshop groups, video shows, and a staging of a play by Mori Ogai by Munich students under the direction of Cornelius Hirsch.

This book represents twenty-five of the papers delivered at the symposium. Their range reflects the broad scope of Japanese theatre, which is also captured in the volume's title, Japanese Theatre and the International Stage. Many readers already will be familiar with classical forms such as and kabuki, both of which are represented here, but many of this book's essays are concerned with less well-known types of theatre, such as the ritualistic kagura, the popular tabi shibai, and the avant-garde movement called angura, which actually is from the English "underground." While some internationally known Japanese forms are not discussed in these essays (there is nothing on kyôgen or bunraku, for example), even though they might have been . . .

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