The Aesthetics of Quietude: ÔTa Shôgo and the Theatre of Divestiture

By Eckersall, Peter | Australasian Drama Studies, April 2008 | Go to article overview

The Aesthetics of Quietude: ÔTa Shôgo and the Theatre of Divestiture


Eckersall, Peter, Australasian Drama Studies


Mari Boyd, The Aesthetics of Quietude: Ôta Shôgo and the Theatre of Divestiture (Tokyo: Sophia University Press, 2006)

Ôta Shôgo is a playwright, teacher and the former artistic director of the group Tenkei Gekijô (Transformation Theatre). He is one of the key figures in the 1960s angura (underground) theatre movement. Ôta's best known work outside of Japan is the wordless mesmeric play Mizu no Eki (The Water Station); Australian readers might remember that it played to critical and popular acclaim at the Adelaide and Perth Festivals in 1984. Other works especially well known in Japan include his noinspired play The Tale of Komachi Told by the Wind(1977) and the 'station series' of works using water, earth and wind as key thematic-dramaturgical elements. Ôta has worked in theatre for nearly fifty years. Mari Boyd's book The Aesthetics of Quietude: Ôta Shôgo and the Theatre of Divestiture is a timely comprehensive study of his life's work.

The Aesthetics of Quietude includes a short historical introduction to the context of theatre in Japan, including brief summaries of modern theatre in the twentieth century (shingeki) and the rise of the small theatre movement (angura/shôgekijo) in the 1960s. The central discussion on the themes of quietude and divestiture in Ôta's theatre is comparative. Boyd notes international contexts seen in avant-garde works by artists including John Cage and Robert Wilson. She then discusses in precise detail the rise of theatres of quietude associated with the contemporary colloquial theatre (gendai kogo engeki) movement of Hirata Oriza and others in the 1980s and 1990s. Boyd shows how quietude in theatre is characterised by the elements of silence, stillness and empty space (9-18). More than quietude, however, the idea of divestiture is the key concept of this book. Boyd explores this notion at length in discussion of Ôta's life as an artist and theoretician and in close readings of his key works, especially The Water Station. Like many in the 1960s avant-garde, Ôta wanted 'to de-emphasize the functions of the playwright and director and return the stage to the actor' (97). Boyd shows how this idea of an essential theatre peels away the inconsequential layers of dramaturgy. In essence, the elements of silence, slow physical expression and a strong relationship to theatrical space are what remain in Ôta's work as a 'non-dramatic code of divestiture' (103).

I was reminded of Jerzy Grotowski's idea of theatre as 'gradually eliminating whatever proved superfluous . …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Aesthetics of Quietude: ÔTa Shôgo and the Theatre of Divestiture
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.