The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Vol. 133 Updated Nov. 21, 2018
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Performing Arts in JapanInternationl Presenter
Artist Interview
Artist Interview: Tengai Amano, an artist of the fantastic Commanding a nostalgia for the universe
Chikara FujiwaraChikara Fujiwara (b. 1977) is a critic and artist with a background in editing. In 2014 he published “ENGEKI QUEST” (Theater Quest), a “Adventure Book” (adventure game scenario) set in an actual town as a project that guides participants to encounters around the town. We spoke with Fujiwara about his new type of theatrical quest as a member of the home computer roll-playing game generation.
Artist Interview: Tengai Amano, an artist of the fantastic Commanding a nostalgia for the universe
Takuya YokoyamaPlaywright and director Takuya Yokoyama (b. 1977, leader of iaku) is known for his conversational dramas depicting the conflicts between people of differing positions and mindsets play out in logical arguments set to the tempo of the Kansai dialect and laced with humor. Ever since he first drew attention with his 2009 three-man play Edaniku (literally: Dressed Carcass) about the fights between employees of a slaughterhouse, Yokoyama has continued to write numerous plays that address the contradictions of society through conversations and quarrels where the characters blurt out the feelings and discontent they normally keep suppressed inside themselves. This interview traces the career of Yokoyama as a playwright who strives to write conversations that move people simply by reading them.
Artist Interview: Tengai Amano, an artist of the fantastic Commanding a nostalgia for the universe
Tengai AmanoWith creative activities ranging from writing, directing plays and movies to collage art and illustration, Tengai Amano is an artist of fantastical ideas. As leader of the Nagoya-based theater company Shonen-oja-kan, he is known as a master of unique word-craft in his scripts and geometric dance like to movement of robotic puppets and the ability to bring together stage art, music, lighting, video and acoustics to create a somehow nostalgic “Amano world.” In this long interview we search for the roots of Amano’s “universal nostalgia.”
Presenter Interview
Presenter Interview; Alkantara Festival, and its aim to build a new type of artist community
David CabecinhaAlkantara Festival is an international contemporary performing arts festival held every other year in Portugal’s capital city of Lisbon, a city that is now one of Europe’s leading tourist destinations. We spoke with the festival’s artistic co-director David Cabecinha about the festival’s history, beginning from the launch of the Portugal New Dance festival with the support of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, to the present Alkantara Festival programs.
Presenter Interview; Connecting the World in the Canary Islands MASDANZA International Dance Festival
Natalia Medina
With its history as a stopover for ships crossing the Atlantic between Europe and the Americas, Spain’s Canary Islands today are best known as a tourist destination. Launched in 1996 as a competition for local choreographers, the MASDANZA International Dance Festival has developed into a noted international platform for a network of the dance festivals of many countries. In this interview, we talk with the festival’s founder and artistic director, Natalia Medina.
Presenter Interview; Onassis Cultural Centre-Athens Catalyst on Greece’s Contemporary Arts Scene
Katia Arfara
When the shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis passed away in 1975, the Onassis Foundation was established to honor the memory of his son Alexander who had died in an airplane crash by using money that would have been his inheritance for philanthropic purposes. It was this giant foundation that funded the construction of the Onassis Cultural Center as a comprehensive culture facility that opened in 2010. In this interview we spoke with Katia Arfara, the director of the Center’s theater and dance departments and programming director for its annual Fast Forward Festival held each May, about the Center’s programs and the festival.
Play of the Month
Play of the Month; To Mr. Gegege by Tomohiro Maekawa
After losing his left arm in active service during World War II in the Pacific, Shigeru Mizuki (1922 – 2015) went on to become a manga artist after the War and lead his era with the manga GeGeGe no Kitaro with supernatural characters based on folk creatures known as yokai. Maekawa, a writer greatly influenced by Mizuki, wrote this play based on his short stories as homage to Mizuki and the underlying themes of war and poverty found in most of his work. It is set in a country of Japan in the near future where the birthrate has dropped drastically and the population is steadily decreasing. The story develops from the arrival of a young couple that has fled the city at the shack in a country town where the semi-yokai Nezu is living.
Play of the Month; NO THEATER by Toshiki Okada
This play was created in collaboration with German actors as a repertory play for one of Germany’s leading public theaters, Munich Kammerspiele. Adopting the traditional Noh (NŌ) theater style, this is a contemporary Noh play consisting of two Noh plays with an interim Kyogen piece. It premiered in Germany in February of 2017 and was restaged in Kyoto in July of 2018. The setting is a subway train platform in Tokyo. Appearing in it are a departed spirit of the bubble [economy] and a ghost of feminism in a story that sheds light on a contemporary Japan swallowed up in the forces of capitalism.
Play of the Month; Usui Momoiro no Katamari by Ryo Iwamatsu
This play was recently written for the “Saitama Gold Theater” company for senior citizens of the SAINOKUNI Saitama Arts Theater. The play tells the story of the people of area evacuated due to radioactive contamination after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami and the resulting nuclear power plant accident, where wild boars came to rule after the people were gone. After a few years, the evacuation order has been lifted and people return, but only to find that the efforts of the area’s elders to reinstate the railway line that was destroyed by the earthquake are in vain. Eventually there is unrequited love reminiscent of Les Parapluies de Cherbourg.
Arts Organization of the Month
Arts Organization of the Month: Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art
This Centre opened in 1988 as Poland’s first large-scale contemporary art center. The Centre is housed in the reconstructed Ujazdowski Castle, a historic castle originally built in the 13th century that has been destroyed and rebuilt numerous times. Since 1990, the director is Wojciech Krukowski, leader of the Warsaw theater company Akademię Ruchu, who has worked to build a full-fledged program of arts activities at the Centre. In 2003, a residency program was launched that accepts about 30 artists a year.
Arts Organization of the Month: Taipei Artist Village/Treasure Hill Artist Village
Taipei Artist Village is a multipurpose facility opened in 2001 by the Taipei City Department of Cultural Affairs for an Artist-in-Residence program. As part of the city’s program to revitalize vacant spaces, 13 rooms of a building that formerly housed the Taipei City Department of Public Maintenance and Construction were renovated to serve as studios and living accommodations and a dance studio and music room, etc. In 2010, the Treasure Hill Artist Village was newly opened in existing buildings in a historical part of the city that were renovated to serve as living spaces with studio space.
Arts Organization of the Month: Performing Lines (Australia)
From its predecessor, the Australian Content Division of the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust (AETT) established in 1982, Performing Lines became an incorporated non-profit organization in 1990 specializing in the performing arts. The main principles behind the organization’s programs are fostering uniquely Australian performing arts and supporting independent artists, and while helping in the network-building of people involved in the performing arts, Performing Lines supports new artists that express the diversity of the Australian experience in new ways.
Japan Topics
Kyoto Experiment: Kyoto International Performing Arts Festival 2018 Opens (Oct. 6 – 28, 2018)   Oct. 9, 2018
ANTIBODIES Collective holds “Entoropical Paradise” event at the Seto Inland Sea island of Inujima (Oct. 5 – 8, 2018)   Oct. 9, 2018
Dance Dance Dance@YOKOHAMA 2018 (Aug. 4 – Sept 30, 2018)   Aug. 6, 2018
Tomoko Mukaiyama and Un Yamada collaboration GAKA performed in the Netherlands and Japan (June 15 – July 22)   Jul. 17, 2018
d-soko Theater “Dance ga Mitai!” 20 “With Yameru Maihime Performance” to be held (July 24 – Aug. 5, 2018)   Jul. 17, 2018
Japonismes 2018: les âmes en resonance: Stage performance lineup announced   May. 14, 2018
New National Theatre, Tokyo 2018/2019 Season Lineup Announced   May. 22, 2018
Presenter Topics
One of the World’s largest scale performing arts markets, CINARS Montreal opens (Nov. 12 – 17, 2018)   New! (Nov. 1, 2018)
Western Germany’s Grand Performing arts festival Ruhr Triennale opens (Aug. 9 – Sep. 23, 2018)   Aug. 9, 2018
The 72nd Avignon Festival in France (Jul. 6 – 24, 2018)   Aug. 9, 2018
News from the Japan Foundation
News from the Japan Foundation
Japan Foundation 2018 – 2019 (first application period) Grant Program for Dispatching Artists and Cultural Specialists grantees announced   New! (Jun. 26, 2018)
2018 – 2019 schedule of the Japan Foundation supported PAJ for North America programs finalized   New! (Jun. 26, 2018)
2018 – 2019 schedule of the Japan Foundation supported PAJ for Europe programs finalized   New! (Jun. 26, 2018)
ART ARCHIVE published as an English-language e-book series introducing the Philippine arts scene   Nov. 30, 2017
Wochi Kochi Magazine Vol. 065 “Contemporary Arts that Link Japan and Cuba”   New!