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2007.7.30
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The master of “silent theater,” Shogo Ohta passes away at 67 (July, 13, 2007)
 On July 13, the highly acclaimed playwright and theater director Shogo Ohta died of lung cancer at the age of 67. Ohta won acclaim not only in Japan but internationally for his avant-garde “silent (wordless) theater” style of play that did away with the written script.
Born in 1939, Ohta grew up in Jinan of Shandong Province, China. He began writing plays while a student in Tokyo’s Gakushuin high school, and after dropping out of Gakushuin University later he started the theater company Tenkei Gekijo in 1968. With a unique style of theatrical expression that stressed silence and extremely slow movement, he established his own genre of theater that came to be known as “silent (wordless) theater.” He won the 22nd Kishida Drama Award for his play Komachi Fuden (“The Tale of Komachi Told by the Wind”) that premiered in 1977. One of his representative that would be performed in 24 cities around the world was Mizu no Eki (The Water Station) (premiered 1981), a script-less play that portrayed the coming and going of people who stopped at water fountain where a single stream of water flowed down from a single faucet. This was followed by two more plays titled Chi no Eki (The Earth Station) and Kaze no Eki (The Wind Station) to complete a trilogy that came to be known as Ohta’s “Silent Theater Trilogy.” After the dissolution of his theater company in 1988, Ohta served as artistic director of the Shonandai Bunka Center Public Theater in Fujisawa, Kanagawa Pref., where he presented new works including Akichi (Vacant Lot) and Suna no Eki (The Sand Station). He also taught as a professor of Kinki University and Kyoto University of Art and Design. His books include Hisho to Kensui, Rakei no Gekijo, Geki no Kibo, Butai no Mizu and Nanimokamo Nakushimiru.
A memorial service will be held on Sept. 10, 2007 with flower offering from 3:00 and a ceremony starting at 6:00 in the evening at the Aoyama Spiral Hall in Tokyo.
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