The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Artist Database
Born: 1975
Function: stage director playwright actor
Company: Asagaya Spiders

Nagatsuka was born in Tokyo and is leader of the theater unit, Asagaya Spiders. In 1996, while a student at Waseda University, he formed Asagaya Spiders as a small production unit free from the constraints of a conventional troupe, and has since devoted himself to writing, directing, and performing. Upholding the ethos that though the times may change stories remain universal, Nagatsuka portrays true-to-life human relationships, from parents and children to romantic love, creating a narrative landscape midway between realism and fiction. A central figure of the new generation Shogekijo scene, he produces works that directly tackle contemporary issues, while always moving along with the times. In 2004 he wrote and directed Hataraku otoko (Working Men), and directed Martin McDonagh's play The Pillowman, for which he received the 4th Asahi Performing Arts Award and the 55th Art Encouragement Prize for New Artists awarded by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. In 2005 he wrote and directed LAST SHOW, for which he won the 13th Yomiuri Theater Award for Best Play, and in 2006 he won the 14th Yomiuri Theater Award for Best Director for his direction of McDonagh's play Wee Thomas (original title The Lieutenant of Inishmore).

Photo: HARU
Hataraku otoko (A Working Men)
An apple orchard in Aomori is on the verge of bankruptcy. Having failed to strike lucky with their crop of “bitter” apples, the men are huddled in the office. If they can’t repay their loan, they will also lose the factory. Then they happen to hear that they can make big money just by dumping one truckload. In a shocking scene in which they eat high concentration waste with their fingers as a symbol of unethical market forces, this harshly satirical play exposes the sick state of contemporary Japan.

First staged: 2004
Acts/scenes: 1 act, 3 scenes
Cast: 9 (8 male, 1 female)
First staged by: Asagaya Spiders
[Translation] English: available from Gorch Brothers

Photo: Yakou Masahiko
The director and cameraman of a small TV production company are sent to make a documentary about an animal welfare worker. They are planning to expose an unsavory rumor about this man and interview him at the director's home. When the director's long-estranged father suddenly turns up, however, a provocative and gruesome episode about cannibalism and eating pets ensues. This play portrays unimaginable horror and bizarre cult pretensions, as well as a fantasy of love and strong emotions.

First staged: 2005
Acts/scenes: 1 act, 4 scenes
Cast: 6 (5 male, 1 female)
First staged by: PARCO Theater
[Translation] Korean: available from Japan-Korea Theatre Communications Center