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“Theater, Dance Performance Information” — introduces events from Dec. 2005 to Mar. 2006
+Setagaya Public Theatre
The Setagaya Public Theatre (Artistic Director: Mansai Nomura) is one of the centers of Tokyo’s performing arts scene that puts special efforts into collaborative productions with overseas artists and companies, introducing foreign theater works and contemporary dance productions. Prominent of the annual schedule is the butoh program at the end of the year. Of particular not this time is the joint Japan-Germany production of a new work titled Shinkiro (Mirage) choreographed by the leading improvisational butoh artist, Akira Kasai (Jan. 13-15, 2006). There are also solo performances by butoh artist Min Tanaka (Nov. 24-26, 2005), Diarakudakan company performances (Dec. 16-18, 2005) and a schedule of three productions by the Paris-based butoh company Sankaijuku (Mar. 16-Apr. 2, 2006). Attention will focus on Sankaijuku’s new version of its famous early work Kinkan Shonen by younger members of the company.
The company Pappa TARAHUMARA, frequent performers on the international scene, will be presenting a long-awaited new spectacle based on Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude (Dec. 7-11, 2005). The popular group “Mizu to Abura” (Water and Oil) known for its fusion of pantomime and dance, will also present a new work (Feb. 24-Mar. 5, 2006).
In theater, the director of the company “Rinkogun” known for his prolific socially oriented works, Yoji Sakate, will present consecutive productions of two plays by Britain’s social playwright David Hare, The Permanent Way (Nov. 20-Dec. 4, 2005) and Stuff Happens (Jan. 2006, to be performed at the Shimokitazawa’s small theater, The Suzunari). Attention is also focused on the premiere performance of a production of Oriza Hirata’s Seoul Shimin (Citizens of Seoul) directed by Frederic Fischbach, who, as the associate artist for the 2007 Avignon Festival, has chosen this work for his festival program. In this Tokyo production, Fischbach will use Japanese actors (Dec. 11-25, 2005).
The Bunkamura is a private-sector comprehensive arts facility run by the Tokyu railway and department store group. Located in Shibuya, one of Tokyo’s central shopping and entertainment centers, this facility includes a concert hall (Orchard Hall), a theater (Theatre Cocoon), a movie theater and more, and is one of the city’s hot spots for the performing arts. With director Yukio Ninagawa serving as the Bunkamura’s artistic director since 1999, this has also been the Tokyo premiere theater for Ninagawa’s new works in recent years. The theater is also the frequent site of high-profile productions by noted small-theater playwrights and directors using famous actors from television and film.
For the period until late March of next year, the programs of note include a repeat performance of Hideki Noda production titled A Counterfeit Crime and Punishment based on the Dostoevsky novel (Dec. 6, 2005-Jan. 29, 2006) and a new science fiction style work titled Rodosha M (Worker M) by Keralino Sandrovich, the acclaimed playwright known for his unique style of serious comedies (Feb. 5-28, 2006).
+New National Theatre, Tokyo
The New National Theatre, Tokyo, is a comprehensive arts facility opened in 1997 to complement the existing National Theatre with its focus on the traditional arts of Kabuki, Bunraku and the like, by providing a venue for the staging of contemporary performing arts including opera, ballet, dance and theater. It features three halls: the Opera House, the mid-sized Play House theater and a small theater known as The Pit.
The present artistic director for the drama department, Tamiya Kuriyama, is scheduled to be succeeded by the new artistic director Hitoshi Uyama in April of 2006.
In addition to working toward re-recognition of the works modern and contemporary playwrights, the New National Theatre, Tokyo also commissions works from contemporary playwrights. Beginning from next April the theater will present a series of new commissioned works on the theme of messages for the future titled “Where Are We Headed?” The schedule includes works by the Chinese playwright Guo Shixing (Apr.) and the Japanese playwrights Ryo Iwamatsu (Apr., May), Ai Nagai (May, June) and Hisashi Inoue (June, July).
Attention is also focusing on the recent announcement that in November 2006, the director Tadashi Suzuki, known as the developer of the Suzuki Method that brings the physical expression conventions of traditional Japanese arts to contemporary theater, will be bringing a production to the New National Theatre, Tokyo for the first time with his staging of Cyrano de Bergerac.
+Niigata City Performing Arts Center “Ryutopia”
An announcement has been made of the newest work by Noism05, the dance company of one of today’s most looked-to choreographer, Jo Kanamori, the prolific artistic director of the dance division of Niigata City Performing Arts Center “Ryutopia.” Titled NINA-materialize sacrifice, it features music by the French-born Vietnamese musician Ton That An. After opening in Niigata from November 25-27, 2005, the production will tour the country with performance at the New National Theatre, Tokyo (Dec. 23-25). Another program that has attracted attention is the premiere of the latest of Ryutopia’s Noh-theater Shakespeare series, a production of Macbeth (Jan. 31-Feb. 3, 2006). In this production the Ichikawa Ennosuke Kabuki company actors Ichikawa Ukon and Ichikawa Emiya will be performing Shakespeare on the Noh stage for the first time.
Following the name succession of Kanzaburo and new productions staged contemporary theater directors, the latest center of attention in the Kabuki world in the later half of this year is Nakamura Ganjiro’s succession of the Sakata Tojuro name. After working toward the revival of Kamigata Kabuki and establishing the Chikamatsu-za in 1981 to revive the works of Chikamatsu Monzaemon, Ganjiro has now succeeded the name of Sakata Tojuro IV some 231 years after the death of Sakata Tojuro III. The commemorative performances for this succession began in Kyoto at the Minimi-za (Nov. 30-Dec. 26, 20005) and continue at Tokyo’s Kabuki-za (Jan. 2-26, 2006).