This year’s festival brought together works from five continents. The festival opening featured an international collaborative production of Hideki Noda’s
(Richard III) directed by Ong Keng Sen of Singapore. Performing in this production were Kabuki actor Kazutaro Nakamura, Kyogen actor
, former Takarazuka Revue star Seika Kuze, Kegawazoku’s Junko Emoto and other first-line actors from Japan, Singapore and Indonesia and shadow play actors from Bali.
Also on the program, SPAC artistic director Satoshi Miyagi
directed a pre-premiere performance of the new play Le Lievre Blanc d’Inaba et des Navajos
(The White Hare of Inaba-Navajo) commissioned by France’s Musée du quai Branly in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the museum’s opening. This performance, staged outdoors in the Sumpujo Park, preceded the world premiere of the play in France. Olivier Py (France) presented a new version of The Girl the Devil and the Mill
(premiered at the Avignon Theater Festival in 2014), which he had staged at SPAC originally in 2009. Also, William Kentridge (South Africa) in collaboration with the Handspring Puppet Company presented the controversial work Ubu and the Truth Commission
, a play about trials of the perpetrators of dark deeds under that countries former apartheid policy; playwright/director Wajdi Mouwad OUAWAD (Lebanese-Canadian) presented the monodrama Seuls
about the travails of a solitary young man; and Lebanese playwright/director/actress Sawsan Bou Khaled performed her monodrama work Alice
for the first time in Japan. In addition, Tim Watts (Australia) presented an engaging work about the inner world of a person with dementia.
In the festival’s symposium this time, three internationally active artists who are also producers running theaters and festivals, Ong Keng Sen, Satoshi Miyagi and Oriza Hirata
talked together on the subject of “What is the power of theater?”
Concurrent with the festival, the City of Shizuoka sponsored a “The Town is a Theater” project featuring outdoor performances in Sumpujo Park and other venues around the city, and in the “Strange Seed Project” (free admission) open-air fringe program held in venues around the city of Shizuoka 14 groups including Company Drashinera and TOKYO ELECTROCK STAIRS gave performances. There also a Festival Bar where people could meet and talk with the actors and production staff and a Shizuoka tea-picking event.
This is an international theater festival organized by the Shizuoka Performing Arts Center (SPAC), which was founded in 1997 by the Shizuoka local government as Japan’s first publicly-funded performing arts organization with its own resident actors, technical and production staff, based at its own facilities, including a theater and rehearsal studios. In 2011, its name was changed from the Spring Arts Festival Shizuoka to the Fuji no Kuni – World Theatre Festival (English name: World Theatre Festival Shizuoka under Mt. Fuji) and is now held each June at four venues in Shizuoka city including the Shizuoka Performing Arts Theater and the Shizuoka Performing Arts Park. Based on the concept that Fuji no Kuni (the land of Mt. Fuji = Shizuoka) can be connected to the world through theater, the festival presents productions by Japanese and foreign directors. The festival’s director is the SPAC artistic director, Satoshi Miyagi.