This paper aimed to explain the transition of Hideki Noda’s style through the analysis of Hideki Noda’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1992, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Noda has been an active playwright, director, and actor from the 1980s. Previous studies have indicated that Noda changed his style when he dissolved his theatre company, Yume no Yuminsha. Hideki Noda’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream was produced three months before the dissolution of the company.
Noda reconstructed the Shakespearean original, altering it in two major aspects. First, Noda’s version was set in Japan. Second, Mephistopheles, the demon of Goethe’s Faust, made an appearance in the play. Mephistopheles contributed catastrophic aspects to the play, creating an episode out of the original story composed of the stolen words from the characters who had dissatisfaction in their minds. Due to the destructive power of the episode by Mephistopheles, the forest where fairies live, fell into crisis. To avoid the crisis, Soboro, originally Helena, created the new episode of reviving the forest, incorporating the catastrophic episode as a part of it. As the episodes were integrated into an inclusive story, the order of the forest was regained. The multiple episodes and their competitive relationship were the subjects of the play. Because the competitive relationship between the episodes inside the story was put in the foreground, this multi-layered structure may be called metafiction.
The reason for creating this adaptation can be inferred from the fashion of occultism of the 1970s, particularly the prophecies of Nostradamus that predicted the end of the world in 1999. In this paper, I interpreted the production as an opposition to the eschatological atmosphere at the time.
In examining the transition of Noda as a playwright, the metafictional structure is remarkable. During the 1980s, Noda’s works comprised bold images. In these plays, the images are not intended to be integrated at one point. On the contrary, after the dissolution of his theatre company, many of Noda’s works set clear themes, such as national borders and the Emperor. Hideki Noda’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream was unique in the feature that the multiple episodes were integrated by the metafictional structure of the play and such a structure itself was set in the theme of this play. In this respect, it is possible to understand a part of Noda’s tradition trying to construct a story integrated into one point as well as the criticism of contemporaries.
Although musicals from Broadway and the West End are generally regarded as the mainstream ever since the genre was established, since 1992 musicals from Vienna have been gradually recognized on a global scale. This research note outlines the acceptance of musicals in Vienna from the first performance in 1956 to the preparation for the original productions aiming at the global market in the 1990s, focusing on two main musical theaters, the Volksoper Wien and the Theater an der Wien.
The Volksoper took the initiative to introduce musicals to the Viennese audience. Led by Ernst Marboe and Marcel Prawy, American musicals were first incorporated in the annual repertoire of the Volksoper, one of the state theaters, with Kiss me Kate (1956). In fact, considering the Volksoper as a responsible for music dramas in Vienna, musicals remained as a sub category of its repertoire.
On the other hand, musicals were regarded as one of the main categories at the Theater an der Wien since their first appearance under the direction of Fritz Klingenbeck (1962-1965). While staging imported musicals, the Theater an der Wien created four original productions under the direction of Rolf Kutschera (1965-1982). Polterabend (1967), Helden, Helden (1972), Das Glas Wasser (1977), and Die Gräfin vom Natschmarkt (1978), were performed not only in Vienna but also in the other German-speaking countries. As not only the productions but also the management structure as well as the actors and actresses were expected to be homemade, Peter Weck (directed 1982-1992) established a management foundation »Vereinigte Bühnen Wien« in 1970 and a musical academy »Tanz-Studio Theater an der Wien« in 1984. His attempt was to produce high quality musical performances that not only meet the global standards but also clearly Austrian, in response to the criticism that the conventional performances were imperfect in quality or too Anglo-Saxon-styled for Vienna.
The acceptance of musicals in Vienna was influenced by a multitude of cultural and social factors in the post-war era. For example, musicals were both accepted and rejected because of political factors such as the Viennese cultural policies and the relationship with the United States. Economic factors such as tourism and theater management were also influential. In addition, differences between high culture and popular culture influenced the reception to musicals. By these factors, the center of musical theater shifted from the Volksoper to the Theater an der Wien, and finally it got ready to produce the original musical series in the 1990s.