In this paper, first, several recent arguments for the internal relationship between Athenian Democracy and the ideologies expressed in Athenian tragedy, arguments I call ‘institutionalism’ here, will be considered and discarded. Next, an element that has not received sufficient explanation by those who have argued against this relationship, that is, parrhêsia (free speech), will be discussed. Athenians of that period identified parrhêsia as one of the most important characteristics of their Democracy. It seems natural to connect the parrhêsia of Athenian tragic theatre which gave voice to the otherwise silenced minorities, especially women, with the Idea of Democracy. It will be argued that tragic parrhêsia is incorporated in the agonistic structure of the tragic plays themselves, where each ideological position is voiced by the actor until she reaches her last word. Characters do not stop speaking until they have nothing more to say. In this sense, parrhêsia is em-bodied in the theatre. Of the several structural elements which contribute to this parrhêsia, the importance of the circular orchestra, the masks, and the stichomythia, one line conversation, is considered.1
Presented in a bilingual framework, this book is a documentation of Masako Yuasa's Chikamatsu Theatre Project (2004-08), a highly commendable series of full stage productions in English of the 18th century bunraku puppet plays by esteemed playwright Chikamatsu Monzaemon so that they may reach and cultivate a diverse international audience. The reviewer analyzes the intricacies of Yuasa's method in honouring Chikamatsu's dramaturgy and themes while radically contemporizing the language and staging.