This paper discusses the transformation of KISARAGI Koharu's self from the 1980s to the 1990s. In the 1980s, the theme of KISARAGI's plays was her own self. At that time, her question, ‘Why should I create theatre?’ could be interpreted as the following: ‘Why am I doomed to write and direct plays?’ However, in the 1990s, she began to reflect on why she developed the theatre, as an artist, and the meanings of theatre for her community and the people around her.
I examine this developmental transition through two of her works: The Children of August (1991-1993) and A·R-Sketches of AKUTAGAWA Ryunosuke (1993). The Children of August is a report of her theatre workshop with junior high school students in 1991 by KISARAGI herself. A·R-Sketches of AKUTAGAWA Ryunosuke is one of her plays intended to be performed by her company ‘Noise’.
A·R-Sketches of AKUTAGAWA Ryunosuke is different from her previous plays. Its themes are the creation of art in our reality and everyday worlds, and the preoccupations of living as an artist within an ordinary society. Writing The Children of August led KISARAGI to make this novel shift. Reflecting on her workshop by writing The Children of August, KISARAGI began to think about theatre's responsibilities towards and possibilities for communities.
The performance by the Theatre Association (Xiju Xieshe) of The Merchant of Venice in May 1930—the Theatre Association's fourteenth public performance—was the first full-scale production of a Shakespearean play in China. But until now there has been virtually no researches on this performance. In this article, I first analyze its background, then clarify the actual course of events that culminated in the performance, and show that even in the context of Chinese spoken plays as a whole it was in effect the earliest full-scale performance of a translated play. In addition, I examine the reason that The Merchant of Venice was chosen for China's first proper performance of a Shakespearean play and characteristics of the reception of The Merchant of Venice in China. Further, I show that the significance of this successful full-scale performance of a translated play in 1930 was greater than has been hitherto imagined, both in the history of the reception of Shakespeare in China and in the history of modern Chinese drama.
Martin CRIMP's Attempts on Her Life (1996) abounds with experimentation that violates the conventional rules of modern dramas. In this paper, I analyse Attempts, focusing on the structure. The play consists of 17 fragmentary scenarios dealing with the concept of character, which is represented by ‘Anne’, who never appears. The purpose in this paper is to shed some light on the peculiarity of this play.
All 17 scenarios have the same form, where only the speakers talk about Anne. The content of the scenarios is discontinuous and inconsistent. Moreover, Anne is depicted quite differently by each of the speakers. The consistency of the form emphasises the arbitrariness of the content. This arbitrariness stimulates the imagination of both readers and audiences, and even urges them to imagine another Anne not depicted in the play.
This mechanism of stimulation is particularly clear in the first scenario, ‘All Messages Deleted’. In this scenario, the messages on an answering machine are deleted after a pause. Although CRIMP never says how and by whom the messages are deleted, the pause urges readers and audiences to surmise it is Anne who deletes the messages. The mechanism of stimulation in Attempts always encourages readers and audiences to create Anne using their imagination, even though Anne never appears as a physical character in the play.
Thus, based on the above, one of the peculiarities of Attempts is this mechanism of stimulation that encourages the creativity and imagination of readers and audiences.
Since the 1990s, Swiss theatre director and former stage composer Christoph MARTHALER has been known for his works which use music in a unique form. For each projects, his production team, including a stage designer, a dramaturge and actors/singers/musicians, first discuss particular themes, while eating and drinking for ten days or more. This is the important first phase, which MARTHALER calls “the process of fermentation”. This process develops into the practice of a chorus. As MARTHALER's set doesn't have large exits, the performers can easily form a chorus on set. They sing the chorus, sometimes they sing also as solo singers, often with alienations such as laughing and coughing during singing. By using these alienations, MARTHALER caricatures the contemporary people in particular social categories.
This scheme has also been implemented in MARTHALER's production Riesenbutzbach (2009). However, there was a remarkable difference to MARTHALER's past works. On the set entitled “Institut für Gärungsgewerbe (Institute for fermentation),” the figures say their lines often as monologues which express their state after the Lehman Shock. The caricatured people are representatives of the enormous number of ordinary people after the worldwide financial crisis. In this “Institute for fermentation”, the figures could be in the process of vanishing. This reflects probably the anxiety of the ordinary people, including a part of the audience and perhaps also the members of MARTHALER's team.