Previous studies of the theatre of Valère Novarina (1942-) have focused on analysing the text to decode the unusual language he uses. However, in postdramatic theatre, a close connection exists between writing and direction. Novarina actually collaborated with a director, Claude Buchvald (1954-), in the latter half of the 1990s, after which his theatre became a form of operetta and subsequently began to reach a larger public. This paper aims to review Novarina's dramaturgy by analysing Buchvald's directions through her doctoral thesis. Until Novarina began collaborating with Buchvald, most of his texts consisted of long and incoherent monologues, which exhausted an actor's memory and breath. This actor's sacrifice was indeed the highlight of Vous qui habitez le temps when Novarina directed it in 1989, while Buchvald's direction in 1995 instead showed the hidden comic aspect of it. They then coproduced Le Repas in 1996. Based on Novarina's text, which could become monotonous because of its repetition of words, Buchvald's direction realised a performance with various acrobatic numbers and songs, whose essence was absorbed in L'Opérette imaginaire, which was written specially for her company in 1998. Faithful to his texts, though fortified by her own experience, Buchvald played a vital role in Novarina's dramaturgy as well as in the direction of his texts.
This paper discusses Kabuki's role as a news media by comparing kabuki performances staged during the Satsuma rebellion (1877) to those concerning the Sino-Japanese war (1894-1895). In previous research, the negative reception of plays on the topic of the Sino-Japanese War has been considered as sign of Kabuki's inherent inability in dealing with modern warfare, and the reason why Kabuki turned away from staging plays on contemporary topics. However, the play Okige no kumo harau asagochi (1878) depicted the battles of the Satsuma rebellion, using a script based on newspaper articles, and incorporated realistic details of modern warfare, such as cannons, trumpets, commandments and marches on stage, yet received rave reviews. This paper analyses the success of this play, by comparing it to the play Nihon dai shōri (1894), which used newspaper articles from the Sino-Japanese war as a basis for its script. I will show that, contradictory to what has previously been argued, Meiji period Kabuki was not inherently incapable of dealing with modern warfare, and discuss what implications this has for re-considering Kabuki as one form of news media in the early 20th century.
This paper explores how Terayama in his La Marie-vison (1967) attempts to go beyond sexual bipolarization. Terayama's own creation can be better understood by comparing La Marie-vison with its hypotext: Arthur Kopit's play Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad (1962). Terayama transforms the macho Madame Rosepettle in Kopit's absurd play into Marie, a homosexual cross-dressing man who plays the role of the “mother” of a boy named Kinya. The plot of the play is so vague that any singular understanding or interpretation would not be possible. Although several binary oppositions exist, their borders are always dissolved and Marie becomes the symbol of noncommittal values. Even Marie's “motherhood” to Kinya is not clear. Kinya on his side, too, throws away all the butterfly specimens he had collected over time, thus symbolically rejecting any categorization. He tries to explore the true meaning of the word mother: a radical quest to grope for relations. In addition, the play has adapted famous lines from Snow White. Traditionally, the mirror's voice is interpreted as that of the father's, but in this play, it is Marie's voice that declares that Kinya will be the most beautiful “woman” in the world. Thus, depicting queer representations in a thorough manner, Terayama protests against not only established sexual models, but also the paternal masterplot.
In my previous research note “OSANAI Kaoru's religious faith and that time” (2015), I argued that OSANAI had followed several religions in his life. Around 1900, he briefly became a Christian. Thereafter, he was closely involved with new religions: Shiseiden around 1916 and Omoto-kyo around 1920. Whereas he held these faiths temporarily, OSANAI was interested in spiritualism throughout his life. It is necessary to consider this tendency in his theatrical work. This paper discusses OSANAI Kaoru's play Daiichi no Sekai (The First World), focusing on his religious faith and spiritualism. This play was written for a Kabuki actor, ICHIKAWA Sadanji II, performed by the Sadanji troupe in 1921. Until now, Daiichi no Sekai has been explored only in terms of its mysticism or symbolism, however this paper focuses on its connection to an autobiographical novel by a devout Christian: Shisen wo Koete (Before the Dawn) by KAGAWA Toyohiko. It is important to note that OSANAI had directed Shisen wo Koete, dramatized by the Shimpa (the 'new school'), in the month prior to the opening performance of Daiichi no Sekai. Specifically, this paper focuses on the reflection of OSANAI's feelings in the characters of Yamanaka, the man of the house, and Shimamura, the orphan houseboy.
This paper analyses the function of newspapers in Kawatake Mokuami's Suitengu Megumi no Fukagawa (1885), one of the most famous zangiri-mono plays (kabuki plays depicting the society after the Meiji Restoration). Especially well known are the scenes in which destitute ex-samurai Kobei goes insane, and Kobei surviving his suicide attempt because of a miracle by the Suitengu Shrine deity. In previous studies, the stylistic acting and direction of this play have been highly regarded. This paper, however, analyses how newspapers connect Kobei's family to the people who helped them. Mokuami used newspapers as props in other zangiri-mono plays. Typically, they function as a medium, which neutrally provides information to the characters. In Suitengu Megumi no Fukagawa, however, the newspaper tells the general public about Kobei and his family's difficult situation, which leads to numerous people donating money to the family through the newspaper. Thus, Kobei and his family are not only saved by the miracle of the Suitengu Shrine deity, but by the contributions to the newspaper which helps bring about the happy ending of the play. In this paper, I discuss how Mokuami incorporates as a plot device the contemporary vogue for donating through newspapers. This indicates a shift in society's perception of the role of newspapers, increasingly seeing them as tools for social intervention, not merely providers of information.