This paper analyzes Shiko Tsubouchi's interpretation and depiction of Gertrude and Ophelia in the text and on stage from the viewpoint of ‘naturalistic’ representations in his Hamlet in 1918. The concept of this production was based on Shiko's idea that Japanese people should perform Western plays reflecting Japanese people's ‘natural’ behavior; he called this way of acting ‘naturalness’. Shiko rejected ‘realism’ because he thought it was a simple imitation of Western culture without criticism or consideration.
In order to show ‘natural’ women for Japanese audiences, Shiko portrayed female characters in Hamlet according to Japanese ideals of the time such as a ‘good wife and wise mother’ or an obedient maiden and cast women in female roles. However, there was active debate about the chastity of actresses at that era, therefore actresses appealed for their faithfulness rather than their sexual fascination. This tendency was another factor encouraging the Japanization of female characters in Hamlet.
This study shows the importance of this production as a starting point where Shiko attempted to portray ‘natural’ women in ‘natural’ acting for Japanese audience. This attempt started from denying the ‘realism’ of imitating Western cultures and encouraging the imitation of ‘natural’ in Japanese culture. However, his ‘natural’ style equated to the general meaning of ‘realistic’ style in the end.
The dance style of Isadora Duncan, who started her career in 1899, was called not only "free dance" but also "plastique dance" at that time. In the dictionary of the era, "plastique" referred to lifeless objects made of inorganic materials. Why, then, did the term exist in the early 20th century as a synonym for Bacchanalia free dance?
In my research, this term was proposed during this period to indicate the organic nature of the human body with its formative potential, while considering the inorganic meaning of plastic arts. It was a key concept that attempted to acquire new qualities of the human body, and which has been developed while including seemingly contradictory aspects of the organic and inorganic.
This paper focuses on the term "plastique," which was widely used in European theatrical culture in the early 20th century. Through specific examples of use by several theater artists, I discuss the meaning of the term and why this concept was needed at this time.
Chikamatsu Monzaemon's Kaoyo Utakaruta (1714) is considered a topical joruri play incorporating the Ejima Affair. This study considers the play as a dramatization involving Ikushima Shingoro, a popular kabuki actor responsible for the Ejima Affair, and Yamashita Kyoemon, a leading kabuki actor in Kamigata (Kyoto-Osaka area), who distinguished himself in Takiguchi (1676) and then contemplated retirement.
This play follows the previous play in which the lovers Takiguchi and Yokobue wandered separately, committing their crime of meeting in secret. However, their love scene recalls those played by Nakamura Shichisaburo in Kyo (1697-1699). Takiguchi's father Katsuyori rebukes his son's immorality. Such rebuke scenes have similarities to scenes played by Kyoemon, who co-starred with Shichisaburo in Kyo. Kyoemon's farewell performance in Edo, planned for Shichisaburo's memorial service, could not occur due to the Ejima Affair. Therefore, this scene could be interpreted as Shingoro, Shichisaburo's successor, being rebuked by Kyoemon. However, in the utakaruta scene, the use of Sutokuin's poetry, “I will be with you in the future even if broken,” hints at a plea to pardon Shingoro, who was exiled to Miyake Island.
In Act Three's climax, Chikamatsu gives the kubijikken scene (the identification of severed heads) a new twist, using buckets with lids, and highlights Katsuyori's inspection of the stand-ins for the heads in the buckets. Therefore, this play must have been dedicated to Kyoemon, who retired hoping for Shingoro's pardon.
W.E.B. DuBois (1868-1963) was a historian, sociologist, and one of the greatest black civil rights activists in the twentieth-century US. Of his enormous body of work, two historical pageants—The Star of Ethiopia (1913) and George Washington and Black Folk (1932)—have attracted little attention from researchers. Yet, rather than to just take advantage of the boom in popularity of historical pageantry in the US between the 1900s and the early 1940s, DuBois employed this theatrical form particularly as a cultural and artistic conveyer to visualize his thoughts concerning social upliftment and dispelling “double-consciousness.” This paper first explains the nationalistic characteristics of this theatrical genre and its affinity with the black movement. It then discusses that DuBois made the most of historical pageantry to realize his idea of social upliftment, involving both black and white citizens. His first pageant, The Star of Ethiopia, shows DuBois made the most of historical pageantry to convey his strong messages only to the black citizens, but not the white. However, in the second pageant, George Washington and Black Folk, he elaborately set devices to attract white citizens. Yet, as his true goal still lies in conveying strong nationalistic messages to his people, he slips in impressive episodes concerning achievements of black characters, including Crispus Attucks and Toussaint Louverture, into the existing white-centric American history. Approaching these pageants from the viewpoint of theatrical studies will cast light on the fact that DuBois adapted his racial strategy into pageantry, which was extremely popular among the white Americans then, as well as his desperate search for realizing social upliftment through theater.