Transcultural Collaborations

How Can We Transform The World Through One’s Self? Amsterdam’s Butoh Festival

In Waves: Transforming The World Through One’s Self At Amsterdam’s Butoh Festival In order to radically change the world, firstly you must make a change within yourself. The expressive check-in with one’s own self, or as Jean-Luc Nancy would interpret, the “return to self,” is a rampant theme for those who engage with their own bodies. I understand that performative events such as dance to resonate this notion. It’s also this notion that will be focused on during the Butoh Festival in Amsterdam’s Teatro Munganga this weekend. But even the term “Butoh” turbulates some issues. When I sat down to...

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“Y Tad” – Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru (A Welsh Translation of Florian Zeller’s “The Father”)

Terry Eagleton reminds us that in order for tragedy to occur, then the protagonist must be in search of their own complete individual identity of freedom [1]. That freedom, as I understand it, comes in multiple forms. Usually, if we begin in the Aristotelian sense, the harmatia (or, the tragic “flaw”) is that the character cannot be in control of the desired fate that (in ancient terms) the gods have set for them. In the case of Y Tad, that fate is out of the hands of Arwyn, the central protagonist of this story. As previously mentioned in my...

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Changing The Landscape Of Puppetry Theatre In Poland: Jakub Krofta And The Wrocław Puppet Theatre

Jakub Krofta is currently the Artistic Director of the Wrocław Puppet Theatre (Wrocławski Teatr Lalek/WTL). Krofta like some other Czech puppetry practitioners working in Poland was invited to Poland by the Lalka Theatre in Warsaw. He came in 2006 to stage Josef Kainar’s Goldilocks (Zlatovláska) as an already experienced director. His career began in 1993, when, as a student of the Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts (DAMU), he directed the Spoon River Anthology (Spoonriverská Antologie) for the Dejvice Theatre in Prague. The production was based on the collection of poems by E. L. Masters, under the...

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The Art Of Ageing Theatre Project

A first glance at the website for “The Art of Ageing” theatre project may lead you to conclude that this is another alarmist “gray tsunami” reaction to the aging of the world’s population. The bullet points on the home page include “Shrinking young generation,” “An additional 24 million people will live in Europe by 2040,” and “By 2060, 65-year and older people will make up 42% of the entire EU population,” followed by “What do we do?” However, rather than taking the common ageist approach, these theatre practitioners responded to issues of aging with innovative, collaborative work. Although it...

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“I Feel As If I’m Loosing My Leaves:” Translatability Of Theme Through Language In Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru’s Production Of Florian Zeller’s “Y Tad”

The universality of Florian Zeller’s undiminished modern masterpiece The Father has ceased to lose its translatability to a wider global audience. There aren’t many plays in the contemporary repertoire which have gauged the same excitement and fascination by audiences, scholars and theatre-makers alike. Here in September, the premiere of a recent Dutch translation by Jolijn Tevel reached the Stadsschouwburg in Amsterdam’s Leidseplein[i]. This month, Wales’ flagship Welsh language theatre company Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru will be the first company in Wales to present the inaugural Welsh translation by Geraint Løvgreen. The Play. The Father, premiered in Paris in 2015 (entitled Le...

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Satoshi Miyagi Returns To The Japan Society With “Mugen Noh Othello”

New York City’s Japan Society closed out its 2017-18 Noh-Now series this past January with renowned director Satoshi Miyagi’s Mugen Noh Othello. I was fortunate to see this compelling noh-inspired piece, remounted by Shizuoka Performing Arts Center (SPAC), where Miyagi has served as the Artistic Director since 2007. Shifting focus from the Moor of Shakespeare’s tragedy to that of his ill-fated and “un-notable” wife, Desdemona, Mugen Noh Othello presents an innovative reimagining that keenly considers the tale from the point of view of Othello’s victims. Mugen Noh Othello is the third time Miyagi’s work has appeared at the Japan...

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An Interview With Christine Lamborn: Western Actor’s Perspective On ”Kyogen”

The University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) is internationally recognized as the best university-based center for the study and practice of Asian performance (outside of Asia), offering a wide-ranging Asian theatre curriculum: theory and history courses, voice and movement courses—delving into the intricacies of jingju, kabuki, kyogen, noh, randai, and wayang kulit.    Each year, students have the opportunity to undergo intensive, year-long training in a traditional Asian theatre form with renowned practitioners who have spent their lives mastering the form. This arduous training—immersing students in the history and culture surrounding the art form, as well as the theatrical praxis—culminates in an English-language production of a traditional play.  For...

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Casting In Multiethnic And Multiracial Context: Changing Perspectives

Though I never met my great-grandfather, I was told he was fond of saying “Lucky we come Hawaii.”  It’s not the beautiful weather, access to a savory and delectable variety of foods, nor even our verdant majestic mountains and luxuriant sandy beaches which makes Hawaii truly special.  People like to say New York is the melting pot—but I would beg to differ: New York is a salad bar (there are many different ethnicities, but they’re mostly segregated in one area—the Italian district, little India, Hispanic, Chinatown, and so forth.)  Hawaii is truly a stew. In Hawaii, unlike anywhere else in the world, there is no majority of one ethnicity; we all...

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The Fusion Dance and Theatre: What’s Required in Successful Intercultural Collaboration

Australian theatre-person and actor Trevor Jamieson on finding parallels between Indian and Aboriginal cultures, with an aim to create a dance performance drawn from the similarities. Trevor Jamieson could well pass off for a native, with his swarthy features, his wild and bushy grey beard, and summer casual attire of a vest and harem pants, with a ratty pair of flipflops, to complement the look. Until you hear that distinct Australian twang, that is. “When I’m out on the road here in the city, people automatically think I’m Indian. They talk to me in Tamil/Malayalam and they’re quite taken...

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Russian Theatre On Screen: Yury Butusov’s “The Seagull”

Yury Butusov’s The Seagull is an exuberant feast of a theatrical performance. In the nearly four-hour long filmed staging, the actors seemingly never stop moving: they dance, toss objects across the stage, swing from ropes hanging from the ceiling, scream, gyrate, crawl on the ground. The stage is an electric whirlwind of energy: abrasive, frenetic, chaotic, enticing. As the first production of the second season of the cinematic series Stage Russia HD, this play was filmed on the stage of Moscow’s Satirikon Theatre so that it could be brought to audiences in the West (this season includes screenings in...

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The “KPOP” Invasion In A New American Musical Part II: Interview With Jason Kim And Helen Park

To read Part I of the series on KPOP, click here. For the article, I spoke with Jason Kim and Helen Park. Jason Kim who conceived the piece with Woodshed Collective and wrote the book recalls his inspiration for the piece: Jason Kim: A few weeks after I moved to the U.S. [at age 11], I opened my lunchbox at my elementary school cafeteria to find a delightful surprise. Kimbap [Korean rice roll]. My mom had packed my favorite dish, something that every Korean child grows up eating. Unable to find any chopsticks, I reached for the roll with...

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The “KPOP” Invasion in a New American Musical Part I

In the last few months of 2017, K-pop (Korean pop) has made it into U.S. news reports in two dramatically different ways. First, the Korean boy band BTS (Bangtan Boys) became the first Korean band to perform at the American Music Awards in November. With a remix of their song MIC Drop, featuring Steve Aoki and Desiigner, they also became the highest charting K-pop act in the Billboard Hot 100, rising to number 28. While K-pop has been acquiring a huge fan base in the US and all across the world with several artists such as Rain, Wonder Girls,...

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Ibsen’s “Peer Gynt” Gets A Cultural Twist When Director Yang Jung-ung Teams Up With Actor Kenji Urai

South Korean director Yang Jung-ung’s career has spanned several continents. From his theater work, with casts of numerous nationalities, to his role as artistic director for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, it’s clear he has long had the world in his sights. “I’ve always been drawn to experimental, intercultural directors such as the Italian Eugenio Barba, who is based in Denmark, Poland’s Italy-based pioneer Jerzy Grotowski and the great globe-trotting German modern dance icon Pina Bausch,” he says. Recently, though, the 48-year-old dramatist has been working out of a rehearsal studio at Setagaya Public Theatre in Tokyo, where he...

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Intercultural Theatre Practices – Interview With Frances Barbe

Interview conducted as part of the media partnership between Culture360 and International Theatre Institute (ITI).  Frances Barbe is a Director, Choreographer, and Performer and one of the speakers at the Asian Intercultural Conference in Singapore (which took place on 27-30 November 2017). Frances has shared her extensive experience in working in intercultural theatre and in particular with different training techniques, including butoh dance. Frances has worked all over the world. Her training combines western dance and theatre with contemporary Japanese approaches including butoh dance and Suzuki’s actor-training. She is Senior Lecturer at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) in Perth where she runs...

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Are You Ready to ReOrient? Festival Overview By Vidhu Singh, ReOrient Publications Dramaturg

As a team member of the first-time partnership between Golden Thread Productions and Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, Publications Dramaturg Vidhu Singh takes you behind-the-scenes of ReOrient 2017 Festival of Short Plays and highlights the importance of Golden Thread in the American theatre. ABOUT VIDHU SINGH BRAVA Artist-in-Residence Vidhu Singh is a theatre director, scholar, and dramaturg who is a key player in the South Asian Theater Arts Movement in the U.S. Founder of RasaNova Theater in 2004, she is also a founding member of World Wide Lab, an international theatre directors’ collective, and a core member...

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The Serendipitous Path of a U.S.-Russia Theatre Ambassador: An Interview with John Freedman

John Freedman was Theatre Critic at The Moscow Times from 1992 to 2015 and is currently Assistant to the Artistic Director at the Stanislavsky Electrotheatre in Moscow. In the interview below, Freedman reflects on over twenty-five years as a critic, scholar, and translator on the Moscow theatre scene, recounts efforts to bring about U.S.-Russia theatre exchange, and explores the artistic sensibilities behind the Electrotheatre’s unorthodox, distinctive, and magnetic repertoire. Yan Chen (YC): When you first came to Moscow to do research for your Ph.D dissertation, were you interested in the contemporary Russian theatre scene from the very start? John...

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Natalya Vorozhbit’s “Bad Roads” At The Royal Court: Russian And Ukrainian Drama In The UK

This November, the Royal Court Theatre in London stages the global premiere of Ukrainian playwright Natalia Vorozhbit’s play Bad Roads in an English language translation by Sasha Dugdale. Vorozhbit is one of the most exciting writers of contemporary Ukrainian theatre, producing plays in both Ukrainian and Russian languages. Her multifaceted plays have been performed in Russia, Ukraine, and internationally, and are often united in their uncompromising confrontation of contemporary life and society in the former Soviet Union. Vorozhbit’s theatre is synonymous with the explosion of new theatre writing, produced by a new generation of dramatists in the 2000s, which...

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Encountering Indonesia At AsiaTOPA (Part 2)

This is the second in a two-part series by Barbara Hatley. Read Part 1 here. Reflections on contemporary Indonesia and Australia-Indonesia relations at the AsiaTOPA festival Of all the images of Indonesia and representations of Australia-Indonesia relations in AsiaTOPA performances, the topic of Indonesian fishermen and refugee boats arriving in northern Australia was a recurring theme. Jaman Belulang (The Age Of Bones) by Australian playwright Sandra Thibodeaux tells the story of Ikan, a fifteen-year-old boy from a poor fishing village on the eastern island of Roti and working on a refugee boat, who is shipwrecked, picked up by the Australian authorities...

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Encountering Indonesia At AsiaTOPA 2017 (Part 1)

This is the first in a two-part series by Barbara Hatley. Read Part 2 here.  Indonesian performances at the AsiaTOPA festival opened up ‘creative conversations’ between Australians and Indonesians. Spanning more than two months, from late February to early April 2017, Melbourne’s inaugural AsiaTOPA (Asia–Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts), coordinated by the Melbourne Arts Centre, was a huge, diverse undertaking, involving many genres and venues and extensive collaboration with other institutions. In the view of festival organizers, this wide range of activities shared a particular focus. AsiaTOPA, was “not a survey,” wrote the directors in the program. It did not...

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