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Unformatted text preview: summer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, and Hamlet. Among contemporary works, Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire and Arthur Culture in the Present Age 325 Miller’s Death of a Salesman (the latter produced by a left-wing theatrical
company) enjoyed successful runs. But foreign plays could in the long
run contribute little to the advancement of a native theatre, and the relative prosperity shingeki has had since the war is attributable also to the
original work of Japanese playwrights. Of particular interest has been
the writing of plays for shingeki by well-known novelists, most notably
Mishima Yukio (1925–70) and Abe Kòbò (1924–93).
Mishima, who had strong neoclassical tastes, is perhaps best remembered as a playwright for his use of both the Japanese and Western pasts.
Among his writings are modern nò plays, several kabuki pieces, and
works drawn from Western history, such as Madame de Sade (1965),
which is set at the time of the French Revolution. Abe, on the other
hand, devoted himself to avant-garde, experimental theatre, as we can
see in such plays as Friends (1967) and The Man Who Turned into a Stick
(1969). But even though Mishima and Abe may differ in the periods—
past and present—they chose to explore, they both significantly advanced
Japanese theatre by avoiding the pitfalls of earlier, prewar playwrights,
who tried to create modern Japanese plays essentially by incorporating
into them elements from the realistic tradition of theatre in the west.25
The plays of Mishima and Abe are original works, free from the constraints of realism, that have served to inspire other playwrights to press
forward in the development of a truly modern Japanese theatre.
Kabuki faced a situation and prospects quite different from those of
shingeki in the postwar period. In its origins, of course, kabuki was a
bourgeois theatre that the Tokugawa authorities at first had barely tolerated. Yet by modern times kabuki had unchallengeably become the main
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at The University of British Columbia.
- Spring '13