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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 theatre o...
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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.

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