• Short Summary

    Shakespeare has been performed in countless different languages in countries around the world -- but last week a theatre in Tokyo added a new twist by staging 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' in Japanese with all the parts played a puppets.

  • Description

    Shakespeare has been performed in countless different languages in countries around the world -- but last week a theatre in Tokyo added a new twist by staging 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' in Japanese with all the parts played a puppets.

    SYNOPSIS: Japan has a long tradition of puppet theatre, called bunraku. So the play, which opened in Tokyo on Thursday, (11 August) didn't come as so much of a shock to the Tokyo audience as it might have to Shakespearean purists.

    The life-six puppets were all specially made for the production by Akimitsu Tomonaga, one of the country's top puppeteers, They're worked by operators dressed completely in black, including face masks, who speak the lines of the play.

    Tomanga made more than seventy puppets for A Midsummer Night's Dream, which was adapted for bunraku by Japanese director Kooji Shimizu. Like other traditional arts in Japan, bunraku takes years of practice to perfect. Operators have to spend a long apprenticeship working under a master-craftsman before they learn to move the puppets realistically enough.

    This is one thing the audience in Japan never sees -- the operator without a face mask of black silk. There's a big demand for puppets shows in Tokyo and other parts of the country, but it's not often that life-size figures are used, as in Shimizu's production.

    Another invasion of Shimzu's was the modern lighting on stage. Shakespeare would certainly not have recognised his own work if he'd been in the audience. But at least the last words of A Midsummer Night's Dream were still, as they always have been, those of Puck -- the Japanese equivalent of 'Think you have but slumbered here/While these visions did appear".

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVAAD7EJ2XRX0RP5A2SNG3CTIF7C
    Media URN:
    VLVAAD7EJ2XRX0RP5A2SNG3CTIF7C
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    14/08/1977
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:02:11:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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