Known as, a multidisciplinary hub for global leaders, artists, scholars and educators, the Japan Society will produce new and investigative work in the fields of theatre, dance and music as part of their performing arts program.
Their 2014-15 theatre programming, Stories from the War: Reflecting on WWII Through Theatre, will be, "aimed at reflection on the events, figures and themes surrounding the war and the relationship between the U.S. and Japan through a contemporary lens."
The theatrical listing follows. For complete performance listings click here.
Jan. 29-31 at 7:30 PM
"The centerpiece of the Spring WWII series is Miwa Yanagi’s Zero Hour: Tokyo Rose's Last Tape, which recounts the story of 'Tokyo Rose,' the young Japanese-American woman who was stranded in Japan during WWII, forced to serve as a broadcaster for a propaganda radio program controlled by the Japanese Imperial Army and subsequently tried for treason by the United States. Seventy years later, this historic incident is brought to life through a visually stunning theatrical whodunit conceived, written and directed by internationally renowned visual artist Miwa Yanagi (one of the featured artists in Japan Society’s 2011 gallery exhibition Bye Bye Kitty!! Between Heaven and Hell in Contemporary Japanese Art). Brimming with iconic imagery from her rich body of photographic work, Zero Hour tells the multi-layered story of a woman caught between two nations during the war. This marks Yanagi's North American debut as a theater artist."
Performed in English and Japanese with English subtitles. Tickets: $35/$28 Japan Society members.
Michiko Godai’s Yokohama Rosa / North American Premiere
April 25, 2015 at 7:30 PM and April 26 at 2:30 PM
"Continuing the WWII theater series, legendary actress Michiko Godai presents Yokohama Rosa, an intimate portrait of a woman whose life was forever changed by WWII. In this original one-woman tragicomedy inspired by the sight of a mysterious old woman frequently observed on the streets of Yokohama and known by locals as 'Merii-san,' Godai transforms on stage from a vulnerable young woman to a confident prostitute out on the streets, to a lovesick middle-aged woman and finally, to a frail but compassionate lady, who is homeless. Performed in Yokohama annually on the anniversary of the end of WWII in Japan, Godai's captivating piece reveals the war's deep and lasting consequences on the most personal level. "
Performed in Japanese with English subtitles. Tickets: $35/$28 for members.
New and Traditional Noh: Holy Mother in Nagasaki and Kiyotsune
May 14-16 at 7:30 PM
"Japan Society presents a rare double bill offering plays from the modern and traditional noh repertoires. In keeping with the theme of the Society’s WWII series, the evening features the poignant new play Holy Mother in Nagasaki in which a pilgrim is told about the legend of a woman who appeared to console the victims of the atomic bomb, surmised to have been the Virgin Mary herself. As a companion piece, the evening features Kiyotsune, one of the centuries-old masterpieces by Zeami, in which a grieving widow meets her warrior husband in a dream to learn of his final battle. These two complementary plays, led by renowned noh actor Kanji Shimizu of the celebrated Tessen-kai Noh Theater Association, round out the Society's WWII series, illustrating that the tragedies of war are timeless and borderless."
Performed in Japanese with English subtitles. Tickets: $62/$52 for members.
Play Reading Series: Contemporary Japanese Plays in English Translation
Dancing with the Bird written by Seiji Nozoe, translated and directed by James Yaegashi
March 9 at 7:30 PM
"For the 11th installation in this annual series that aims to introduce New York-based actors/directors to contemporary and topical Japanese theater artists and plays, the Society presents Dancing with the Bird, a Hitchcock-esque cliffhanger that describes a young woman whose hair is stuck in a fan nearly eight feet in the air, and the conversation that ensues with a man appearing to come to her rescue. Dancing with the Bird is written by Kishida Kunio Award-winning playwright/director Seiji Nozoe of Japan’s Haegiwa theater company whose plays are known for their amusing portrayal of the inner self within unusual but convincing realities. New York-based director, actor and filmmaker James Yaegashi translates the play and leads a cast of American actors in this minimalist three-person play that unleashes a world of emotion. Playwright Seiji Nozoe joins in a post-performance conversation with the audience."
Tickets: $12/$9 for members.
For tickets and more information visit japansociety.org.