Few people have the vision to shape the kind of performing art that people choose to see. Theater, opera, and stage musicals have all developed over decades and centuries. But for one Belgian-Italian, there remained room for growth in grand, large-scale production shows that could combine the niche and much-maligned talents of circus acrobatics with postmodern dance, music, and narrative. This year, however, is set to be a breakthrough year for artistic director Franco Dragone. Dragone’s company, set up shortly after he left Cirque du Soleil, has gone on to produce even more elaborate, technically challenging, and spectacular shows than seen before.
Ever since her onstage acting debut at the age of just 15, Okinawa-born Meisa Kuroki quickly went on to become one of Japan’s most sought-after entertainer and model. With striking good looks, athletic ability, and stage presence, she has juggled careers in TV, film and theater, and even singing. After taking some time off following the birth of her daughter in September 2012, Kuroki is making a comeback as the lead in the play “Tomoe Gozen,” which is loosely based on the historical 12th Centutry female samurai of the same name.
She only just left one of Japan’s most popular girl groups, but Ai Takahashi hasn’t wasted any time embarking on a solo venture.
Until Dec. 24, the 25-year-old plays the lead female in “Dance of the Vampires” at Tokyo’s Imperial Garden Theater. The play marks the 100th anniversary of the first Western-style theater in Japan and a return to the stage for the 1997 musical production of Roman Polanski’s original 1967 comedy-horror film. In the story, Professor Abronsius and his young sidekick Alfred set off to the Alps to try to prove that vampires exist, but find themselves in trouble when a local girl Alfred falls in love with is visited by a vampire.
Perched meekly on a sofa in an Omotesando lounge, a dainty Maki Horikita is revealed as a shy but determined character as she prepares for a new challenge in an already award-winning career.
Dressed in vibrant blue, she looks sparkling compared to the intentionally scruffy images of her in the past. She is preparing for her upcoming role as Joan of Arc in a play of the same name at Akasaka Act theater, running from November 30 until December 19. It’ll be the first time Horikita, 22, steps into live performing, having established herself as one of Japan’s most dependable TV drama and film actresses.
Just outside Paris lies a small town called Aubervilliers. In it lives a community of 45 members, spouses, children, and, most notably, 38 horses. Like any normal nomad community, they are rarely at home instead traveling the world as a unit. These are no ordinary nomads, however. They are Theatre Zingaro, an extraordinary collection of performers, gypsies, acrobats, and musicians led by keen equestrian and actor, Bartabas.