What is it?
This is a multimedia exposition and comparison of three parallel productions of The Shakespeare Theatre's A Midsummer Night's Dream, all directed by Deguchi Norio at the Tokyo Globe in 1994.
What does it do?
Each production is represented by a sequence of "pages" containing either still images or video clips. By moving through each sequence (turning the pages), the viewer can form an idea of what each production looked like and how it evolved.
In addition to its visual content, each page contains two types of textual content:-
- a "commentary" on theatrical artistry and cultural context.
- the Shakespeare text corresponding to the moment shown on the screen.
As well as following the line of a given sequence, the viewer can move across sequences, to discover how a moment or line or scene is handled in the other productions. Typically, these "horizontal" explorations are prompted within a given commentary rather than at random.
This "contrast and compare" facility offers an idea of the accumulated theatrical language and performative repertoire of one of the most important post-war directors of Shakespeare in Japan. It also offers useful insights into important differences of cultural character and theatrical interpretation across the productions.
Who -- and what -- is it for?
Our aim is to produce a performance description useful to both Japanese and non-Japanese viewers alike.
- Japanese viewers, we hope, will find what may be familiar productions subjected to a new level of performance analysis: one which multimedia allows to be unusually intensive and detailed.
- Non-Japanese viewers should also find a unique opportunity to "read" performances which might otherwise remain culturally opaque.
Nationality aside, the package is intended for Shakespeareans, performers, performance scholars and students.
A larger aim is to encourage the comparative study of Shakespeare performance within Asia. It is hoped that a second multimedia performance description can be created in conjunction with representatives of the Shakespeare Societies in other Asian countries.
Ryuta Minami teaches in the Department of English at Kobe City University of Foreign Studies. His email address is <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Ian Carruthers teaches in the Department of Theatre and Drama at La Trobe University. His email address is <I.Carruthers@latrobe.edu.au>. Further information may be obtained from Http://www.latrobe.edu.au/www/drama.
John Gillies is an Australia Research Council Fellow in the Department of Theatre and Drama at La Trobe University. His email address is <J.Gillies@latrobe.edu.au>. Further information may be obtained from Http://www.latrobe.edu.au/www/drama.
Where is it coming from?
This is a product of "Shakespeare in Asia", a project supported by an Australia Research Council large grant (1996-8), for the purposes of:-
- researching Shakespeare performance within the Indian/Pacific rim cultures (principally Japan, China, India, and Indonesia).
- facilitating dialogue (conferences and academic exchange) between Shakespeareans in these countries.
"Shakespeare in Asia" project members include Ian Carruthers (team leader and Japan coordinator), John Gillies (China coordinator), Dennis Bartholomeusz (India coordinator), and Harry Aveling (Indonesia coordinator).
The "Shakespeare in Japan" project, which is one part of the larger "Shakespeare in Asia" project, is indebted to the Shakespeare Society of Japan, especially during the Presidency of Yasunari Takahashi. It owes much to a collaborative international seminar on "Shakespeare in Japan" at the ISA (Los Angeles, April 1996), co-led by Professor Yasunari Takahashi and Ian Carruthers.
A book of collected essays and interviews, drawn principally from this seminar, has also been edited by the three authors of this CD-ROM, Ryuta Minami, Ian Carruthers, and John Gillies, as "Performing Shakespeare in Japan". All were members of the "Shakespeare in Japan" seminar.
This multimedia project, "Shakespeare in Japan: Deguchi Norio", builds on equipment and experience from a 1995 team project supported by a CAUT and LaTrobe University research grant: "Multimedia Performance Analysis". The researchers were: John Gillies (team leader), Ian Carruthers and Bruce Williams.
We are especially indebted to Mr. Deguchi Norio for his generosity in allowing us copyright permission to use video footage and still images from his productions for this CD-ROM.
Enquiries regarding purchase of this multimedia package on CD-ROM at cost price, should be directed to Julia Orlowski, The Department of Theatre and Drama, School of Arts and Media, La Trobe University, Bundoora 3083, Victoria, Australia. Fax: 61-3-9479-3037