The Tempest might be regarded as less of a plot-driven script than as a study of Prospero's character while he wrestles with his own rage. While there was very much to admire about this remarkable adaptation, by confining the running time of the joruri version of Shakespeare's play into about the same amount of time as the original, the simple plot dominated. Yet in past experiences of ningyo joruri, my greatest impressions came from the extended sequences of virtuoso "business" and expressions of overwhelming emotional states. Despite the presence of some similar interludes in this production, I felt such powerful textures were missing. From the standpoint of pacing, of course, such long "arias" would be out of place in contemporary plays, fatally stretching out the performances and destroying the rhythms Western audiences have come to expect. Yet I would love to see a joruri adaptation of a Shakespeare play present only key scenes--not unusual in stagings at the Bunraku--thrilling audiences with the unrushed virtuosity of both manipulation and emotional expression they could expect in a traditional play. Bradford Clark Bowling Green State University REFERENCES Bach, Faith. 2009. English program for Bunraku (Osaka, National Bunraku Theatre). July/August performance. Fujita,
Asian Theatre Journal – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: May 28, 2011
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