所属 明治大学 文学部 職種 専任教授
|標題||The Politics of Stage Violence in Japan Today|
|掲載誌名||Theatre and Humanism in a World of Violence, ed. by Ian Herbert and Kalina Stefanova|
|出版社・発行元||Sofia: St. Kliment Ohridski University Press|
|概要||Theatre has thrived on violence. Think of Oedipus Rex and Medea. Milking the public's taste for violence must have been very much in Shakespeare's mind when he wrote Titus Andronicus. Kabuki is also rife with violence. When a Japanese kabuki company called Heisei Nakamura-za toured to New York in 2004 with Summer Festival: A Mirror of Osaka (Natsumatsuri Naniwa Kagami), the New York Times review remarked that 'the violence feels more poisonously concentrated than it ever does in a crime or horror movie.' Violence is nothing new to theatre.
Arguably violence is intrinsic to theatre. Writing on the character of Shakespeare's Coriolanus, William Hazlitt in 1816 said that the language of poetry 'naturally falls in with the language of power.' Dramatic poetry works on binaries, contrasting the extraordinary with the mundane. It likes to focus on the dazzling appearance of the superhuman protagonist who rises 'above the ordinary standard of sufferings and crimes.' Power, after all, is another name for a mechanism of/for violence.
To be justifiable, stage violence must strive to evoke the (not merely delectable) sense of pain on the part of the audience with a clear purpose of revising its perception of political power which enables it in the first place. The question that should be asked, therefore, is: How does today's theatre reflect the current change in the relationship between power and violence? Stage violence becomes dangerously 'sexy' when it caters to scopophiliac -- or panoptical -- desire, and that can happen regardless of whether, as in kabuki, it is stylized and aestheticized to serve as a dose of moral anaesthesia. Looking away and pretending not to see it, however, is worse, if the artist firmly believes the depiction of violence is necessary for getting engaged in the politics of perception. The paper discusses some of the questions that arise from this context with special attention to Hideki Noda's The Bee (2006) and Simon McBurney's Shun-kin (2008).