Vol. 5 Num 696 Mon. May 15, 2006  

In conversation with Mitsuya Mori

Professor Mitsuya Mori teaches theatre in the Department of Art Studies at Seijo University, Japan. He is a scholar on Scandinavian drama. Besides his academic activities, Mitsuya Mori is an acclaimed director of contemporary theatre. So far he has directed hundreds of plays. Moreover, he has translated many Scandinavian stage plays including Ibsen's drama. Mori is in the town to participate theatre festival titled 'Staging Ibsen in Asia', which is a part of ongoing Ibsen Commemoration '06, Bangladesh. His translation of Ibsen's Ghosts was staged in the festival.

On the arrangement Mori said, "It's a appreciable endeavour to arrange a theatre festival including master playwright Henrik Ibsen. It will help the theatre practitioners to exchange views."

On the current theatre scenario of Japan, Mori said, "In the big cities in like Tokyo, Osaka and others there are many theatre companies which stage traditional theatre such as Noh and Kabuki as well as contemporary theatre introduced in 19th century. Moreover, contemporary directors are blending traditional performing art forms with European theatre styles.

"Professional theatre is practiced in Japan. Traditional Noh and Kabuki theatre companies can run on their own, but the contemporary theatre companies sometimes struggle. People come to contemporary theatre, if the popular cinema or TV stars perform. And a few have a thirst for artistic presentation of serious theatre. Only a few big contemporary theatre companies get government patronage."

Mori further pointed out that the younger generation has less interest in theatre, which is alarming for the future of rich Japanese theatre.

On his own directorial approach Mori said, "I like to bridge the traditional Japanese theatre with European styles. And even in case of European classics my approach is to give the play a contemporary flavour."

For his translation of Ibsen's plays, he has won the prestigious Yuasa Yoshiko Award.

Mitsuya Mori