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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: February ::
Re: Suzuki (ZZZZ-zuki) Lear
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0285  Thursday, 18 February 1999.

[1]     From:   Steve Urkowitz <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Feb 1999 22:15:05 EST
        Subj:   ZZZZ-zuki Lear

[2]     From:   Asami Nakayama <
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        Date:   Thursday, 18 Feb 1999 18:57:12 +0900
        Subj:   Re: Suzuki Lear


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steve Urkowitz <
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Date:           Wednesday, 17 Feb 1999 22:15:05 EST
Subject:        ZZZZ-zuki Lear

Hardy Cook remembers a stunning Lear directed by Suzuki, in DC, roughly
1979.

zzzz-uki Lear, did you say?

A group of people who saw a Suzuki-influenced (directed?) production in
Milwaukee a few years later was stunned into sleep.  At almost any
moment diring the performance, roughly a third of the audience was
unconscious.

Most scenes were staged with the actors (many in wonderful Japanese
samuri costumes, at least one in a modern white nurse's uniform)
standing in a line directing their speeches straight out to the audience
in a kind of high-pitched, unpunctuated monotone.  One vivid moment
stands out.  In one scene the Fool was sitting under Lear's chair,
following the dialogue in a paperback copy of the Arden edition.  The
King turned to him and commanded, "Stop reading."

In the audience was the then-director of the NEA; he was also at times
asleep.  At the end of nap-time, about a third of the audience rose for
a standing ovation while others wandered dazed back into the open air.
Something was lost in translation.

For me it was one of those fascinating experiences of esthetic
relativities.

Ever,
Steve Ukiwitz

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Asami Nakayama <
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Date:           Thursday, 18 Feb 1999 18:57:12 +0900
Subject:        Re: Suzuki Lear

Several years ago I saw the Suzuki Lear in Japan. The same version was
also broadcast on TV. Every character was played by a male actor, except
for the Fool, who appeared in a nurse's costume. Lear's daughters,
including of course Cordelia, had beards. Only the actor playing as Lear
was British, speaking in English, and others were Japanese, speaking
their lines in Japanese. Needless to say, Tadashi Suzuki's Lear is an
experiment-not a Japanesque extravaganza kind aiming at an enthusiastic
reception by the West, but an unaffected, Very Japanese type. Many in
the  audiences must have the theatre programme or the video tape
recorded from TV. Perhaps some of them are on our list?
 

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