Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 2021 - 17

script freed Ishii from following the
conventional Bunraku imageries. The
most memorable look of the set was
the scene where an enormous cherry
tree with full blossoms (an adaptation
of the Herne's oak tree from The Merry
Wives of Windsor) dominated the stage
(Figure 25). Placing a three-dimensional cherry tree was a major departure
from the conventional flat painted pine
tree, which is often used in Kabuki and
is a permanent fixture on the Noh stage.
In a bar scene, the multiple Bunraku
conventions were broken with the classic architectural structure creating the
depth and framing the shadow puppets
in the back.
For an art form that focuses on the
artistry and operational techniques
of puppets, the elaborate set Ishii designed combined with another art form
(shadow puppets) was unthinkable in
Bunraku before this event. The chance
that the National Theatre of Japan took
with these artists was nothing short
of a miracle for such an old and established institution. The production was a
success, and Ishii received the Yomiuri

Figures 23 and 24. Puppet
designs for Bunraku Shakespeare
productions. | Photos courtesy of
Mitsuru Ishii.

Theatre Award (equivalent to the TONY
awards) for Excellence in Design. Still,
bringing change to a 400--year-old institution is difficult; to the performance of
Farusunotaifu at the National Theatre

of Bunraku in Osaka was canceled because the Bunraku Association did not
grant permission.
The Japanese aesthetic Ishii speaks
of is ingrained in every Japanese from
a young age when they are taught shuji,

SPRING 2021 | THEATRE DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY

| 17


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Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 2021 - Cover1
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 2021 - Cover2
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 2021 - 1
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 2021 - Contents
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