High-tech kabuki theater set to open

High-tech kabuki theater set to open

TOKYO - Agence France-Presse
High-tech kabuki theater set to open

The new playhouse is the fifth version of the theater, which dates back to 1889. AFP Photo

The curtain is about to go up at a new theater dedicated to Japan’s centuries-old kabuki-za performing art, sited in a high-tech venue in a 29-storey Tokyo office building. The theater in the upscale Ginza shopping district, which will open to the public at the start of next month, will let audiences use portable monitors to read subtitles to explain the sometimes difficult to understand art form.

The service will be available only in Japanese at first. But theater managers hope to include foreign language services, starting with English, over the coming months, a spokesman told visiting journalists.

Another feature is the pit below the stage, which is now 16.45 meter deep, nearly four times what it was. The pit allows for props, actors and scenery to emerge from the bowels of the building.

The new four-storey playhouse, with an 1,800-seat capacity, is the fifth version of the theater, whose history dates back to 1889.

The previous building, erected in 1951 to replace one heavily damaged in World War II, was demolished in 2010 due to worries over its ability to withstand earthquakes.

The theater is now housed in a 143-meter skyscraper, the tallest building in the area.