Come You Spirits : An Alternative Afterlife to Shakespeare's 'Macbeth' and 'Othello' as mediated through Japanese Classical Noh and Kyogen Theatre

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)


This study will explore the potential of nō theatre as a form in which adaptations, or more accurately transcultural transformations and appropriations, of Shakespearean drama can flourish in a Japanese cultural context. With reference to specific performance examples we will argue that transculturation of Shakespearean drama through the vehicle of the transcendently metaphysical and ritualized nō in combination with the more dramatically mimetic, if similarly stylized, kyōgen can offer fresh perception of theatrical possibility for both western and Japanese audiences. The practice invites both audience constituencies to share in alternative ways of seeing and feeling about the iconic and sometimes culturally conservative constructs of Shakespeare and nō, respectively. Bearing in mind the phenomenon of cultural mobility and transmission, as proposed by Stephen Greenblatt and others, we will discuss three principal case studies, Izumi Noriko's 2006 nō Macbeth and 2013 nō Othello productions and Nomura Mansai's 2010 Tokyo mixed-mode production and subsequent touring version of Macbeth. They serve as very good illustrations of how, in spite of the apparent aesthetic restraints arising out of the formality of its theatricality and codification, nō and kyōgen theatre can afford new insights into Shakespeare as a contemporary global theatre practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-132
Number of pages21
JournalAsian Theatre Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2018


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