Playwright talk: Shiro Maeda in Conversation

Date: 23 November 2011 from 6.30pm
Venue: The Japan Foundation, Russell Square House, 10-12 Russell Square, London, WC1B 5EH

Shiro Maeda is the leading figure on the recent Japanese performing arts scene, among the younger generation. Born in the 1970s, he arguably represents the voices of those of the “Lost Decade” in Japan, living through social and economic uncertainty. As an award-winning playwright, his work cannot be detached from such circumstances, but he is most recognized, indeed highly praised, for the way that he deals with the heavy and eternal issues that all of us embrace in lightweight conversation, in a subtly humourous or even absurd manner, instead of pushing them explicitly; this creates a surreal and sometimes chilling world, where he crosses freely the lines of time and space. Being a director and an actor also, his stage always respects the intimate relationship with the audience, offering them “something to share”.

Prior to a play reading of his work Getting Lost on 24 November, Shiro Maeda will be engaged in conversation for the first time in the UK, with William Drew, freelance writer and dramaturg, to discuss the unique style of his work and the philosophy behind it, which he will illustrate with past examples. This event will open with a brief talk by Kyoko Iwaki, a journalist specialising in contemporary performing arts, who will introduce the current state of Japanese theatre, overviewing the group of young playwrights born in the 70s to which Maeda belongs.

This event will provide an interesting opportunity to delve into the mind of a Japanese playwright who is considered to be at the top of his game, and may well be for generations to come.

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