King Lear

Date:2019-06-03      Source:National Centre for the Performing Arts

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Venue: Theatre

Dates: June 06 - 08, 2019


The story is about the King of ancient Britain Lear, who is so old and muddleheaded that he wants to distribute his kingdom to his three daughters according to the degree of their love for him. His eldest daughter Goneril and second daughter Regan cheat him with sugared words, while only his youngest daughter Cordelia speaks the truth, “I love just according to my bond; no more or less.” Lear banishes his youngest daughter in a huff, marrying her to the King of France, and divides his kingdom equally between his two hypocritical daughters, only to be given the cold-shoulder by these two daughters. Flying into a rage, he runs to the wilderness in the storm, joining Edgar, who disguises himself as a mad beggar. Later, his youngest daughter sends a punitive expedition against his first two daughters, and he reunites with his youngest daughter. However, the French army is defeated by the British army, and Cordelia is captured. Before long, she is put to death according to a secret order from Edmund, and Lear holds her body in his arms, sad and angered, breathing his last with madness. There is a sub-clue that Earl of Gloucester hears and believes his second son Edmund’s slander upon his first son Edgar, banishing him. Later, due to his sympathy for Lear, Earl of Gloucester has his eyes gouged out and wanders to the wilderness, running into his son Edgar the beggar, who helps him walk forward, but he doesn’t know his helper is his son that has been cast out of home by him. His second son Edmund inherits the title and fornicates with Lear’s eldest daughter and second daughter, who fight against each other for Edmund’s favour. Finally, Lear’s second daughter is killed with poison and eldest daughter kills herself after her plot to murder her husband is uncovered. Edmund accepts the challenge from Edgar and gets killed in the duel.

Director Assistant: SAITO MAKI

Cordelia: Zhang Yuyu
Gloucester: LEE SU YEON
Edgar: Tian Chong


Tadashi Suzuki

Tadashi Suzuki is the founder and director of the Suzuki Company of Toga (SCOT) based in Toga Village, located in the mountains of Toyama prefecture. He is the organizer of Japan’s first international theatre festival (Toga Festival), and the creator of the Suzuki Method of Actor Training. Suzuki also plays an important role with several other organizations: as General Artistic Director of Shizuoka Performing Arts Center (1995~2007), as a member of the International Theatre Olympics Committee, as founding member of the BeSeTo Festival (jointly organized by leading theatre professionals from Japan, China and Korea) and as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Japan Performing Arts Foundation (2000~2010), a nation-wide network of theatre professionals in Japan.

Suzuki’s works include On the Dramatic Passions, The Trojan Women, Dionysus, King Lear, Cyrano de Bergerac, Madame de Sade and many others. Besides productions with his own company, he has directed several international collaborations, such as The Tale of Lear, co-produced and presented by four leading regional theatres in the US; King Lear, presented with the Moscow Art Theatre; Oedipus Rex, co-produced by Cultural Olympiad and Düsseldorf Schauspiel Haus; and Electra, produced by Ansan Arts Center/Arco Arts Theatre in Korea and the Taganka Theatre in Russia.

Suzuki has articulated his theories in a number of books. A collection of his writings in English, Culture is the Body is published by Theatre Communications Group in New York. He has taught his system of actor training in schools and theatres throughout the world, including The Juilliard School in New York and the Moscow Art Theatre. Also, a book written on Suzuki titled The Theatre of Suzuki Tadashi is published by Cambridge University Press as part of their Directors in Perspective series, featuring leading theatre directors of the 20th Century. This series includes works on Meyerlhold, Brecht, Strehler, Peter Brook and Robert Wilson among others.

Not just one of the world’s foremost theatre directors, Suzuki is also a seminal thinker and practitioner whose work has a powerful influence on theatre everywhere. Suzuki’s primary concerns include the structure of a theatre group, the creation and use of theatrical space, and the overcoming of cultural and national barriers in the interest of creating work that is truly universal. Suzuki has established in Toga one of the largest international theatre centers in the world. Surrounded by the beautiful wilderness of Toga, the facility includes six theatres, rehearsal rooms, offices, lodgings, restaurants, etc.

Suzuki’s activities, both as a director creating multilingual and multicultural productions, and as a festival producer bringing people from throughout the world together in the context of shared theatrical endeavor, reflect an aggressive approach to dealing with the fundamental issues of our times.


Suzuki Company of Toga (SCOT)

In 1976, Tadashi Suzuki relocated his theatre troupe, the Waseda Shogekijo—which for the previous ten years had spearheaded the new theatre movement in Japan—from its home in central Tokyo to Toga, a remote village in the mountains on the Sea of Japan coast. The move was in part an indictment of the overconcentration of political, economic and cultural institutions in Tokyo. Working from a thatched-roof house, built in the traditional “praying hands” or gassho-zukuri style, which the group had converted into a theatre, they renamed themselves the Suzuki Company of Toga (SCOT).

Since then the site has grown into a complex of lodgings, rehearsal rooms, and assorted performing spaces, including a studio theatre, a second gassho-zukuri theatre, a black box theatre, an outdoor “rock” theatre, and a spectacular lakeside amphitheatre. It is in these facilities and theatres that the company is run, follows the precepts of Tadashi Suzuki and under his direction. Having marked its 50th anniversary in 2015, SCOT holds singular status in Japan as a performing arts group that in addition to fulfilling the artistic vision of Suzuki on stage, demonstrates a high standard of excellence in the operation of those places and performing spaces, and enjoys the backing of both the local and national government.

Paradoxically, the move from giant metropolis to isolated mountain valley gained SCOT even more followers, who cherished the pilgrimage to this remote place as part of the total theatre experience.

Moreover, following Suzuki’s notions of the universality of theatre, this special location played host for many years (1982-1999) to the Toga International Arts Festival. Now continuing under the title SCOT Summer Season, it offers concentrated workshops in the Suzuki Method of Actor Training created by Suzuki being learnt by performing artists throughout the world, and invites theatre companies from around the world not only to give performances but to live, work, and collaborate with each other. In the true meaning of the word “festival” the diverse cultures of these groups are highlighted and celebrated. And while acknowledging each other’s cultural similarities and differences, the stimulus provided by such encounters spawns entirely new notions of theatre and undoubtedly many new forms of culture.

Toga village also serves as a springboard for the international activities of SCOT. Many of the theatrical productions developed and performed in Toga have gone on to tour the globe. Since their first overseas performance at the Théâtre des Nations Festival in Paris in 1972, the company has performed in more than 84 cities in some 31 countries. In addition to offering a summer and winter festival, featuring performances by SCOT, Toga continues to serve as a center for international research activities and for the training of practitioners in the performing arts, as well as an archive of documents and materials pertaining to the performing arts.