- 英米文化 (ISSN:09173536)
- vol.33, pp.27-42, 2003
Many contemporary British directors seem to realize that modern, realistic, psychological analysis and interpretations are not enough to revive Shakespeare's dramatic dynamism on stage. Some directors draw upon Japanese traditional classic drama such as Noh and Kabuki, which have inherited dramatic traditions and conventions of medieval, early modern dramas. Having found shared points of commonality between Shakespeare and Kabuki, some directors have successfully adopted the dramatic techniques and staging of Kabuki in Shakespeare's plays. The transfer of Kabuki theatrical devices and acting methods has breathed new life into Shakespeare in recent productions by the Royal Shakespeare Company and Almeida Theatre. Although Shakespeare's Globe is able to exploit its unique building form to stage Elizabethan and Jacobean plays, it is very difficult to obtain details of the original Elizabethan stage practices and performances. The company has shown considerable interest in the traditional drama of Kabuki, because both forms of theatre seem to share the dynamic energy of early modern drama. Kabuki has many hints and suggestions to offer those who are eager to revive the Elizabethan stage in the contemporary Globe. The Shakespeare Globe Company have staged a revival production of Twelfth Night in which they made every possible effort to revive the dramatic traditions and methods that characterized the original staging at Middle Temple Hall in 1 602. One of these was the use of an all-male cast, which was also inspired by Kabuki onnagata, or female role specialists. This paper will consider how these English onnagata played Olivia and Viola, and their significance in the revival production of Twelfth Night at Middle Temple Hall. Mark Rylance, who played the role of Olivia, expressed femininity in a stylistic way rather than just copying womanly manners. The countess appeared very feminine not merely because "she" looked ladylike, but because the actor personified a kind of feminine essence, which is what onnagata try to achieve in Kabuki. Rylance was very successful in depicting the comical element in the proud Olivia, in vivid contrast to the patient Viola. Eddie Redmayne's Viola was unique in the sense that he was able to represent both male and female characteristics in a very natural manner, which would be almost impossible for any actress to achieve. As an "onnagata", he appeared to possess both sexes on stage, which made his Viola both unique and charming. In the recognition of the twins, Viola and Sebastian, in the final scene, the two male actors wearing the same costume looked so alike that Shakespeare's intended use of the twins seemed to be fully realized in this production. In one beautiful moment, all the confulsion was completely resolved, leaving a deep impression on the audience. Twelfth Night featuring an all-male cast was not merely an old-fashioned, nostalgic revival but a well staged production that enabled us to rediscover what had been lost from the play for a long time. The production was a revelation of what Twelfth Night must have been like in Shakespeare's day.