Photo: Catarina Axelsson/MFA
Today, the new Kabuki theater (Kabuki-za) opened in its old place, near Ginza, in Tokyo. Well, ‘new’ is perhaps the wrong word. Although the building is new and lives up to the strict building standards of today, it has been constructed in the traditional way and looks more or less like its predecessors. The original structure was built in 1889. A new building took its place in 1911, but was destroyed by fire in 1921. The theatre was rebuilt again in 1924, only to be completely destroyed by arial bombardment in 1945. It was reconstructed again in 1950 and then stood until 2010, when new demands for space and safety forced it to be demolished.
Kabuki is still a very popular classical theatre form and it is nice to see that it can be performed in a very good theatre. I intend to go there as often as I can. Although not related, it reminds me of the theatre traditon and the old theatres we have in Sweden, especially the Drottningholm Slottsteater on the outskirts of Stockholm. That theatre was built in 1766 and still stands in its original shape. The wooden stage machinery is still operated by hand and it has simple but ingenious ways of producing clouds, sea waves and the sounds of wind and thunder.