A Midsummer Night's Dream and Workshop  Performed by Toho Gakuen College of Drama and Music, Japan

On October 17th,  A Midsummer Night's Dream by Toho Gakuen College of Drama and Music, Japan was performed in Proscenium Stage Theatre in Chang Ping campus of the Central Academy of Drama. This theatre weaved the character's love into the brocade of romance for generation of men and women, with Japanese view of life and death as the warp, and Japanese animism as the weft, and present the nature in deep forests in this work with Yokai.

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Shakespeare's theatre is characteristic in numerous roles and interweaved dimension in time and space, which makes it a great challenge for director to express it in 60 minutes. Lysander and Hermia, Demetrius and Helena expressed their love to each other on the stage, while Theseus and Hippolyta, Oberon and Titania observing everything. The audience could see not only the misunderstanding caused by the elf Puck among the four youngsters, but also Titania flirting with Bottom who was changed into a donkey at the same time.

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To combine the cultural connotation of western theatre  and the national culture in Japan is always the method of Toho Gakuen College of Drama and Music in expressing those classical theatre. In this performance, it contains not only Shakespeare and Awa-odori, a traditional dance in Japan, aiming at inviting dead people's souls in summer festival, but also modern comic culture and the film music by Kubrick. Shakespeare is great in his containment of multiple cultural elements, which also makes it a great challenge for the director to choose a standing point and to deal with the relations among these cultures. A Midsummer Night's Dream by Toho Gakuen College of Drama and Music has offered us an excellent example.

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In the morning of October 18th, the workshop from Toho Gakuen College of Drama and Music was held in the Thrust Stage Theatre in Chang Ping campus of the Central Academy of Drama. The conductor, Akiko Sato, was once a member of SCOT, the theatre company of Suzuki Tadashi. She led the audience to experience the breath training methods used in the rehearsal of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

The first step is personal deep-breath training. In this period the participants should feel the energy of their breath and inside their body. This training could help actors control their breath and their body, improving their confidence in their body movement.

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The second period is double breath training. In this training, students were asked to wander around, following the music and then find a partner via the breath instead of words. When someone finds the partner, they should hold the centre of the other's palm, one of them should close the eyes and let the other lead him to move according to the rhythm of music. Both students should feel the energy of the partner via their body and breath so that they could establish the trust between them.

At the end of the workshop, Ms. Sato took all participants to practice the Awa-odori, which is used in the acting training to build a collective trust. All students could feel the music and the rhythm of the others in Awa-odori, and cross the border of language with the power of body and breath, enjoying the atmosphere of summer festivals. After the dance, the participants hugged each other for the joyful experience.

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