Parlando: The COC Blog

9/7/2010

Who is Yoshi Oida?

Yoshi Oida will be directing our Death in Venice this fall, a production for which he has received considerable acclaim. Oida is also highly acclaimed in the theatre world as an actor on both stage and film, particularly for his collaborations with the noted director Peter Brook. He was born in Japan and now resides in France, and much of his work brings an Eastern sensibility to Western works and art forms. He has authored a book on the craft of acting titled The Invisible Actor, in which he discusses the need for actors to conceal from the audience the workings of their craft, and describes how techniques from Classical Japanese theatre may be useful to Western actors.

Here is a segment from his director's notes for Death in Venice that may give you some insight into his approach:

"There are many interesting discussions to be had about the various ideas and influences in Death In Venice. We could look at similarities in the life of the composer Gustav Mahler, or the many references to ancient Greek culture, plus parallels with Euripides play The Bacchae. In particular, we could explore how Thomas Mann's original story uses themes and characters from ancient Greek culture to explore the deep, often unconscious forces that drive us all. However, these classical themes have little direct relevance to my work as a director. They form the bed-rock of European culture, but since I am not European they do not speak to me in a powerful way.

For me, the human being is a mystery; beautiful, complex, and often contradictory. Within Death in Venice this mystery manifests as three basic questions for the director: why did Von Aschenbach go to Venice? Why did he become obsessed with the boy Tadzio? Any why didn't he leave once the truth about the cholera was known?"

Oida is also the subject of a documentary titled Have You Seen the Moon. Torontonians (and visitors) will soon have an opportunity to see both the documentary and its subject. On Oct. 3, Why Not Theatre is presenting a screening of Have You Seen the Moon followed by a Q&A with Oida. We will be covering this exciting event in more detail in a future post; in the meantime, mark your calendars!

Posted by Cecily Carver / in 2010/2011 / comments (0) / permalink


Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001