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◆Art talk



My first encounter with Kabuki occurred in Paris long years ago at Theatre de l'Odeon where a season of performances from the world over was taking place. The only reference I had about Japanese performing art was the movies discovered a few years earlier when '~Rashomon" of Akira Kurosawa arose surprise and admiration. Contemporary theatre in France, at that time, was divided between followers of Bertolt Brecht and those of the so-called theatre of the absurd. As a playwright to be, secretly writing for many reasons neither one nor the other school seemed satisfactory to my needs. In all aspects of it, I was looking for a new perspective without vanishing point. "Shunkan" was performed. Not only could I not understand a single word but I could not even dream of understanding It one day But the impression was so strong that I just registered what I was seeing the character's acting and chiefly the bare stage part of it covered with blue cloth as the hanamichi. There was no vanishing point. The character was confined in an island surrounded by the unlimited sea.
Theatre de l'Odeon had an Italian style stage. Even though the simple setting was so effective that one could feel the impassable barrier of the sea and the confined character's agony. In the short time of the play, I grasped that the Kabuki way of using space and setting suited my needs. The symbolic power of the play was amplified, there was no vanishing point, in the relation between stage and audience, the world of the stage, preceded by the hanamichi, was taking hold of the whole theater including the audience. Later onf after having seen many Kabuki plays performed in Japan I came to think that there was a link between the narration time dimension, the predominating horizontal lines In the Kabuki stage somehow panoramic, and the "~emakimono". Anyhow I had found what I had been looking for.


The operation of producing a play on the stage means to deal with two kinds of space and two kinds of time. The space and the time of the play have to fit into the limited space of the stage and to spread out in the allotted time of the performance A right perspective is needed in order to make the imaginary dimension of space and time of the play fit into the real space of the stage and the limited time of the performance. Besides as representing the real three dimensional world on a plane follows the rules of perspective, in the mutual influence of theatre and painting can be noticed the change of ages. However in the same period, in the same area, the perspective changes owing to individual vision. The example of Peter Bruegel The Elder's view from above is particularly interesting. Why, did I, a playwright influenced by the sharp view from above of Peter Bruegel The Elder, pursue theatre art as far as the stage of the Edo period ? to tell the story would be too long. But, there is no doubt that on the theatre stage of the Edo period as well as in the paintings of Peter Bruegel The Elder, the tragedy and comedy of this world is depicted according to the right perspective.

Jeanne Sigee

Jeanne sigee

Writer,stage direcor,japonologist
Secondaary school:Lain,Greek.
University:Law,English(Paris),Japanese(Waseda niversity Tokyo)
Training of the Kabuki actor (Tokyo)
Bunraku puppeteers,narrators,shamisen playerg(Osaka,going on)
Professional Licence of Fujima school of Nihon Buyo(name fujima Sumil)

Published works
1969 [La bataille des hymnes ],Poems,Paris
1976 [Onze faces de la merci],Poems,Paris,Prize academie francaise
1979 [Les specters de Yotsuya],unabridged translation of "Tokaido Yotsuya Kaidan" by Tsuruya Namboku,with introduction,commentaries,notes Bibliotheque des Hautes Etudes du college de France,Paris
1996 second edition 1996
1986 [anthologie de poesie japonaise cantemporaine] gallimard Paris,first edition,many editions afterwards (jaint authorship)
1991 [la catatrophe-Japon faits et ferments d'une mutation inachevee]
Essay,Paris,with contribtion of Centre National des Letres
1997 second edition,with foreword

Unpublished poetic and dramatic works
Publication in reviews : translations from Japanese,Poems,papers in reviews of Center Pompidou,Maison de la Poesie, Maison de sciences de l'Homme,Lettre Internationale,

Lectures : since 1973 numerous lectures at universities, scholar and cultural bodies, communications at specialesed seminars published in various acts, last one about status of play in contemporary theatre and translation of plays from Japanese, Paris 2001. Lecture and personal poetry reading, Bourgogne literary Centre with University, Dijon, 2003.

Radio broadcast
1980 "L' univers soore du Theatre d'Edo" series of eight parts about Kabuki and Bunraku, France Culture
1981 "Iemon ou Le flot divise" radio drama in two parts (adaptation of Tokaido Yotsuya Kaidan) France Cuiture

Theatre (Play and stage direction)
1986 [La poule], Centre Pompidou
[L'Art-chien], id.
1987 [La Poix], Centre Pompodou
1992 [La Frontiere], Theatre de la Cite Internationale, Paris
1996 [Iemon ou Le flot divise],Theatre trestan Bernard, Paris
1998 [ id. new staging ] Maison de la culture du Japon a Paris
1998 [Oeukonomiart]. Theatre moliere-Maison de la poesie, Paris
2001 [L'entrepot de sumiyoshi] Le Havre, Strasbourg, Colmar, Boulogne-Billancourt,
2002 [La Meuse a sept queues], Theatre Moliere-Maison de la Poesie, Paris
2003 [Iemon ou Le flot devise], Theatre Municipal d'Anzin (Valenciennes)

In prowress : translation from Japanese (Bunraku theatre), essay on Europe, new play, theatre creation and reprisal in 2004 and 2005

Stars : Ordre des Arts et Lettres (France)
Order of the Sacres Treasure (Japan)
Member of SACD (playwrights socity), SGDL (writers), SFEJ (Japonokogists France), European Association for Japanese Studies, Pen Club, etc.

Copyright (C) 2002 by ISE Foundation.
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