Mishima on Stage
The Black Lizard and Other Plays
Presents nine remarkable plays written between 1949 and 1962 that demonstrate Mishima’s breadth and originality as a playwright
Mishima on Stage presents nine remarkable plays to English readers for the first time. These plays, written between 1949 and 1962, demonstrate Mishima’s breadth and originality as a playwright. Four are new kabuki plays that combine classical language and lyricism, the dance, music, and spectacle of traditional kabuki, and iconoclastic notions of class and morality that are “pure Mishima.” Five are shingeki plays, including the tightly written one-act Steeplechase, which fuses contemporary psychological realism with the structure of a tantric Buddhist exorcism ritual, and The Black Lizard, a campy, romping, romantic, detective mystery full of trickery and disguise.
One unifying theme shared among all the plays is the belief that deception and deceit are essential to human relationships. These character traits appear as hidden incestuous love that threatens to destroy an upper-middle class family (The Lighthouse), as weapons of choice for the powerless mistress of a business magnate (the modern noh play Yuya), or as the means to facilitate wholesome but socially forbidden romantic liaisons (two kabuki comedies). Mishima on Stage makes the genius of Japan’s leading postwar playwright more accessible and apparent than ever before.
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