What motivates a Japanese translator and theatre company to translate and perform a play about racial discrimination in the American South? What happens to a 'gay' play when it is staged in a country where the performance of gender is a theatrical tradition? What are the politics of First Nations or Aboriginal theatre in Japanese translation and 'colour blind' casting? Is a Canadian nô drama that tells a story of the Japanese diaspora a performance in cultural appropriation or dramatic innovation?
In looking for answers to these questions, Theatre Translation Theory and Performance in Contemporary Japan extends discussions of theatre translation through a selective investigation of six Western plays, translated and staged in Japan since the 1960s, with marginalized tongues and bodies at their core. The study begins with an examination of James Baldwin's Blues for Mister Charlie, followed by explorations of Michel Marc Bouchard's Les feluettes ou La repetition d'un drame romantique, Tomson Highway's The Rez Sisters and Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing, Roger Bennett's Up the Ladder, and Daphne Marlatt's The Gull: The Steveston t Noh Project.
Native Voices, Foreign Bodies locates theatre translation theory and practice in Japan in the post-war Showa and Heisei eras and provokes reconsideration of Western notions about the complex interaction of tongues and bodies in translation and theatre when they travel and are reconstituted under different cultural conditions.