Fumi Okano (University of Tokyo)
Fellow in Research Area 2: "Travelling Matters"
October 2022 – March 2023
Bertolt Brecht's Late Adaptation Plays
Bertolt Brecht's theory and practice is, of course, one of the key points of theatrical culture and its development to the present day. Fumi Okano studies his plays, especially his later adaptation plays. Through these his works she will attempt to present an example of the development of Brecht's theatrical theory and, at the same time, of temporal and regional interculturality in theatrical culture. Adaptation is a characteristic technique in the field of theatrical culture. When a play passes from the hands of its author to those of another playwright, it must inevitably be transformed and become a different work, even if its title, characters, plot and other components are identical to the original.
By identifying the differences and similarities between the original and the adaptation, her research clarifies the peculiarities of the two author' intentions and theories and highlights the various regional and temporal conceptual differences that exist between these two works with the same title. These differences indicate meaningful changes in the history of theatrical culture. Her research considers all factors that may have contributed to changes between Brecht's adapted plays and the original works, such as translations, historical events, theoretical developments and other literary works. Also important to her research is the fact that Brecht's later plays were influenced by one of the most powerful turning points in literary history: World War II. Why were Antigone, Lenz's Der Hofmeister and Yuzo Yamamoto's Die Judith von Shimoda chosen as the subjects of his adaptation plays, and how did World War II and the postwar situation affect his creative process?
Her research will consider how the war changed dramatic works, with Brecht's adaptation plays as an important example.
Fumi Okano is a PhD candidate at the Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology at the University of Tokyo. She also holds a master's degree from Tokyo University's Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology and a bachelor's degree from Tokyo University's Faculty of Letters. Her master's thesis was entitled "Brecht und die antike Tragödie – Über seinen Versuch der Ent-tragödisierung von Sophokles' Antigone".
Her research focuses on the works of Bertolt Brecht, especially his adaptation plays. Having herself been a member of a traditional theatre group in Tokyo, she is interested in plays as something created not by an individual but by a group, as something that changes from the author when in the hands of others. Her doctoral research focuses on Brecht’s late adaptation plays as a whole, how his theatrical theory, historical background and the theatre groups he belonged to transformed original plays from the past, and how these same plays have changed over time.