Left alone with his judge, he fills the stage with his own sense of apocalypse, a blazing nihilism.

From a review of Sobata Komachi/Yoroboshi, London 2001 (The Observer).

I saw Tatsuya Fujiwara as the titular blind young man in this, my introduction to Mishima and to Nō. For years, I had failed to figure out which play I had seen; as the internet got better, it got easier. That I have looked for an english translation for over a decade will tell you something about the impression this modernized version of an ancient Japanese drama had on me at the time.

I was drawn back to this text as I reflected on teaching Oedipus Rex this week, and fell into a reverie contemplating a modern production of this most enduring of tragedies (in this, a month of tragedies both local and national). Mishima’s stylized yet modern plays, both Yoroboshi and Sobata Komachi (‘a mausoleum beauty’), leaped immediately to mind. 

That I saw this production seems now to be serendipitous, if not luck beyond belief, staged as it was in London for less than a week. As one reviewer noted, it was “written in white heat, played at white heat,” and in that it evokes the terse, bitter retelling of the ancient myth, the curse on the House of Laius. 

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