Yun-Cheol Kim[1]


I am very happy to post this sixth issue of Critical Stages, which includes much rich discussion on many interesting topics. In particular, the Special Topics section is abundant with moving articles on how the 3/11 disaster has affected the theatrical scene in Japan. We all know how calmly and courageously the Japanese people have been dealing with this natural disaster. Now, thanks to these articles, we know that our Japanese colleagues, critics and practitioners, have also been heroic and committed to their jobs and to their society. One lesson we learn anew from this existentially absurd disaster is the truism that theatre should have a social function. We also have two Pakistani witnesses to tell us how political disaster has influenced their theatre. This article is also co-written with courage and passion.

Another focus of this issue is Ms. Kapila Vatsyayan, a highly revered Indian scholar and artist and the 4th winner of the Thalia Prize. For the first time, IATC has awarded this prize to a non-Westerner. Ms. Vatsyayan is also the first woman recipient. Her acceptance speech, originally delivered via DVD at IATC’s Warsaw congress at the end of March, very elegantly justified IATC’s decision to give her the award—one which is given to those who have significantly influenced our critical thinking with their writing.

In this 6th issue, we also have interesting interviews of prominent directors, actors and playwrights from Bulgaria, France, Italy, Romania, and the U.S. Our performance reviews include nine reviews of contemporary theatre productions: from Azerbaijan, the Baltic countries, Canada, France, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Korea and Romania. We also have two intercultural essays by French authors on Korean and Japanese performances. Three important books are also reviewed in this issue, including one review by a French colleague of Mark Brown’s interview with Howard Barker, a British playwright who deserves much more national and international recognition. It would have to be said that no other theatre journal is as international as Critical Stages. For this issue, 27 authors from 18 countries have contributed 33 articles.

I have decided to put my opening speech I gave at our Warsaw congress into the Critics on Criticism section, since it deals more with criticism than with phenomenology. I expect more essays on criticism will be posted in coming issues. Critics cannot neglect their professional mandate to promote theatre criticism in this anti-critical time. And my colleagues around the world well know that. Encouragingly enough, our editors have agreed to participate in this meta-critical writing, as discussed at the annual editorial board meeting of Critical Stages in early June in Sibiu, Romania.

Finally, I would like sincerely to invite our readers again to invite their friends, colleagues and students to get to know this important journal, and more about contemporary world theatre and theatre criticism. Thank you.


[1] Yun-Cheol Kim is President of IATC; recipient of the Cultural Order of Korea; Professor in the School of Drama, Korean National University of Arts; and editor of The Korean Theatre Journal, a quarterly. Two-time winner of the “Critic of the Year Award,” he has published nine books so far, two of which are anthologies of theatre reviews.

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