An extraordinarily attractive actor, with large, dark eyes fringed by long lashes and chiseled features, suddenly appears on an audience walkway ("silver bridge"), much to the delight of adoring fans (Brau 88). With arms extended widely, the actor begins serenading the enraptured crowd in a rich baritone: "At night I long to hold you. My heart cries out for you in pain" (Dream Girls). The star, garbed in dazzlingly white, sings directly to the audience, gifting several fans with a piercingly longing gaze. A young girl materializes onstage and, as the two lovers embrace cheek-to-cheek and sing of their mutual desire, they both look dreamily out upon the spellbound audience members. At the song's crescendo, a silver disco ball floats from the rafters and casts a starry glow over the entire auditorium, capturing the sea of enchanted, uplifted faces.
[...] In fact, I would argue that the character of Death is perhaps one of the most erotically-charged and blatantly sexual roles in the Takarazuka repertoire. Perhaps it is because the character lacks a specific sexual orientation that such outright eroticism is deemed permissible, but, regardless, the sparks created between Death and Elisabeth are electrifying. Consider one of the earliest scenes where Elisabeth, as a young, naïve teenager on her sickbed, has her first brush with Death—an encounter which thereafter haunts her, literally. [...]
[...] In both the manga version and one of the two Takarazuka versions, the plot centers around the androgynously beautiful Oscar Francois de Jarjayes; raised by a father who despairs ever having a son, the hero/ine is well-practiced in the art of fencing, horsemanship, and combat. General Jarjayes, with the help of Oscar's servant and companion Andre Grandier, thoroughly prepares his daughter to succeed him as commander of the Royal Guard. Crucial to the story are: Marie Antoinette, whom Oscar must vigilantly protect, Swedish count Alex von Fersen, secret lover of the French queen, and Rosalie Lamorliere, Oscar's protégé who harbors romantic feelings for her mentor. [...]
[...] so here I will attempt to demystify the myth; I will conduct a much-needed investigation of the androgyny and gender-bending that is rife in Takarazuka, focusing especially on the role and significance of the otokoyaku. However, because gender is a vast subject matter and cross- dressing a historical staple of Japanese theater—rationalized and justified several times over in Takarazuka—a specific frame is needed to view the blatant contradictions and convoluted ambiguities which have plagued the Revue since its inception. Thus, I will explore the otokoyaku's sexuality through the lenses of ryosei and chusei. [...]
[...] History of Manga in the Context of Japanese Culture and Society.” Journal of Popular Culture 38.3 (2005): 456-75). Nakamura, Karen and Hisako Matsuo. “Female Masculinity and Fantasy Spaces: Transcending Genders in the Takarazuka Theatre and Japanese Popular Culture.” Men and Masculinities in Contemporary Japan: Dislocating the Salaryman Doxa. Ed. James E. Roberson and Nobue Suzuki. London: Routledge Curzon 59-76. Ohtani, Tomoko. “Juliet's Girlfriends: The Takarazuka Revue Company and the Shojo Culture.” Performing Shakespeare in Japan. Ed. Minami Ryuta. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 159-71. [...]
[...] In this way, one not only admires the (wo)man of her dreams but, more importantly, is a step closer to becoming her. BIBLIOGRAPHY Abbitt, Erica Stevens. “Androgyny and Otherness: Exploring the West Through the Japanese Performative Body.” Asian Theatre Journal 18.2 (2001): 249- 56. to Shi no Rondo.” Elisabeth. Trans. Merryshannon. Flower Troupe. Added 20 Apr < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9YJiQh18Co> Arnott, Peter D. The Theatres of Japan. London: Macmillan Atkins, Dennis H. “Performers in the Takarazuka Theater.” Western Conference of the Association for Asian Studies:Selected Papers in Asian Studies ns 28 (1987): 1-19. [...]
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