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Friday, April 1, 2005

OF NOTE

'Mother Courage' boldly battles on

As the last staging in its 10 month "Brechtrical Brecht Festival in Actuality," the 300-seat Theater X (cai) in Tokyo's Ryogoku will present "Mother Courage and her Children," one of the best known plays by the German playwright Bertholt Brecht,

Theater X has invited three Israelis -- director Ruth Kanner, designer Roni Toren and music director Ronen Shapira -- to collaborate with a Japanese cast. Superstar actress Hideko Yoshida will play the title role of the mother, named Anna Fierling in this version. Set during the Thirty Years' War (1618-48) waged between Catholics and Protestants across Europe, the action takes place in Sweden, where Anna Fierling survives amid the chaos by selling booze to soldiers.

For the 50-year-old director Kanner, this theme of surviving whatever misfortune befalls you is clearly close to home, "I come from a country that knows all too much about war," she says. "I am living in a place that is full of danger, and I am made to fight for my children's future."

To lend universality to Brecht's masterpiece, she strips away most of the historical context to expose the price ordinary people pay for simply being present as conflicts engulf their homelands.

"Mother Anna Fierling and her Children" runs from April to 7 at Theater X (cai), a five-minute walk from JR Ryogoku Station. For more details call, Theater X at (03) 5624-1155 or visit www.theaterx.jp



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