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Friday, Oct. 28, 2005

Macbeth back, darker than ever

Latest ITCL adaptation pitches witchcraft to the fore

The International Theatre Company London (ITCL) returns to Japan with a revival of its acclaimed 2001 production of the Shakespeare tragedy "Macbeth."

Formerly known as the TNT, the company has been touring Japan since 1992, performing adaptations of classic works by Charles Dickens and Tennessee Williams among others. The ITCL will bring "Macbeth" to universities and public halls throughout Japan.

Unlike some previous productions of the play, director Paul Stebbings does not shy away from the shamanistic elements of "Macbeth," placing the three witches (who can often be heard echoing the dialogue of the other characters), and the witchcraft beliefs of Lady Macbeth, as integral to the drama.

Another characteristic of the play is the physicality of the action. Stebbings, a former student of the Polish director Jerzy Grotowski, an exponent of the Physical Theatre style, recognizes the importance of convincing the audience that Macbeth is a warrior capable of murder, and as a result draws a suitably full-blooded performance from Geoffrey Gibbons in the lead role.

The schedule for public performances of the ITCL Theatre presents "Macbeth" by William Shakespeare is as follows:

Nov. 8: Tokyo Musashino Kokaido (Purple Hall) at 6.30 p.m. (three minutes from Kichijoji Station on the JR Chuo or Inokashira Lines), tel. (0422)-46-5121.

Nov. 16: Kyoto Furitsu Fumin Hall (ALTI) at 6.00 p.m. (five minutes from Imadegawa Subway Station), tel. 075-441-1414.

Nov. 18: Seinan Gakuin University Rankin Chapel, Fukuoka (five-minute walk from Nishijin Station). Call the ITCL at 03-5469-2841.

There are also university performances open to the public in Tokyo, Himeji City, Hyogo Prefecture and Tokushima City, Tokushima Prefecture, Shikoku.

Tickets are available from Ticket PIA and cost 5,000 yen in advance. For further information, visit www.stageplay.jp

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