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Friday, Nov. 2, 2007
All plays are not equal
By RAJU THAKRAR
At around 100 pages long, "Animal Farm" is a sliver of a publication. But what the book lacks in length, it makes up for in content. For the International Theatre Company London's (ITCL) 29th Japan Tour, the troupe will perform a stage adaptation of this satirical classic.
"Animal Farm," written by George Orwell, was chosen by Time Magazine as one of best 100 English-language novels, a simple story that revolves around a farm where the mistreated animals rise to overpower the humans under the leadership of a pig called Napoleon. Eventually, though, Napoleon breaks the commandments that have been adopted by the community of animals, who find out the hard way that "all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others."
Orwell's satirical allegory on the danger of a communist political system is brought to life by ITCL's actors, who set out to mirror the human condition with their portrayal of animals' essential nature.
The original musical score is both played and sung live by the cast, along with elements of dance, mime, mask and circus. Scenes develop at a frenetic pace, and the essential themes are expressed with energy, charm and clarity. In spite of its energetic rendering, the production should please purists because it is largely faithful to the original story line.
The play runs Nov. 5 at Sendai Mediatheque, ¥2,000 for adults and ¥1,000 for students, call Miyagi Gakuin University on (022) 277-6112; Nov. 7 at Kyoto Kyoiku Bunka Center, ¥5,000/¥2,500 (tel.  771-4221); Nov. 8 at Nagoya Women's University, free entry (tel.  801-9400); Nov. 9 at Canadian Academy, Kobe, ¥3,000/¥1,000 (tel.  857-0100); Nov. 13 at Tokyo Seiryo Kaikan, ¥5,000/¥2,500 (tel.  3581-5650); Nov. 14 at Keisen University, Tokyo, free entry (tel.  376-8211; Nov. 15 at Gakushuin Women's College, Yawaragi Hall, ¥2,500/¥1,000 (tel.  3203-7193); and Nov. 16 at Tokyo Musashino Kokaido, ¥5,000/¥2,500 (tel.  46-5121). All performances except those in Sendai and Nagoya will be accompanied by simultaneous Japanese subtitles. For performance details, go to www.stageplay.jp.