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Friday, May 9, 2008

'Hamlet' production does not leave the question unanswered

International Theatre Company continues Southeast Asia tour with the Bard's best tale


Staff writer

From next week, the International Theatre Company London will be in Japan, conducting its 30th tour of the country with a production of "Hamlet."

News photo
A scene from "Hamlet," being staged in Japan by the International Theatre Company London

The troupe will arrive in Japan on May 12 as part of a tour of Southeast Asia that includes performances in China, Singapore and Thailand.

Chinese critics have raved about the theater's rendition of "Hamlet," which was presented in English. This leg of the tour attracted more than 22,000 people to 15 performances over three weeks in Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing.

Performances in Japan will start on May 12 and end on May 31, during which time the theater troupe will play all over the country, including Sendai, Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Hiroshima and Fukuoka.

There are a total of 17 performances planned, two of which will be closed to the public — one at Tokai University in Kanagawa Prefecture and the other at Misawa Air Base in Aomori Prefecture.

Ever since its inception, ITCL has been directed by Paul Stebbings, a man who believes that "plays are a medium with which people from different cultures can communicate with each other."

The company is already planning a production of Oscar Wilde's "The Canterville Ghost" for later this year.

Stebbings has opted to depict Hamlet as a smart operator — or a disciplined man of action. The result is a gripping performance with acting that has been described as "simply fantastic."

The seven-actor cast uses few props in an effort to guide the audience to the essence of the play.

Surely there will be no question in the mind of a Shakespeare fan whether to go or not.

Many performances will take place at universities all over the country. Off-campus venues include Seiryo Kaikan in Tokyo on May 13; Musashino Kokaido in Tokyo on May 14; Izumity 21 in Sendai on May 15; and Kyoiku Bunka Center in Kyoto on May 26.

Tickets are on sale at Ticket Pia ( t.pia.jp/t/ ). The Tokyo and Kyoto stagings cost ¥5,000 for adults, ¥2,500 for students. However, all tickets purchased at the door will cost ¥5,500, including those for students. Prices at other venues may vary.

Advance group tickets for 20 or more can be purchased via Ashley Associates at ¥2,200 per seat. Send e-mail to theater08@ashleyassociates.co.jp for more information.

Details on performance dates, ticket prices and purchase codes and a play program can be found at www.stageplay.jp



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