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Friday, Nov. 14, 2008

Wilde's satirical 'Canterville Ghost' to be staged as musical comedy

Staff writer

A comedic musical based on Oscar Wilde's "The Canterville Ghost" will be performed in Tokyo on Nov. 18 and 21.

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Who's afraid?: Oscar Wilde's "The Canterville Ghost" will be performed as a musical comedy in Tokyo by International Theatre Company London.

The story, a glorious satire on the Anglo-Saxon nations and a thrilling fairy tale, will be performed by the International Theatre Company London.

The updated Canterville tale is set at a haunted castle in England in the early 20th century. A family from the United States moves into Canterville Castle despite warnings from its poor owner, the Duke of Canterville, that the castle is haunted by a ghost — Sir Simon — who signals his presence with howls and lightning. The Otis' — Mom Otis, daughter Virginia and young son Otis — are not frightened, saying, "The tornadoes in Kentucky are much bigger!"

At the onset of the story, none of the Otis' believe in ghosts, and they are not impressed with the spooky warnings from the Duke. But as night falls, an American flag they raised over the castle bursts into flames. Then a mysterious blood stain appears in the castle. . .

The play is directed by Paul Stebbings and Phil Smith. Stebbings said in the director's note released by the organizer: "The British aristocracy are portrayed as foolish and murderous, the Americans as brash and insensitive. Wilde's sympathy is reserved for the young American, Virginia, who he takes on a curious voyage of adolescent discovery."

The International Theatre Company London has performed in Japan twice every year since 1992.

The play will be performed at Seiryo Kaikan in Chiyoda Ward on Nov. 18. The venue is a five-minute walk from Akasaka Mitsuke, Nagatacho and Kokkaigijido subway stations. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 6:30 p.m.

On Nov. 21, the play will be held at Musashino Kokaido in Musashino, western Tokyo, a two-minute walk from the south exit of Kichijoji Station on the JR Chuo and Inokashira lines. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 6:30 p.m.

Advance-purchase tickets are ¥5,000, or ¥2,500 for students. Tickets at the door cost ¥5,500. For reservations, call Ticket Pia at (0570) 02-9999 (P code: 390-499 for the Nov. 18 show, or 390-500 for Nov. 21). www.stageplay.jp

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