Ninagawa Company coming to The Barbican

If you fancy seeing a stage adaption of Haruki Murakami’s brilliant novel Kafka on the Shore or a Japanese performance of Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet (or both!), you’ll want to book tickets at The Barbican sharpish.

Ninagawa Company, the well-known Japanese theatre group, is bringing two highly-acclaimed performances to London in May. Ninagawa’s previous directorial credits at the Barbican include the samurai tale Musashi, Coriolanus and the sell out Kabuki performance of Twelfth Night. Director Yukio Ninagawa is now 80 years old and both plays will be performed with English surtitles. So, let’s take a look at the two performances!

HamletHamlet (21-24 May)

One of our greatest Shakespeareans, Yukio Ninagawa directs his best-loved play, returning to the tragedy that he says ‘deals with the world’s vastness and depth’ once more.

Just over 40 years ago, the Japanese director presented his first Shakespeare. Since then, his productions have toured the globe, gaining international repute for their ability to fuse Japanese and European cultural traditions as well as their ravishing visual impact. Surprises abound in sumptuous interpretations remembered for their emblematic approach and innovation.

In this new version of Hamlet, popular Japanese actor Tatsuya Fujiwara takes the title role. Fujiwara made his stage debut at the Barbican under the direction of Ninagawa in 1997 and six years later became the youngest Hamlet in Japanese theatrical history, aged just 21. The pair now reunite as part of the director’s 80th birthday celebrations.

Tickets start from £16 and can be bought from the Barbican’s website.

KafkaKafka on the Shore (28-30 May)

Meet 15-year-old Kafka. Accompanied only by an imaginary friend, he’s run away from his Tokyo home to escape his screwed-up father and a dark prophecy. Then there’s elderly Nakata, seeker of lost cats. Long touched by a mysterious childhood affliction, he now finds himself in need of some divine assistance.

Fateful encounters await as their parallel odysseys converge in modern-day Japan. Here the borders between reality, dream and myth are constantly crossed in this allegorical tale about waking up to your own life.

Setting the epic in a series of multilayered sets, Yukio Ninagawa realises his long-held ambition to relocate Haruki Murakami’s text to the stage. He leads a first-class ensemble including the Japanese Academy Award-winning star of The Twilight Samurai, Rie Miyazawa.

Tickets start from £16 and can be bought from the Barbican’s website.



One thought on “Ninagawa Company coming to The Barbican

  1. Pingback: Blog’s best of 2015! | Sophie's Japan Blog

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