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July Grand Kabuki

JUNIYA (Twelfth Night)

If music be the food of love, play on!" The trouble caused by love is the theme of Shakespeare's play, a comedy with great depth. July at Kabuki-za features an encore performance of a bold experiment. Ninagawa Yukio, known throughout the world for productions of Shakespeare and his blending of traditional and modern theatrical techniques will direct kabuki actors in an adaptation of Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night."
After being shipwrecked and being separated (presumably forever) from her twin brother Sebastian, Viola dresses as a young man, calls herself Cesario and takes service with Orsino, who is in love with the fabulously wealthy Olivia. In the guise of Cesario, Viola becomes Orsino's messenger to Olivia, but she does not love him. Instead, she falls in love with Cesario and in turn, Viola falls in love with Orsino. But while these characters suffer for love, others lust after Olivia's wealth. Her uncle Toby cannot stand to see the money leave the family and tries to get her married to the obnoxious Andrew. Meanwhile, Olivia's steward Malvolio is also in love with her, but he is so stuck-up and out of date that the people around him plot to make him think that Olivia returns his love, only making him seem more ridiculous than ever.
In July's production, all of Shakespeare's characters will take on a new, kabuki incarnation. Viola will become Princess Biwa (a biwa is a Japanese lute), and disguised as a man, she will take the name Shishimaru, sounding like a proper samurai, and all the other characters get new Japanese names as well.
Ninagawa Yukio is famous throughout the world for his direction of new plays and the classics, using modern theatrical techniques and traditional aesthetics with a bold visual touch. For example, his production of Macbeth brought the play into the world of Japan and transformed the stage into a giant Buddhist altar, with mysterious old women praying throughout the play, as though the story of Macbeth took place within the altar as a message from the land of the dead. His production of King Lear brought together a famous English actor as Lear and a popular Japanese actor as the fool and was performed in England, while his production of Oedipus Rex combined an actress from the Japanese modern theater with an actor from kyogen, the traditional comic style and the production even went to Greece.
The production will star Onoe Kikunosuke as Biwa and her twin brother Shuzennosuke, while Onoe Kikugoro will play Maruo Bodayu and the jester Sutesuke. Also featuring Sadanji, Danshiro and Tokizo. Don't miss this exciting new kabuki experiment!

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