Ninagawa at the Barbican in May
Ninagawa returns to the Barbican Theatre London for 4 days in May (5th to the 8th) in what might be becoming an annual event I hope. I’ve seen the two previous productions, Coriolanus and the kabuki version of Twelfth Night. This time it’s not Shakespeare. It’s a play about the famous swordsman Musashi, the author of the Book of Five Rings.
It’ll be entirely in Japanese with English surtitles. The Japanese is usually difficult and fast, however I found the women’s voices easier to follow and it helped that I knew the English versions of both the previous plays and could even remember some speeches from Coriolanus I had memorised for an exam over 20 years ago. I must re-read Eiji Yoshikawa‘s epic novel so I can follow things a bit easier. It’s a great book, although I believe the play starts where this book ends so maybe I’ll be able to find out what happens to Otsu.
I hope for some great swordplay, the literally blood-spattering finale of Ninagawa’s Coriolanus in the manner of Kurosawa’s Sanjuro was such an impressive image. I have expectations of some skillful stagecraft.
My wife tells me the lead actors are quite famous in Japan and expects there to be lots of Japanese women there because the actor, Tatsuya Fujiwara, is a bit of a heart-throb! You might have seen him as Light in DeathNote. It’s only playing for 4 days and when I booked tickets last night, all the cheap seats were unavailable and a fair amount of the stalls and circle were sold as well. So available seats are from ￡28 to ￡40.
The cheap seats might still be available as freebies if you are under 25 as part of Barbican’s free-B events