Renowned for his reworkings of Shakespeare’s masterpieces, Japanese theatre director Yukio Ninagawa hits London’s Barbican Theatre this weekend with his take on Cymbeline.
One of Shakespeare’s final plays, Cymbeline is loosely based on the works of the 16th century chronicler Raphael Holinshed. However, like most of the great bard’s plays, its message transcends time and place. The action is nestled amid a beautiful world of sparse yet intricate Far Eastern stage design, and represents an impressive synthesis of Eastern and Western cultures. A beautifully choreographed ‘mash-up’ of world approaches to theatre, one is captivated by the way two such disparate traditions can coalesce into this single memorable production. Timely as it is timeless, Ninagawa draws the audience’s mind to the abject horror of the recent tsunami suffered in the East, as well as to the bold hope found in “the single miraculous lone pine tree” that survived out of 7,000 along a devastated stretch of Japanese coast. A particularly powerful production.
Yukio Ninagawa’s adaptation of Cymbeline runs at The Barbican theatre from the Friday 1st June – Saturday 2nd June.
Text: Clementine Fiell