Saturday, April 04, 2009

Swords and slapstick Injecting some humor into the gory tale of Musashi

Friday, April 3, 2009
By NOBUKO TANAKA
Special to The Japan Times

In Los Angeles last week, the showdown in the World Baseball Classic between Japan's "Samurai" and their South Korean rivals had TV audiences gripped. So, too, were those at Saitama Arts Theater, who witnessed an acting duel between 26-year-olds Tatsuya Fujiwara and Shun Oguri in "Musashi," a hilarious samurai sword-fighting tale directed by the theater's resident dramatist, Yukio Ninagawa.

News photo
Young blades: Tatsuya Fujiwara (left) in the title role of Hisashi Inoue's long-awaited "Musashi" and Shun Oguri as his rival, Kojiro Sasaki HORIPRO

Written by Hisashi Inoue, former president of the Japan Pen Club, "Musashi" is led by the performances of these two, both Ninagawa favorites. Fujiwara made his career debut aged 15 at the Barbican in London in Ninagawa's production of "Shintokumaru (by Shuji Terayama)," while Oguri performed for English audiences in 2006 with a role in Ninagawa's version of "Titus Andronicus" at Stratford-upon-Avon in the Royal Shakespeare Company's "Complete Works" festival.

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