Oval House Stages Double-bill of Works by Mishima
Date: 2 June 2009
Oval House Theatre, in conjunction with StoneCrabs Theatre, is this month presenting a double bill of works by the much-vaunted Japanese playwright Yukio Mishima, Hanjo & Hell Screen. The show, which runs from 16 June to 4 July, follows close on the heels of the recent production of Mishima’s 1965 play Madame de Sade at the Donmar Warehouse, which starred Dame Judi Dench and Rosamund Pike.
Hanjo is a haunting story of unrequited love. The beautiful Hanako is led to madness by her endless waiting for her lover. Hell Screen is an adaptation of a short story by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, a heavyweight of early 20th-century Japanese literature. It tells the passionate and imaginative tale of an artist’s commission to paint hell and the sadistic vision he encounters along the way.
Never before staged in English in the UK, these modern adaptations of classical Noh and Kabuki drama blend traditional forms of Japanese theatre with 21st-century psychology.
Mishima’s works are made all the more poignant because of the writer's tragic death. He committed hara-kiri, Japanese ritual suicide, at the age of 45. Despite his short life, Mishima was a prolific writer, producing over 40 novels, poems, essays, and modern Kabuki and Noh dramas.
Hanjo & Hell Screen is part of Japan-UK 150, a series of events celebrating 150 years of Japan-UK friendship.
- by Jo Caird - Theatregoer Reporter
Subscribe to our free newsletter