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Understanding the bank crisis via the stage

by Nobuko Tanaka

“If you want to understand the banking crisis, you should go to the theater” — this isn’t a blurb for an economics book, it’s from a review for “The Power of Yes,” the latest work by English playwright David Hare.

The play, which focuses on the 2008 global financial crisis, premiered at the National Theater in London last October to rave reviews.

It came about after Nicholas Hytner, the National Theater’s artistic director, picked up the phone last year, called Hare, and asked him if he would — with some urgency — write a play in response to the events surrounding the bankruptcy of the Lehman Brothers investment bank. Taking on the project straight away, Hare interviewed several key players in the world of finance and, reflecting that research, also cast himself as a journalist in this play — a work that asks the simple but fundamental question: Why did it happen?

Here in Tokyo, Yoji Sakate, founder of the Rinkogun theater company, also followed Hytner’s lead in reacting promptly to the global scandal, and is consequently only a few month’s behind the National Theater in staging Hare’s political “docudrama” here with Japanese actors.

“The Power of Yes” runs from May 10-23 at the Suzunari Theater in Tokyo. Afterward, it will travel to Osaka and Nagoya till June 2. For more information, call Rinkogun at (03) 3426-6294 or visit www.alles.or.jp/~rinkogun/

Rinkogun is offering two sets of tickets to Japan Times readers to “The Power of Yes” on May 19 at 7 p.m. To apply, please send a postcard or an e-mail with your name, address and contact telephone number (or e-mail address) to Rinkogun/JT tickets present, 1-24-14 Umegaoka #202, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 154-0022. Or mail rinkogun@alles.or.jp. Applications must arrive before May 11. Winners will be contacted by Rinkogun.