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Reworked play goes bilingual

by Nobuko Tanaka

Special To The Japan Times

Following critical acclaim for their first international collaboration program, “Wannabe,” Tokyo’s Kakikuukyaku Theater Company will present its second collaborative effort, “Kensatsukan (“The Government Inspector”) at Komaba Agora Theater from this weekend.

For “Wannabe,” playwright and director Norihito Nakayashiki (also Kakikuuyaku’s founder) set the piece in England, at an apartment-share with Japanese, Chinese and Korean actors all speaking in (broken) English.

This time, however, Nakayashiki has written a bilingual (Japanese and Korean) play based on Russian master Nikolai Gogol’s 1836 satirical piece, “The Government Inspector,” in collaboration with rising Korean theater troupe Rengekibi.

Rather than being set in Imperial Russia like the original, though, Nakayashiki’s version examines contemporary relations between Japan and Korea in what is a hilarious and delightful black comedy.

The story is faithful to the original, which focuses on city fat cats who have been benefitting from daily bribes. In this production Japanese actors take the role of the fat cats and their Korean colleagues play humble citizens and the mysterious government inspector.

“Kensatsukan” will be performed at Komaba Agora Theater in Meguro-ku, Tokyo, from Nov. 12-28. The theater is located near Komaba Todaimae Station. For more information, visit www.kaki-kuu-kyaku.com (Japanese).