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SHIZUOKA

Classic tale gets multicultural

by Nobuko Tanaka

Special To The Japan Times

After first appearing at the Shizuoka Performing Arts Center (SPAC) 13 years ago, Swiss-Colombian director/actor Omar Porras is on his way back there this weekend with a time-honored classic in tow.

Porras’ Geneva-based Teatro Melandro company will stage William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” along with the support of the SPAC team, who began workshops for the piece as far back as July.

Thanks to the time they’ve spent discussing the work, and the feedback Porras has received from talks he has given at the University of Shizuoka, the classic tragedy will be acted in kimono, on simple sets of beautiful, curved wooden forms among which the young blades of Verona fight with Japanese swords while speaking both French and Japanese.

It was in the aforementioned talks that Porras told his student audiences how for him, at age 20, the cultural leap he made from Colombia to France, “opened a new cultural phase of my life.” Then, to inspire others as he’d been inspired, he explained how even though he “didn’t know anyone or anything about the culture then … that voyage of discovery has now reached Japan. Japanese culture has made my life richer, and through our multicultural collaboration here, I’m sure this work will become richer and deeper, too.”

“Romeo and Juliet” runs Nov. 24 and 25, and Dec. 1, 2, 8 and 9 at Shizuoka Arts Theater at 79-4 Ikeda, Suruga-ku, Shizuoka City (nearest station is JR Higashi-Shizuoka Station). For more information, call (054) 203-5730 or visit www.spac.or.jp.