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After decades of playing Shakespeare “straight,” Japanese directors and actors are now taking stagings of his works to a different level. A move away from pure “translation drama” toward an approach rooted in Japanese experience has been the exciting hallmark of productions such as Hideki Noda’s “Much Ado About Nothing” and “A Midsummer-Night’s Dream,” and Mansai Nomura’s kyogen version of “The Comedy of Errors.”

Meanwhile, the last year has also seen many theater companies turn to plays by Anton Chekhov (1860-1904). It’s tempting to speculate whether stagings of Russia’s foremost dramatist will follow where those of the Bard of Avon have led.

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