Shakespeare performed in Sendai’s native tongue

The Shakespeare Company Japan has been incorporating local Japanese dialects and settings in its innovative adaptations of plays by The Bard since it was founded in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture in 1993.

The troupe will perform “Hamlet,” arguably Shakespeare’s best-known play, in Shinagawa, Tokyo, on Sept. 16-17.

The play will no doubt entertain those wanting to learn more about the cultural traditions of northern Japan as much as fans of Shakespeare. Director Kazumi Shimodate has transported “Hamlet” into a 19th-century setting of Sendai-han (present-day Sendai City).

Instead of Denmark and Norway at war with each other, as in Shakespeare’s original, the backdrop to Shimodate’s “Hamlet” is the Boshin Civil War that led to the overthrow of the Tokugawa Shogunate and the restoration of Imperial rule. Most of the play’s dialogue is in Sendai-ben (Sendai dialect).

The Shakespeare Company Japan presents “Hamlet” at Rikkoukai Hall on Sept. 16 (6 p.m.) and Sept. 17 (1 p.m., 6 p.m.). Tickets are 3,000 yen in advance.

The nearest station is Shin-Banba on the Keikyu Line. For a map on how to get to the theater, visit http://www1.cts.ne.jp/~rikkokai/map/

For further information, e-mail umi@x.age.ne.jp (in either English or Japanese).