It's a fair bet that many people at the Globe Theatre in London last May expected the Kyoto-based Chiten (Point) Company to present a stereotypically Japanese, samurai-style "Coriolanus," complete with taiko drums and period armor.

Instead, however, Japan's contribution to the theater's Globe to Globe project, for which 37 Shakespeare plays were performed by companies from 37 countries to celebrate the London Olympics, was a minimalist production that portrayed to great acclaim the Bard's tragedy of a Roman general who turns into a cruel dictator.

Remarkably, the cast, dressed in peasant-style denim, also set the replica 17th-century venue rocking with laughter with entertaining scenes, for example when Coriolanus (Dai Ishida) threw a tantrum while wielding a baguette in place of a sword.