Life is hard for Marcello Magni. Not only is he directing a production separately starring famed actress Tomoko Mariya and upcoming talent Kae Okumura, but the work, in Japanese, is also his brand-new version of an early play by his great friend — and Japan’s leading contemporary dramatist — Hideki Noda.

Recounting how “Tinkerbell in Shoji Land” comes to be staged now at the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre in Ikebukuro, where Noda is artistic director, Magni, 54, was typically modest in saying, “It was Tomoko who suggested the idea of Hideki creating something with me. That came after I emailed one day from England, where I live, and it happened to be her birthday. Anyhow, she was so excited that soon after she talked to Hideki about her collaboration idea.”

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