In 2014, rising playwright and director Kenichi Tani translated Harold Pinter's "Old Times" for an all-Japanese production by top English director David Leveaux staged that year in Tokyo and Osaka. After that, Leveaux asked Tani, 33, to write a new contemporary play for him based on "Shinju Ten no Amijima" ("The Love Suicide at Amijima"), a famous shinjū (love suicide) drama from 1720 by the renowned playwright Chikamatsu Monzaemon (1653-1725).

To find out about the thrills — and spills — that followed, The Japan Times sat down for a chat with Tani.

How did your collaboration project work out?