"When the opportunity came to work at Theatre Cocoon in Tokyo, I was so excited about the great dramatist Yukio Ninagawa being the artistic director there," the English director Jonathan Munby declared.

Of course that was before Ninagawa died, age 80, in May this year. Nonetheless, speaking during a recent interview we had in London, Munby went on to say, "I was a huge fan of Ninagawa and he was a true inspiration. He had a wonderful way of combining the classical and contemporary.

"It really makes me so sad he won't be here to see my production of 'The Crucible,' which is one of the most important plays ever written."