What is it about stories from the ancient world that attracts contemporary dramatists?

One person well-placed to address that question is 37-year-old Japanese theater director Kunio Sugihara, whose production of the 10-hour trilogy, "Kunio 15 The Greeks" — divided into three plays subtitled "The War," "The Murders" and "The Gods" — opens Nov. 21 at Kanagawa Arts Theatre in Yokohama.

When it premiered in London in 1980 as a Royal Shakespeare Company production written and directed by the late English theater icon John Barton, "The Greeks" was hailed for its clear dialogue translated from works by Homer and the later classical Athenian tragedians Euripides, Aeschylus and Sophocles by Barton's Czech American collaborator, the playwright Kenneth Cavander.