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In theater, as in daily life, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Such was the case with “Tempo 12-nen no Shakespeare” (“Shakespeare in Year 12 of the Tempo Era”) by dramatist and writer Hisashi Inoue.

Set in the underworld of 1841 Japan, and featuring characters and fragments from all of William Shakespeare’s 37 plays, the production premiered in Tokyo in 1974 as a keenly anticipated confection of yakuza thrills and spot-the-Bard challenges for those in the know.

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