English playwright and poet William Shakespeare is still popular in Japan not only on the stage but in TV dramas and animated cartoons.

Two pieces based on his plays were broadcast by NTV last month — “Osama no Shinzo” (“King’s Heart”), a modern-day version of the tragedy “King Lear,” and a contemporary version of “Romeo to Juliet.”

“(Shakespeare’s works) are the origin of all dramas. Works depicting human truth never fade even if the social background changes,” NTV producer Shinichiro Maeda said.

The Saitama Arts Foundation, which plans to perform all of Shakespeare’s works under the supervision of stage director Yukio Ninagawa, has performed “Coriolanus” and “Love’s Labour’s Lost.”

The New National Theater in Tokyo will perform “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” from Thursday to June 17 and has brought in a stage director from Britain.

The 22-year-old theatrical troupe Studio Life is offering a unique program. Although all of its members are men, it will perform “Romeo and Juliet” at Tokyo’s Kinokuniya Hall through June 5.

“We expect that audiences different from regular theatergoers will come to see it. As our members are all men, we’re regarded as a cultlike theatrical company, but we’d like to let people know that we’re staging ordinary plays,” said Kiichiro Kawauchi, the troupe’s representative.

Translator Kazuko Matsuoka said part of the attraction of Shakespeare’s works, written 400 years ago, is that they express universal truths.

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