The New Year
Happy New Year!
I trust you are all enjoying your holidays right now.
Rehearsals for “Kurotokage (Black Lizard)” have also reached a climax.
Over the last few days, every scene has been rehearsed from start to finish, as if they were being performed in front of an audience.
The other day, we wore our costumes for the first time, and practiced changing quickly while wearing makeup.
Acting under the direction of David Leveaux, brimming with humor, I almost feel as though I am back at drama school. Our rehearsals are always filled with laughter as he recounts numerous amusing episodes from the past in the world of theater.
One day, he told us an interesting story on the Old Testament at a rehearsal.
The Bible was not allowed to be translated into English in England or Scotland, until around the 16th century (this was probably because allowing the common people to read the Bible would have inconvenienced the rulers of the time). People were permitted to read it only in its original language of Hebrew, or translations of it in Latin or Greek. In the 17th century when tensions ran high between Catholics and Protestants, James I (VI), who was King of Scotland and England, and also a Protestant, ordered the translation of the Bible into English for the first time. Shakespeare, who was at the peak of his fame in the world of theater at the time, was apparently entrusted with this highly honorable job.
When he was 46, and at the height of his career, he was placed in charge of translating Psalm 46, where he is said to have left his mark. And just as Mr. Leveaux said, looking at the Authorized Version reveals that the 46th word from the beginning is “shake,” and the 46th word from the end is “spear.”
Everyone at the rehearsal gasped in surprise upon hearing this little-known theory that Shakespeare coded his name into the translation (the original spelling for “spear” was actually “speare”).
The scene changes during “Kurotokage” are executed with so much perfection that I wish I could see the play, not as an actor, but as a member of the audience, thanks to the excellent teamwork of the entire ensemble and the music performed by the live band, guiding the audience to a world of fantasy. I was initially afraid of performing on such a big stage, but left under the direction of Mr. Leveaux and my wonderful costars, including Yoshio Inoue, I am on the verge of changing my attitude and becoming more optimistic that everything will turn out fine.
Performances of “Kurotokage” will start on January 9 at Nissay Theater, and February
1 at Umeda Arts Theater. I look forward to seeing everyone there.