Several big-name theatrical productions will be coming to Singapore in the third quarter of the year. They include Japanese theatre luminary Yukio Ninagawa's stage adaptation of bestselling novelist Haruki Murakami's Kafka On The Shore and Shakespeare's Globe's production of Hamlet, which aims to tour to every country in the world.
There is also Cirque du Soleil's Totem, written and directed by Canadian theatre giant Robert Lepage. Cirque du Soleil is a Canadian entertainment company known for its colourful, large-scale acrobatic performances.
Hamlet will be staged at the Capitol Theatre from Sept 8 to 12, directed by the Globe's outgoing artistic director Dominic Dromgoole. The well-told story of a Danish prince who wants to avenge his father's murder will be presented by a cast of 12 and stars Naeem Hayat, a British actor of Pakistani descent, in the title role. The show will travel to 205 nations before concluding at Hamlet's own Elsinore Castle on April 23 next year.
Dromgoole said in a statement: "In 1608, only five years after it was written, Hamlet was performed on a boat - the Red Dragon - off the coast of Yemen. Just 10 years later it was being toured extensively all over Northern Europe.
"The spirit of touring, and of communicating stories to fresh ears, was always central to Shakespeare's work. We couldn't be happier to be extending that mission even further. By train, coach, plane and boat, we aim to take this wonderful, iconic, multifarious play to as many fresh ears as we possibly can."
Hamlet is, incidentally, Yukio Ninagawa's favourite Shakespeare play. He has directed it seven times. The theatre titan, who turns 80 this year, was last in Singapore for his critically acclaimed production of Musashi at the Esplanade two years ago, a humorous and incisive reimagining of what might have happened to Miyamoto Musashi, arguably the greatest swordsman in Japanese history.
This time, the Esplanade will be presenting his take on Murakami's cult classic Kafka On The Shore (2002), telling the intertwining stories of 15-year-old Kafka, who runs away from home, and the elderly Nakata, finder of lost cats. Blending reality, dream and myth, the production has received rave reviews both in Japan and abroad. This international tour also celebrates Ninagawa's 80th birthday. It will run from Oct 30 to Nov 1 and tickets go on sale July 1.
The Guardian called it a "sensuous theatrical spectacle", while the Financial Times wrote in its review that "Yukio Ninagawa does a magnificent job of bringing this enigmatic work to the stage". The cast features Japanese actors Rie Miyazawa, Naohito Fujiki and Nino Furuhata and the text was adapted for the stage by prominent American writer-director Frank Galati, a member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, who received two Tony awards for his stage adaptation of The Grapes Of Wrath in 1990.
Also in October, Cirque du Soleil will be returning to Singapore after a decade with Totem, an acrobatic showcase that looks at man's evolution. Their trademark big top tent will be situated on Bayfront Avenue, next to Marina Bay Sands.
The circus spectacle won the 2013 NYC Drama Desk Awards for Unique Theatrical Experience and features a cast of 46 acrobats, actors, musicians and singers from 17 countries. Tickets go on sale to the public on June 29.
Follow Corrie Tan on Twitter @CorrieTan
Where: Capitol Theatre
When: Sept 8, 9, 11 at 7.45pm; Sept 12 at 2.30pm and 7.45pm
Admission: $88 to $148 from Sistic (excludes booking fee; call 6348-5555 or go to www.sistic.com.sg)
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: TOTEM
Where: Bayfront Avenue next to Marina Bay Sands
When: From Oct 28. Tue to Fri at 8pm, Sat at 4.30pm and 8pm, Sun at 1.30pm and 5pm
Admission: $98 to $328 (excludes booking fee). Priority booking for M1 customers is available at www.m1.com.sg/m1totem. General ticket sales begin June 29 from Sistic
KAFKA ON THE SHORE
Where: Esplanade Theatre
When: Oct 30 and 31 at 8pm, Nov 1 at 2pm
Where: $48 to $118 from Sistic (excludes booking fee). Ticket sales begin July 1.