Shakespeare's Macbeth becomes a samurai saga through the vision of the late, great Japanese director Yukio Ninagawa.
The Straits Times had a sneak peek at the Ninagawa Company's production, which runs at the Esplanade Theatre from Nov 23 to 25, a quarter-century after it first showed here.
Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are played by Masachika Ichimura and Yuko Tanaka. King Duncan, who Macbeth betrays, is played by Tetsuro Sagawa.
Ninagawa reworked the Scottish Play in 1980, setting it in war-torn, 16th-century Japan and creating a stage which evokes the traditional Buddhist altar present in most Japanese homes.
Two crones, not present in Shakespeare's script, open the doors of the altar before the action begins and remain on the stage as observers. The audience is thus always aware of the staged nature of the production, as well as the inexorable, inescapable whirlpool of events Macbeth is trapped by.
Ninagawa revived his Macbeth in 2015 for international stagings. He died in May last year, aged 80.