In this witty satire of power, Shakespeare is put on trial for falsifying history and defaming Richard Sandaime, the Grand Master of Ikebana. Shakespeare is being prosecuted by none other than Maachan of Venice. Maachan, who has forever been condemned by the writing of Shakespeare, pits wits against the writer. Who will win?
Sandaime Richard is written by Hideki Noda, described by revered Japanese director Yukio Ninagawa as ‘the most talented playwright of contemporary Japan’. Noda, inspired by Yushi Odashima’s translation of Shakespeare’s “Richard III”, effortlessly parallels the Wars of the Roses in England with the intrigue in an ikebana clan in Japan. From Noda’s script, Festival Director Ong Keng Sen creates an extravaganza of comic turns with his signature style of juxtaposing Asian traditional performance forms, including the modern tradition of Takarazuka, a popular all-female entertainment revue. Inspired by William Shakespeare’s “Richard III” but very different, Sandaime Richard will open in Singapore this September before heading to Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre for a two-week run and later embarking on a Japanese tour of four cities.
In the year that celebrates the 400th death anniversary of William Shakespeare, Singapore International Festival of Arts 2016 takes a spin on the international multitude of productions commemorating this iconic playwright of all times. In Ong’s production, games of gender surround Shakespeare, a male writer besieged by ‘female’ characters. In comic turn after comic turn, Ong casts rising star, kabuki onnagata (female impersonator), Kazutaro Nakamura as Richard Sandaime.