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and eyes crossed). ‘lt‘s just that they do it so fast you sometimes don‘t notice.‘ says I lenry.

The one company we have not seen before in Edinburgh is Koichi Kimura‘s (‘hijinkai. Kimura is the sort of director who likes to take a back seat in rehearsal. lle guides his actors subtly. preferring to let them find their own way. ‘I hide behind my actors. almost .‘ he admits.

The production this company will be staging is Yabuhara Kengyo. which has been loosely translated as The (ireat [)octor Yahuhara.

It is the story of a blind man who is totally evil a concept which is more disturbing in Japan. where there is a traditional reverence for the blind. than it is here. Like the Ninagawa production. the story is derived from folk tales. but this production owes more to kahuki than to .\'o. Kabuki. for the uninitiated. relies more on spectacle. music and movement than No. and is more populist. concentrating less on the formalised delivery of a set text.

(‘hijinkai has. in fact. done a straight kabuki version of Yabuhara Kengyo. but Edinburgh will see the original version. first performed in 1973. ‘It looks like kabuki.‘ says Kimura. ‘but the expression of the characters is different. We do have music. but use just a guitar. It sounds like a shamisen sometimes. and we use it in the Western style at others.‘

It was written by llisashi Inoue. who has since


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written ‘about fifteen‘ other pieces for (.‘hijinkai. (Yabuhara was their first collaboration ). This is one of Kimura's two long-term collalmrations. the other being with the British playwright Arnold \Vesker. whom he translates into Japanese. l

Wesker writes plays dealing with social 5 problems. of which. Kimura says. Japan has had | its fair share in the last twenty or thirty years.

‘Yabuhara Kengyo is about rich people oppressing poor people.‘ he say s. ‘\'ery honest poor people have no chance to get money. like in Japan. Westerners tend to think all Japanese are rich. but the truth is very different.‘

Inoue is not. however. strident. ‘l le never makes it explicit. He does it more subtly. joyfully and comically. this is his talent.‘

Despite the fact that this is the first time (‘hijinkai has performed in lidinburgh. Kimura is not at all nervous about either the Scots audience or the stage on which the actors are to perform. ‘l have seen the Lyceum.‘ he says. 'lt is very beautiful. just right for our style. In fact. it is rather like the best theatre in Kyoto.‘

lfthe theatre really suits the company. then it bodes very well for them. The Lyceum was the setting for Ninagawa's triumphant Macbeth five years ago. The Great Doctor Yahuhara. Royal Lyceum. 12—14Aug, 7. 30pm; 14 Aug. 2.30pm. l

The Chiiinkai company in The Great Doctor Yabuhara

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