What's New


Ninagawa Company - Musashi


5 - 8 May 2010
Barbican Theatre

Tickets: www.barbican.org.uk/bite


Image: Takahiro Watanabe

The new bite10 season opens with the European premiere of Musashi, written by the late Hisashi Inoue and directed by the celebrated Japanese director Yukio Ninagawa who returns to the Barbican following sell-out performances of his Kabuki Twelfth Night seen as part of bite09. The play is based on the real life legendary swordsman Miyamoto Musashi, famed in Japan and beyond for his formidable fighting techniques. The play premiered in Tokyo in 2009 to great acclaim.

He who seeks revenge should dig two graves.  Japanese proverb.

Musashi is set in the early 17th century. Six years after the Duel of Ganryu Island between Kojiro Sasaki and the victor, Musashi, Kojiro, on a mission for retribution, seeks out Musashi, who embraces the possibility of fighting again with such a worthy opponent.  This contemporary comedy, which ponders whether a rematch will ever take place, uses elements of Noh, Kyogen and the spirit of the Samurai to demonstrate the ultimate futility of revenge. 

Musashi stars Tatsuya Fujiwara in the title role, who made his Barbican debut in 1997 in Shintoku-maru directed by Ninagawa. 15 years-old at the time, Fujiwara returned in 2001 in The Modern Noh Plays and is one of the most talented and successful young actors in Japan. Tatsuya is joined by another exceptional young actor, Ryo Katsuji, who plays the role of Kojiro. Musashi is performed in Japanese with English surtitles.

Yukio Ninagawa, Hon. CBE was awarded an honorary doctorate from Edinburgh University in 1992. In March 2009 he received an honorary doctorate of arts from the University of Plymouth. His revisions of Shakespearean classics within a Japanese cultural tradition have been met with high acclaim. Previous bite productions are: Twelfth Night (2009), Coriolanus (2007); Hamlet (2004 - with a British cast); The Modern Noh Plays (2001) and Hamlet (1998 - Japanese production). His production of Titus Andronicus was part of the RSC Complete Works Festival in 2006 and his King Lear (1999) was presented by the RSC at the Barbican and in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Musashi is produced by HoriPro Inc and co-produced by barbicanbite10 and Thelma Holt