April 2023

FCCJ will organise a trip to the New National Theatre to watch adaptations of Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Haruko Watanabe

Will Tuckett, choreographer, with Yui Yonezawa (Lady Macbeth) during a rehearsal. (Photo by Akihito Abe)

FCCJ members have been enjoying Shakespeare plays on BBC DVDs for more than 10 years. Now they have the chance to watch Shakespeare transformed into a ballet, following on from a Saturday Afternoon with Shakespeare event at the FCCJ.

On May 4, 15 FCCJ members will watch a Shakespeare Ballet Double Bill featuring Macbeth and Dream at the New National Theatre in Tokyo.

Macbeth is the world premiere of a newly commissioned work by Will Tuckett, an Olivier award-winning choreographer with a distinguished international career, and The Dream by Sir Frederick Ashton.

Lady Macbeth persuades Macbeth to seek the crown, while Yuzaburo Shimizu (witch) holds the crown. (Photo by Akihito Abe)
Yui Yonezawa (Lady Macbeth) and Yudai Fukuoka (Macbeth). (Photo by Akihito Abe)

During an open rehearsal last month, Tuckett explained how he had transformed the Bard’s words into a ballet – for example the use of a crown to symbolise the three witches’ prophecies.

Tuckett said the physical relationship between Macbeth and his wife differed from the romantic- but not physical - love between the young Romeo and Juliet. The pas de deux is used to communicate Macbeth’s physical desire for his wife following his triumphant return from the battlefield.

The principal male dancer, Yudai Fukuoka, said he found his role challenging, while the female principal, Yui Yonezawa, said she had strived to capture the essence of Lady Macbeth’s relationship with her husband.

The second ballet is based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream and is choreographed by Sir Frederick Ashton, former artistic director at the Royal Ballet.

Saho Shibayama, the first soloist, will play the role of Titania while Takafumi Watanabe, the principal male dancer, plays Oberon. If you would like to take part, please contact the FCCJ front desk (03) 3211-3161 by 6 p.m. on Monday April 3.

The next Saturday with Shakespeare will feature a screening of The Tempest on April 22, presented by Stuart Varnam-Atkin.

Haruko Watanabe is president of HKW, a former Tokyo bureau chief of the Press Foundation of Asia, and chair of the FCCJ Special Projects Committee.