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Shakespeare's A Comedy of Errors

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What is the play?

Internationalization

The Story

Photo Gallery

Media on the Play

The next play: Kabuki Shakespeare

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Cast (in alphabetical order of role):

Abbess............................................................Haruna Sasaki

Adriana ........................................................Lenore De Asis

Aegeon............................................................David Turpie

Angelo...............................................................Mark Moore

Antipholus of Hachinohe.........................Andrew Bentley

Antipholus of Hirosaki......................Christopher Lynagh

Balthazar/Gangster.................................Ezekiel Sanborn

Courtezan............................................................Aisa Haga

Dromio of Hachinohe................................Walker Leiser

Dromio of Hirosaki...............................Charles Kowalski

The Duke.............................................................Mike Bird

Headsman.......................................Mark Christopherson

Luce..................................................................Kaoru Saito

Luchiana.......................................................Erin Santsche

Office........................................................Mari Kawamura

Pinch.........................................................Diedre Boleyn

Staff:

Producer........................................Mark Christopherson

Director..........................Lenore De Asis / Mark Moore

Stage Manager.........................................Diedre Boleyn

Costumes..........................Setsuko and Hiroko Koyama

Sound and Lighting..................................Hirosaki Butai

Naration.....................................................Naoko Katsura

Thanks to

HIBA

AFFAIR

Hirosaki Kankokan

The Aomori Prefectural Board of Education

Ms. Hosoi for her help in every part of the production

Mr. Mori for his invaluable efforts towards the sound production

And all of the people from Hirosaki University that helped out with the sets and the back stage production of the play

What is the Play?

This year, members of the JET and Japanese community combined under the name AET productions to put on a performance of Shakespeare's A Comedy of Errors. It was the second consecutive Shakespearean play supported by the JET community in Aomori prefecture.


A year earlier, A Mid Summers Night Dream was performed in Hirosaki park. So last year, building on the successes and learning from the mistakes of the previous performances, we continued the play in hopes of making a tradition that would benefit both the Japanese and foreign residents of Aomori prefecture. Our goal, as it should be for every play, was above all to make an interesting and enjoyable play that would leave our audience with a lasting and good impression of Shakespeare. However, while doing this, we hoped to strengthen ties between the foreign community and the surrounding Japanese community of Aomori, and present a positive image of foreigners that would help to promote both grass root and large scale exchanges in the future.

The actual play was performed on the 20th, 21st and 22nd of June, 1997, just outside of the Hirosaki Kankokan. On Friday the 20th, the first performance, Hirosaki was hit by a Summer typhoon. Quite naturally, Friday night's performance had the lowest attendance of the three (100 people). Furthermore, the actors, who were slipping and sliding across an uncovered stage, were probably unable to fully enjoy their opening night after 5 months of practice. However, even though few were able to hear our words over the pattering of the rain against the tarp over their heads, there was a play and 100 people came to see it. So when I think about it now, I have the greatest respect for the 100 people who did come out to see us that night and the actors around me who still put on a show for them.

On Saturday night's performance the attendance rose to about 350 people. And on Sunday's matinee we had our largest turnout, approximately 450 people. All in all, during our short three day run, over 900 people sat and watched us perform Shakespeare. In addition, through television and newspaper coverage, and numerous write ups in everything from local international relations newsletters to the prefectural Board of Education's monthly "Kyouiku Kouhou," there were few people in the area that did not hear about the play.

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Internationalization

One of the main questions concerning anyone who deals with foreigners is, what constitutes international relations? Or, what does it mean to internationalize? I have no plans here to try and answer this question intrinsically. However, I will say that the play was, without a doubt, a fine example of what international relations and internationalization can be.

The first and most obvious reasons for this is that we were able to present a Shakespearean play, one of the highest examples of the English language and its culture, to a group of people in a non-English speaking country. In reality, this is just a larger scale example of what any foreigner does everyday he/she stays in another country. And if the cast had only been made up of foreigners from the same country and the audience all Japanese, although a valuable experience for both sides, it would only have been a one directional presentation of culture.

But if you look at our cast, the audience, and all the people who supported the play, you will see that this was not the case. The English speaking component of the play came from Australia, New Zealand, The US, Canada, the UK and Ireland. Furthermore, there were for supporting roles and a plethora of extras played by Japanese actors and actresses. Thus, every single practice served as an exchange of culture and helped to ground the foreign community here in Aomori prefecture. In addition, in order to successfully put on a play of this size we needed the support of countless Japanese people. Through working with HIBA, the Kankoukan and everyone else I thanked above, we proved that we can work together and learned a lot from doing so. I think the cooperation that took place was obvious in the final product, and that is why we received such a good response from our audience.

Our audience, as well, was not uni-cultural. The 900 people we drew to the show were from all over the world. Simply grouping such a large number of people of different cultures can constitute internationalization. And for this audience, we tried our best to use our multicultural staff to present a show that would not only present western culture to a Japanese audience, but moreover, present Japanese, local Tsugaru, and western cultures to a mixed audience. We did this with :

In the end, I feel confident that we put on a show that made use of both the foreign community and the local community in Aomori. Such that future exchanges both large and small will benefit from our efforts. I think the people who came and saw it walked away with a slightly better understanding of another culture and their own. But most importantly, as a play, I think people enjoyed it.

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The Story

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Go to the photo gallery

(I apologize, but due to lack of space, it has to be a small galary for now)

View news articles written about the play

(In Japanese only)

Take a look at '98 performance of "Kabuki Shakespeare"

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