Several big-name theatrical productions will be coming to Singapore in the third quarter of the year. They include Japanese theatre luminary Yukio Ninagawa's stage adaptation of best-selling novelist Haruki Murakami's Kafka On The Shore and Shakespeare's Globe's production of Hamlet, which aims to tour every country in the world.
There is also Cirque du Soleil's Totem, written and directed by Canadian theatre giant Robert Lepage. Cirque du Soleil is a Canadian entertainment company known for its colourful, large-scale acrobatic performances.
Hamlet will be staged at the Capitol Theatre from Sept 8 to 12, directed by the Globe's outgoing artistic director Dominic Dromgoole. The well-told story of a Danish prince who wants to avenge his father's murder will be presented by a cast of 12 and stars Naeem Hayat, a British actor of Pakistani descent, in the title role. The show will travel to 205 nations before concluding at Hamlet's own Elsinore Castle on April 23 next year.
Dromgoole said in a statement: "In 1608, only five years after it was written, Hamlet was performed on a boat - the Red Dragon - off the coast of Yemen. Just 10 years later, it was being toured extensively all over northern Europe.
"The spirit of touring, and, of communicating stories to fresh ears, was always central to Shakespeare's work. We couldn't be happier to be extending that mission even further. By train, coach, plane and boat, we aim to take this wonderful, iconic, multifarious play to as many fresh ears as we possibly can."
Hamlet is, incidentally, Yukio Ninagawa's favourite Shakespeare play. He has directed it seven times.
The theatre titan, who turns 80 this year, was last in Singapore for his critically acclaimed production of Musashi at the Esplanade two years ago, a humorous and incisive reimagining of what might have happened to Miyamoto Musashi, arguably the greatest swordsman in Japanese history.
This time, the Esplanade will be presenting his take on Murakami's cult classic Kafka On The Shore (2002), telling the intertwining stories of 15-year-old Kafka, who runs away from home, and the elderly Nakata, finder of lost cats.
Blending reality, dream and myth, the production has received rave reviews in Japan and abroad. It will run from Oct 30 to Nov 1 and tickets go on sale on Wednesday.
The Guardian called it a "sensuous theatrical spectacle", while the Financial Times wrote in its review that "Yukio Ninagawa does a magnificent job of bringing this enigmatic work to the stage".
The cast features Japanese actors Rie Miyazawa, Naohito Fujiki and Nino Furuhata and the text was adapted for the stage by prominent American writer-director Frank Galati, a member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, who received two Tony awards for his stage adaptation of The Grapes Of Wrath in 1990.
Also in October, Cirque du Soleil will be returning to Singapore after a decade with Totem, an acrobatic showcase that looks at man's evolution. Its trademark big top tent will be situated on Bayfront Avenue, next to Marina Bay Sands.
The circus spectacle won the 2013 NYC Drama Desk Awards for Unique Theatrical Experience and features a cast of 46 acrobats, actors, musicians and singers from 17 countries. Tickets go on sale to the public on Monday.
Follow Corrie Tan on Twitter @CorrieTan
This article was first published on June 26, 2015.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.