Undoubtedly the coolest person amongst the cast and crew of ‘Hamlet’, and possibly one of the coolest men alive, is the stage-fighting Sensei. Every time he is called upon to demonstrate something, he swaggers onto the stage, effortlessly performs even the most complex looking of tasks, and then saunters back to his seat where he observes the action through icy eyes mounted in granite features. This is a man that almost certainly eats pain for breakfast. Sadly my complete lack of coordination, coupled with a less than reassuring presence in relation to potentially lethal weapons, means that I will not be following in his footsteps.
There are often occasions where I think that I have understood an instruction or a request made in Japanese, only to instantly dismiss it on the grounds of the translation sounding too ridiculous. One such incident happened today in the middle of rehearsals, when I thought I heard the actor playing Fortinbras call for someone to ‘Bring me the Chains!’ I was thus somewhat taken aback when moments later a number of stagehands appeared, and began to clad him from head to toe in large metal links. I shall never doubt my linguistic skills (in a slightly strange costume related frame of reference) again.