“The Age of the Samurai is about to begin…”
A modern theatre production inspired by the Queen album ‘A Night At The Opera’ has opened in Japan with the band’s blessing.
Titled Q: A Night At The Kabuki, the show will feature all songs from the 1975 rock opus, and will be staged in Tokyo, Osaka and Kitakyushu.
The play is led by writer/director Hideki Noda of independent theatre company NODA•MAP. As Noda tells it, someone close to the band came to him with the idea to turn ‘A Night At The Opera’ into a play, two years before the success of the blockbuster Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.
“Even though I was only half-convinced, I set about half-naked and sweating all over doing numerous workshops trying to put into words the inspiration I got from ‘A Night At The Opera’,” Noda said in a statement. “I then conveyed my ideas to that someone close to the band, and what do you know! I received a reply from Queen saying it was OK to go forward with the play.”
In a statement, Queen’s Brian May said he was “thrilled and honoured” to have his music soundtrack the production. “How wonderful to be a part of Japanese culture after all these years,” May said, “with what promises to be a new chapter in theatre history in this first year of the new Reiwa era.”
Set in medieval Japan, the show puts its own spin on Shakespeare’s Romeo And Juliet by reimagining the tragedy’s ending: what would have happened if the star-crossed lovers had survived? Noda describes the play as “pretty unconventional in a weird kabuki way”.
It begins along the following lines, Noda said: “‘It is the end of the 12th century in medieval Japan, and the Age of the Samurai is about to begin…’ And that Queen song starts to play.”
Q: A Night At The Kabuki premiered at the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre on October 8. It will also be staged at the Shin Kabuki-za Theater in Osaka and the Kitakyushu Performing Arts Center in Kitakyushu, from October 19 to 27 and October 31 to November 4 respectively.