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WAY OF THE SAMURAI

Stories of honour, vengeance and the supernatural from the age of the Samurai.

"In the aftermath of the civil wars, though the country, after much instability and bloodshed, was finally at peace, the minds of men were still in a state of high excitement, and could not be reconciled to the dullness of a state of rest; men who had lived their lives as instruments of war, born to die in service of their lord, still measured themselves by courage, honour, and skill with the sword. Edo was a tinderbox, and a stray word, a careless gesture, was all it took for the strict code of respect to be breached, and blades to be drawn."

In feudal Japan, the Way of the Samurai represented an inspiring yet fanatical code of personal honour, in a society where the legacy of a man's reputation was worth everything - and often, paid for in blood.  We journey through a selection of thrilling tales which have passed through centuries of telling from history into folklore: feuds, heists, betrayals, ghostly romances, shape-shifting monsters, and debts of vengeance that tear through generations. Through these stories, we uncover the Way of the Samurai, honouring its admirable conviction and the lessons it still has to teach us,  while measuring the toll it took on those who struggled to live up to it.

An ensemble cast weave narration, drama, and martial arts in an enchanting physical style that reaches back to theatre's roots as a communal act of storytelling. From the imaginative space of the bare stage, audiences are invited to journey to another time and place, mysterious yet distinct, whose powerful stories, discovered anew, continue to fascinate and entrance.

Adapted by the ensemble from texts by A.B. Mitford, Lafcadio Herne and Jocho Yamamoto.

Supported by Belconnen Arts Centre.

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