Although the very idea of an European director working in Japan might be considered extraordinary - especially if we remember that the Polish artist produced in Tokyo an adaptation of a Russian novel - the fundamental uniqueness of the whole enterprise lies in the nature of Wajda's dramatic experiment. The key element in his proposal was the person of Tamasaburo Bando, a leading contemporary Kabuki actor, specializing in women's roles, traditionally played by men in the Kabuki theatre (...). Apart from traditional Japanese theatre, the extensive career of Tamasaburo Bando has also included European-style performances, for example, the title role in La Dame aux Camellias; in fact, it was his stage photograph from this performance which first gave Wajda the idea of engaging him for the role of Nastassya.
Strictly speaking, Tamasaburo Bando did not play Nastassya Filippovna, whose character he entered only occassionally. The main part he played was that of prince Myshkin (...). As prince Myshkin he appeared on the stage with Rogozhin to begin that vigil over the dead woman which constituted the essential narrative thread of the play. But when both men reminisced about her and emotion intensified to the point of madness, prince Myshkin – transformed by the art of the Japanese actor - changed into Nastassya before the spectators' very eyes.
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