Home Events - Trixie's List Theater HAMLET | TOILET (Japan)


PS21 presents the New York premiere of Hamlet | Toilet, written and directed by Yu Murai and performed by the acclaimed theater company Kaimaku Pennant Race (KPR).  Two performances only, Friday, January 5, at 7 pm, and Saturday, January 6, at 2 pm, at PS21’s Black Box Theater (2980 Route 66, Chatham, NY 12037).

Number two or not number two? That is the question in Hamlet | Toilet, a hilariously nonsensical reimagining of William Shakespeare’s classic from Yu Murai, one of Japan’s “most innovative contemporary playwright-directors” (Asian Theatre Journal), performed by members of his Kaimaku Pennant Race theater company, Masayuki Gouke (professionally known as G.K. Masayuki), Yuki Matsuo, and Takuro Takasaki, fearlessly clad in their signature full-body white unisuits.

Kaimaku Pennant Race (KPR), founded by Yu Murai in 2006, is a Tokyo-based theater company known for off-the-wall theater work with a uniquely contemporary Japanese view, often inspired by Western masterpieces. The company is celebrated  for its antic movement style that leavens  profound interpretations of Elizabethan-era tragedy with bursts of Japanese pop culture references that illuminate the works in sensational and surprising ways.

Hamlet | Toilet premiered at Komaba Agora Theater in Tokyo in September 2023. Audiences won’t want to miss the New York premiere of Murai’s latest madcap Shakespearean innovation.

KPR has  achieved worldwide recognition through their performances of  in-demand repertoire pieces including 1969: A Space Odyssey? Oddity!,  Romeo and Toilet, and Ashita no Ma-Joe: Rocky Macbeth, in France, Romania, Thailand, South Korea, the United States, and their home country, Japan.  In 2009, the company performed Romeo and Toilet in the New York International Fringe Festival, earning “Four Stars” from Time Out New York for its “fantastic combination of ingenious movement, surreal story lines and dynamic, startlingly disciplined performers.”  The company’s remarkable sets have also caused quite a stir, with one of their most notable designs being a large toilet created from 10,000 toilet paper rolls for Romeo and Toilet.

Founder and Director Yu Murai reinterprets a wide variety of classical plays using extreme physicality and over-the-top humor.  Known for his bold stage designs and sharp, witty dramas, he conveys his singular point of view through meticulous,  highly choreographed directing. The troupe is one of the most promising theater companies in Japan, blending high art and entertainment, and Yu Murai has recently added workshops, lectures and readings to expose young actors to his quirky and rich methodologies. Of his plays, Theatrorama (France) wrote, “If you see [his] shocking work, you cannot return to earth ever again.”


Yu Murai established Kaimaku Pennant Race Theater Company in 2006 in Tokyo. Their first overseas tour in New York in 2009 received enthusiastic  reviews and praise from The New York Times and Time Out New York. The Company’s unique spatial composition and staging, such as a huge toilet made of 10,000 toilet paper rolls on a stage surrounded by a standing audience, as well as their gonzo street performances, have enchanted audiences and critics  throughout  the world. Director and translator Yoji Aoi, who has worked with KPR as translator and dramaturg since 2015, describes the company’s genre-bending approach as “hyper-nonsensical absurdist philosophical comedy.”

“Yu Murai is] among Japan’s most innovative contemporary playwright-directors…” –Asian Theatre Journal


Preferred  Seating: $35

General Admission: $25

Student, youth, and educators: $10

Performance Schedule:

Fri., Jan. 5 at 7:00 p.m.

Sat., Jan 6 at 2:00 p.m.


“KPR is known for tongue-in-cheek, absurdist adaptations of Western masterpieces, dialogue brimming with puns and word play reflecting Japanese popular culture… and ultimately universal aspects of human endeavor.”


Jan 06 2024


7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

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2980 New York 66, Chatham, NY 12037
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