Hair of the Dog, Pt. 1

Photos and Contribution by David Crandall

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Part of the continuing conversation surrounding Carrie Preston’s  Zahdi Dates and Poppies, premiering on March 30, 2016 at the Tsai Performance Center, Boston.]

In their delightful posts, Carrie and David S. both talked about adapting existing structures to accommodate the material at hand, whether a personal story to be told or a piece of wood to be carved. I’d like to continue that exploration by talking about how I modified noh’s traditional musical structures to accommodate both Carrie’s poetry and the needs of Zahdi as a newly created performance piece.

Talking about specifics can quickly get bogged down in technical details that few will find interesting, but I hope I can keep this lean and easy. Maybe I should start by sharing some rules of thumb I follow when I compose noh-based music.

1) If traditional structures provide the desired effect, use them.
2) If traditional structures will provide the desired effect if they’re modified, go ahead and modify them.
3) If no traditional structure provides the desired effect,
make something up.

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Noh has many structures that have stood the test of time and are indisputably wonderful. But that doesn’t mean that traditional structures are the only possible choices, or that equally wonderful effects cannot be achieved through newly devised means. For me, the use of traditional structures is really a matter of convenience: they’re already familiar to the performers, making it easier to learn and play the piece. To my mind, though, there’s nothing inherently superior about the traditional structures themselves.

When I say “traditional structures,” I’m talking about shodan, the building blocks of noh. These are often defined in equal measure by words and music, although purely instrumental shodan also exist.

Let’s take a look at a shidai, a structure that often starts a noh. Here’s one from the traditional noh Atsumori (the Hōshō version):

Ryo-ha-ku-ni-u-ki-wa    i-ri-ya-i-no         (7-5)
Ryo-ha-ku-ni-u-ki-wa    i-ri-ya-i-no         (7-5)
Ka-ne-ko-so-to-ma-ri    na-ri-ke-re          (7-4)

旅泊に憂きは 入相の
旅泊に憂きは 入相の
鐘こそ泊まり なりけれ

The sadness of my fleeting sojourn   fills me at sunset
The sadness of my fleeting sojourn     fills me at sunset
When a temple’s vesper bell      bids me stay the night.

L1010915Textually, a typical shidai has three lines with syllable counts of 7-5, 7-5, and 7-4 and the second line is an exact repetition of the first. The content often sets the scene for the entire noh with a general statement that hints at thematic material more fully explored as the piece unfolds. Musically, all shidai have a similar melodic contour with predictable pitch intervals, although the exact places where the melody goes up and down vary somewhat, with different amounts of ornamentation from piece to piece. Once one gets familiar with the contour, though, it’s very easy to identify a shidai despite the variations.  (Please note that we’re talking about yowagin (melodic singing, also known as wagin) here. A shidai can also be set in tsuyogin (dynamic singing, also known as gōgin), which sounds quite different.)

In her first draft, Carrie wrote a “perfect” shidai with the typical syllable count and a repeated first line:

The California poppies   hold tight fists at dawn   (7-5)
The California poppies   hold tight fists at dawn   (7-5)
But open petals of flame   in the sun’s warmth      (7-4)

After reviewing it, however, she took out the first “The.” She also abandoned the exact repetition of the first line, deciding instead to introduce vivid colors and a “clenched” tension that tie in with the motifs of poppies, sand, flame and anguish interwoven throughout the work. The result is a more potent and evocative opening that functions as a shidai but no longer adheres to traditional rules:

California poppies    hold tight fists at dawn                   (6-5)
Gold and orange poppies    clench like fists at dawn     (6-5)
But open petals of flame    in the sun’s warmth              (7-4)

We’ve moved away from the traditional structure, but not far. Musically, Carrie’s lines can be set pretty much like a traditional shidai (modified a little because of the missing syllables in the first two lines).  It sounds something like this:

In my next posts I’ll describe the musical characteristics of a typical shidai and share some of the compositional decisions that led me away from traditional usage. For that to make sense, though, we’ll have to consider another crucial element in noh: rhythmic organization.

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When there is No Dog

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Part of the continuing conversation surrounding Carrie Preston’s  Zahdi Dates and Poppies, premiering on March 30, 2016 at the Tsai Performance Center, Boston. Please consider providing your support by visiting the project’s funding page.]

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Contributed by David Surtasky

The emotions I needed to explore in the play were already present in the images of burnt Zahdi date palms and poppies that would open in the sun’s warmth – and in all the resonances and permutations of those images that the exacting process of trying to write in the noh form had revealed. ~ Carrie Preston

After publishing Carrie’s recent post Finding the Dog in Noh, and Leaving it Alone, I got an email from David Crandall. He talked about the images from that post, in particular one that featured what appeared to be an overlay. I wrote back and mentioned that it wasn’t actually a digitally manipulated image, but rather a photo that I’d taken recently in the area around Kumagaya in Saitama Prefecture. I told David the story of the photo, why I felt there was a connection with Carrie’s narrative, and he encouraged me to share that story as well. So, for better or worse, I suppose I shall:

kitazawa_hidetaSomeone who’s become a good friend over the years is Kitazawa Hideta. He’s become an important artistic partner for TN since we rely on him for most of our masks. Mr. Kitazawa is an accomplished wood carver, and extremely knowledgeable in his craft. He embodies craftsmanship and artistry of the highest order in my opinion.

When I first met Mr. Kitazawa I had no Japanese language ability, but he was affable and open to conversation. He was pleasant to be around, and often had a broad smile. In speaking with him you could feel his positivity. That positivity has carried forward over the years as he’s taken on the challenge of the commissioned masks for Pine Barrens, Pagoda, Crazy Jane, Blue Moon Over Memphis, Oppenheimer and now most recently Zahdi Dates and Poppies.

Recently I had the opportunity to visit Tokyo after living for a few months in Hakodate, Hokkaido. I’d been in contact with Hideta, and he said that he wanted to show me some shrines and temples. Since temple carving runs in his family, I was very excited because I knew he was knowledgeable, and I was really looking forward to seeing such things with someone who could tell me more about all of it.

_DSC9166We met at the train station near Hideta’s house, and we went off to Saitama in his car heading to Menuma Shodenzan Kangiin Temple. Founded in 1179 and designated a National Treasure in 2012, the temple is quite interesting, and the grounds feature a rare triple gabled gate, as well as a recently restored and elaborately carved and painted hall. After touring the grounds, admiring the carvings and enjoying some shaved ice to fend off the broiling August heat, we met up with Mr. Kitazawa’s uncle, and went out to his house.

I met the family, and had some tea and sweets. The traditional house was cool and pleasant, and smelled of earth, wood and straw. We chatted for a bit about the various carvings in the sitting room, the black and white portrait photos of relatives on the wall, and then Kitazawa-san’s uncle asked me “Well, what is it that you want to see?” I replied in my best elementary-level Japanese; 「全ての物が見たいですよね。これが見せてください。よろしくお願いいたします」”Please show me everything.” And so, he did.

The gentleman (with the help of his granddaughter) proceeded to get out and display on the walls and on the floor his painted scrolls, ink drawings and designs. The Meiji era scrolls were painstaking and textured color renderings of temples and portable shrines. The designs on washi paper were 1:1 ink drawings of the intended carvings for various places. One in particular seemed quite interesting since it was an overlay of black, blue and red ink; a similar but slightly different design laid one on top of the other. Why is this so, I asked?

Kitazawa Hideta explained: this ink is the original design, this ink is what is necessary due to the grain of the wood, this ink is what was finally carved.

While trying to find appropriate images for Carrie’s entry, this recent experience came to my mind. How, with creative ideas, we often start in one place and end up in another, but that the underlying image is likely still present. The ideas we have can be altered once they’re first expressed by the exigencies of the medium that we’re working in. There may be different pressures or grains in the wood that lead us to change those initial thoughts, and when we come to the realization of performance for an audience we’ve come to a place of more or less final endeavor. This seems natural, and entirely human.

_DSC9104When an audience perceives a work, if we are skillful in our craft, they will not see the many lines; the black, the blue, the red. Rather, they will hopefully see the whole and accept the story as it is presented as being what it had always been meant to be from the very beginning. That the drawings may remain, endless rolls of washi stored in the chambers of our minds.

Poetry comes from intention. It forms in the mind, and gives way to words. Songs give music to the voice. Music compels dance from the body. All these things are derived from the heart. If we’ve done what we set out to do, it is the intention of the heart that we’ve laid bare.

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Finding the Dog in Noh, and Leaving it Alone

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Ms. Preston provides some insights concerning her new work  Zahdi Dates and Poppies, premiering on March 30, 2016 at the Tsai Performance Center, Boston. Please consider providing your support by visiting the project’s funding page.]

Contributed by Carrie Preston

“A lot could be said about how the text is structured, what it takes from noh and what it leaves alone, and how the English language conditions the narrative flow.”- David Crandall

carrie_prestonIn David Crandall’s fascinating post, Finding the Dog, he expressed the hope that I would talk about some of the above topics in my own contributions to this blog. Basically, David has thrown down the gauntlet for me and not for the first time in our wonderful collaboration over the words and music of Zahdi Dates and Poppies. One evening, several days before we were going to stage a workshop version of a scene from Zahdi, David called to say that he needed “about ten lines of warrior hell poetry” for his score. He had them by morning, I’m proud to say, and I rather like that moment in the play. What he needed musically was also a statement of suffering that the play required.

I have always written best when I have an assignment, either thrown at me by someone else or self-imposed. This post is the result of both David’s assignment and my own (to write a blog before my toddler wakes up from his nap) with a dash of inspiration drawn from David’s “Finding the Dog,” which I highly recommend. One of the things that fascinated me about his post was the way he described dividing his canvas into vertical fields, cutting up images of a painting, and pasting them into the fields. That methodical artistic process sounds like an assignment I could try, even with limited painterly ability. And the result, Jennifer Dreams Wisteria, is gorgeous, as is the dog David unintentionally, unknowingly created.

_DSC9316The writing of Zahdi Dates and Poppies began with a similarly methodical assignment. In order to learn about the sections (dan) that combine like my son’s legos to build noh plays, I set myself the task of replicating those sections down to the specific number of syllables in each line. Since the opening song (shidai) is usually repeated by the chorus in a whispering echo, that was what I wrote, and I made sure those lines were worth repeating poetically and thematically. This structure, particularly all the syllable counting, was maddening at first. But, I had two driving desires or two dogs in the fight, so to speak: I wanted to learn the structure of noh plays so that I could write a better book about the noh theater (see the webpage for my forthcoming book Learning to Kneel). And more importantly, I wanted, no needed, to face the ghost of a man my husband killed while deployed to Iraq as a fighter pilot. I needed to explore the impact of such deaths on those who do the killing and their families, and I had struggled to do this in my poetry and other writing. The warrior play tradition in noh often features the ghost of a defeated soldier telling his story, facing his enemy, at least in spirit, and sometimes finding peace in the process. This ancient genre of warrior plays had something to teach me, I was sure, about finding peace.

So, I followed the noh warrior formula, hammering my story into those structures and syllables. It was a discipline, a labor of precision. I think of this process as searching in noh for the dog, the hidden beast of wisdom that would help me give stage life to that ghost, my ghost. When I was finished, I seemed to have built a neat little house in which nobody had lived, nobody could ever live, particularly not a messy dog. So, I went back into the play, loosening the structure, opening the windows, demolishing some rooms, to make space for my characters and for me. Often, this meant searching through the play for the _DSC9260poetry that was all the more tense and chiseled for having been forced into a rigid structure. I let those poetic images expand and then cut the material that didn’t feel alive. The emotions I needed to explore in the play were already present in the images of burnt Zahdi date palms and poppies that would open in the sun’s warmth – and in all the resonances and permutations of those images that the exacting process of trying to write in the noh form had revealed.

Zahdi is not a noh play. I have always been more interested in what noh could teach the contemporary world about art, performance, and beauty than in following noh’s ancient rules. I have spent many years studying and writing about the noh theater, even taking lessons in the performance technique with teachers from Theatre Nohgaku and in Tokyo with a beloved master teacher, but I am not part of the noh world and its rather regimented institutions. I can study and admire the traditions, but they are not mine. And I don’t mean to imply that I believe in some essential understanding, based on race or culture of birth, that would prevent me from becoming part of that world. As I write these sentences, I am aware that there are warning signs everywhere flagging my orientalism and exoticism, long histories of cultural appropriation, and my privilege as a white American. I take those warnings very seriously and then proceed, as humbly as possible, with the many lessons noh has taught me.

And now my own little puppy is calling me away.

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Finding the Dog

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Mr. Crandall provides some thoughts concerning his composition of the score of Carrie Preston’s Zahdi Dates and Poppies, premiering on March 30, 2016 at the Tsai Performance Center, Boston. Image of painting provided by David Crandall. Please consider providing your support by visiting the project’s funding page.]

Contributed by David Crandall

david_crandall_2Years ago when I somehow had the illusion of free time, I enjoyed painting as a hobby. I often found myself making images that displayed two or more worlds at once—an attempt to express the interpenetration of spirit and matter that colors my perception of life. One painting from that time, titled Jennifer Dreams Wisteria, now hangs on my dining room wall. To make it, I referred to a photo I took of my daughter Jennifer sleeping and superimposed an image of some wisteria fronds I picked from the dilapidated fence in the side yard of our Seattle home. I divided the canvas into four irregular vertical fields, pasted in cut-up images of a tree I had painted and photocopied onto tissue paper, and created a montage that I hoped would depict the dream of a sleeping mind.

d_crandall_Jennifer

Many people have seen this painting over the years, and they’ve reacted in various ways. But one friend said something a few years ago that really surprised me. She said, “Nice dog.” When I asked her what she meant, she showed me the image of a dog, mostly yellow, with two tiny forelegs extended toward the right, snout pointed straight up, and tail curved around Jennifer’s outstretched right hand. I had never seen it before.

Some artists think they know what they’re doing, and I guess sometimes they do. But I think the most interesting art is often unintentional—an arrival point that was not the original destination. I can’t look at my painting now without seeing the dog and being happy it’s there. I’d like to take credit for it, but I can’t—I didn’t put it there. It joined the party on its own, an uninvited but welcome guest.

Compositionally, Zahdi Dates and Poppies is another foray into superimposition. A lot could be said about how the text is structured, what it takes from noh and what it leaves  alone, and how the English language conditions the narrative flow. These are interesting topics, and I’m hoping that author Carrie Preston will talk about some of them in her own blog postings. Words and music are so tightly bound in noh that it’s nearly impossible to talk about one without the other, but I’d like to concentrate my own efforts on the musical montage that emerged as I superimposed a Western compositional mindset onto traditional noh structures. I won’t pretend that I knew what I was doing, but I did have certain intentions, some of which I think I achieved. What I hope will happen as I continue posting, though, is that someone will find the dog.

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Water Masks, Water Songs

WRM - Logo copy

Contributed by Linda Ehrlich

In San Antonio, a city with a beautiful RiverWalk that reminds me of Kyoto. The WHERE RIVERS MEET event is in full swing, with film showings, practices for theatrical performances, and arts events. I’ve been helping with this, as guest film curator, for a long time now and it’s exciting to know that it’s underway. Last June [June, 2014] I was an invited speaker at the Noh Training workshop in Bloomsburg, PA, and there I met Kevin Salfen—mastermind of this multi-faceted event. It’s always remarkable how one thing leads to another (perhaps that’s one thing the Buddhist teaching of cause-and-effect is about).

Hurricane Patricia delayed my arrival, unfortunately. It turned out that the flooding and winds weren’t as bad as predicted, but there was no way to know at a distance. So far I’ve enjoyed the gem-like McNay Museum of modern art (in a former private mansion) with its small Japanese garden, and the galleries of the San Antonio Museum of Art with a Japanese art gallery complete with a tokonoma and tatami.

Before leaving Cleveland I wrote intros to two films that feature noh performances [ED: these films were shown on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015]. Here are excerpts from those intros: [Note: I put Japanese names in Japanese style, with the family name first]

THE MEN WHO TREAD ON THE TIGER’S TAIL (Tora no Ō o fumu otokotachi, 1945/52)

Looking at the span of KUROSAWA Akira’s 50-year career in the cinema from 1943-1990, we can see how he was able to produce moments of quiet epiphany which often remain in the mind of the viewer long after the thrill of the battle has passed. That is the case with today’s little known Kurosawa film Tora no Ō o fumu otokotachi.

THE MEN WHO TREAD ON THE TIGER’S TAIL was made in 1945 but only released in 1952, due to a misreading by both Japanese and American Occupation censors. The former (the wartime Japanese) viewed the film as an insult to revered feudal histories; the latter (the American Occupation censors who reviewed Japanese films between 1945-52) saw The Men who Tread on a Tiger’s Tail as too feudalistic. They were both wrong

MEN_who_treadThis film is based on the noh play Ataka, which later became the kabuki play Kanjinchō. The story itself is based on actual events in Japanese medieval history. In the play, and film, a group of loyal retainers impersonate mountain priests (yamabushi), in an attempt to get their lord Minamoto Yoshitsune across a barrier post to freedom, after Yoshitsune’s half-brother Yoritomo issues an order for his death. These fake yamabushi are supposedly collecting subscriptions for the rebuilding of Tōdaiji temple in Nara (the temple of the Daibutsu)—hence the English translation of the kabuki play as The Subscription List. In the band disguised as the fierce yamabushi in today’s film, you might recognize familiar actors such as Shimura Takashi (IKIRU) and Mori Masayuki (Mizoguchi’s UGETSU).

The noh play is named for one of the barriers the men have to cross—those barriers were real border checkpoints. The presumed author of the original Noh play is Nobumitsu, the seventh son of Zeami’s nephew Onnami. Kurosawa loved the noh theatre and also used it to extraordinary effect in his later film (with the odd English title) Throne of Blood (literally “The Spiderweb’s Castle,” Kumo no sū jo, 1957  ).

The Kabuki play Kanjinchō is a very popular play, even today. According to (my professor) Jim Brandon’s last book Kabuki’s Forgotten War, not only was Kanjinchō extremely popular in the Edo/Tokugawa period of the 17th—mid-19th century, the play was produced 43 times in the wartime years between 1931 and 1945 (That comes to about 3x per year).

So the story is both Noh and kabuki, with its jo-ha-kyu pattern (slow-medium-fast pacing). You’ll see the restricted, stage-like setting of Noh. This works to heighten the dramatic effect. At times, however, you’ll catch a sense of expressive and rapid movement back and forth across the set, as on a kabuki stge. Some of this also reflects the very low budget and small amount of film stock common to much wartime filming.

There is also an exceptional kyōgen aspect to the film. This is because of Kurosawa’s decision to include a comic porter not found in the plays. That role is performed by the great comedian ENOMOTO Kenichi, commonly known as “Enoken.” Think about him in relation to the audience, to us. One clue is in the final tobi-roppo—usually reserved for the great warrior Benkei down the hanamichi (passageway through the audience) in the kabuki play. Film historian Donald Richie wrote that adding Enoken to this story was “like adding Jerry Lewis to a Shakespearean play.” The comic porter role also helped Kurosawa subvert the nationalistic goals of the military authorities who had encouraged him to make the film.

We can also think of this comic porter as a trickster, a “lord of the in-between.” In The Men who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail, we also have the trickster monks, but Kurosawa’s use of that theme reached its grandest moment in Yojimbo (1961) where a clever penniless samurai (rōnin) tries to clean up a decadent town. That film was remade as A Fistful of Dollars starring Clint Eastwood, in a setting more like old San Antonio.

Finally, please notice Kurosawa’s updating of this historical tale with a contemporary cinematic approach. Note the use of wipes and of specific camera angles that reveal who is really noble among this motley group of men. Also you will see Kurosawa’s penchant for 3-part stepped editing from long-shot to medium-close to close-up.

LATE SPRING (Banshun, 1949) introduction:
So what is Ozu’s cinematic world like? Very understated. there are no fancy transitions, no special effects, no evocative music—no,no,no. In fact, the Chinese character he chose for his gravestone is “mu, “or nothingness (a Buddhist concept suggesting, paradoxically, “fullness.”) As Japanese writer KAWABATA Yasunari wrote in his Nobel Prize speech, the Zen sense of nothingness is really “a universe of the spirit in which everything communicates freely with everything, transcending bounds.”

Then again, Ozu’s films are not to be confused with the natural, because they are really highly choreographed and precise. The actors were told where they must sit in relation to the lines at the edges of the tatami mats, how to gesture, where their eyes should focus.

Late_springOzu’s films are full of patterns, symmetries, parallels, cycles and repeated motifs—something film scholar David Bordwell illustrated brilliantly in his book Ozu and the Poetics of Cinema. These might be repetitions of seemingly simple objects (trains running along tracks, laundry hanging from a line), or repetitions of larger structural themes. Ozu also liked to play with his patterns, sometimes tricking us when we expect a certain connection and then giving us something else. Film Scholar Kirsten Thompson wrote: “Ozu’s playfulness is precise but it is also unpredictable.”

As Bordwell wrote: “When a single event finds a spot within all these structures, it gains an enormous narrative richness.” Another writer, Paul Coates, even compared Ozu’s geometric compositions to paintings by Mondrian or by the great Italian painter of still lifes, Morandi.

Here’s a paradox of Ozu’s cinema—you strip down the stories, the action, the camera movement to its bare minimum, and what is left is something so recognizable that it doesn’t matter that the characters are speaking another language and live in another country. Then again, the films also reflect very specific times in modern Japanese history. In the case of LATE SPRING, the setting is post-WWII Japan when the memories of the hardships of wartime were still vivid.

A young director who served as an assistant director to Ozu, and rebelled against him, was Yoshida Yoshishige (aka Yoshida Kiju). Yoshida went on to make his own highly experimental films but, as an older man, re-evaluated his earlier appraisal of Ozu and has written a fascinating book, of short, succinct passages, entitled Ozu’s Anti-Cinema, beautifully translated by Daisuke Miyao and Kyoko Hirano.

In this revisiting of Ozu’s work, Yoshida wrote:

“Viewers do not look at Ozu’s films, but vice versa. In this sense, Ozu-san’s films seem to deny their own existence…Ozu’-san’s films are about looking at humans from the point of view of objects.” To elaborate on the last sentence—it doesn’t mean objectifying the people, but rather how the objects themselves seem to play a role as characters. Ozu leaves us with rooms left empty and quiet, after their owners have departed, rooms that seem to have lives of their own.

Another Japanese film historian, Satō Tadao, earlier wrote a similar estimation of Ozu’s work when he said that “the characters in Ozu’s films always act as if they were aware they were being watched…Yet even when people and the objects around them barely move, their inner beings go through incredible transformations in pursuit of harmony”

The Noh play seen in the film–we believe it is Kakitsubata (The Water Iris), a third category/woman play, based on an episode in the Heian-period classic The Tale of Ise (Ise monogatari). The play is attributed to Zeami although more recently to Komparu Zenchiku. The title refers to how the water iris blooms in mid to late spring. Kakitsubata recounts the time when the Heian-period poet Ariwara no Narihira (a frequent love interest) visited Yatsuhashi. He composes a poem about irises he sees there. The figure of the young woman we’ll see in the play-within-a-play is the spirit of those irises.

But the actual Noh play is never identified in the film, and most Japanese viewers wouldn’t recognize it. What is astonishing is how long the sequence is, and what happens near the end. According to one scholar, this play is “a tribute to the union of man and woman, leading to enlightenment.”

Well, this has been a lot to say about someone who described himself as nothing more than a “tofu maker.”

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Girl in the Grave Mound

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: Ms. Kagan-Dubroff recently performed the kokata role in the English-language adaptation of Sumidagawa “Sumida River,” in South Texas. The kokata (子方) role in the play is a depiction of the Spirit of a Dead Boy. During almost all of the performance she is hidden from view of the audience within the tsukurimono (作り物, in this case; a grave mound.) During the South Texas 2015 performance tour, we asked her “Just what is it that you’re doing in there that whole time?” Below is her response. Ms. Kagan-Dubroff is 10 years old.]

Contributed by Miriam Kagan-Dubroff

When the little girl is sitting in the grave mound, what does she do? That is the question I know you’re asking and I’m here to answer it. I try to do all the things I can to amuse myself . The first thing I do is find a position in which I think I will be comfortable for _DSC0273most of the play. Then I try to amuse myself by shadow puppets and looking for shapes in the fabric covering the grave. Sometimes if I’m a bit sleepy , I close my eyes and listen to the Ji sing. [The “ji” is the chorus.]

Once I come out I see people starting to whisper to each other. I can’t help but wonder what they’re saying. I try so hard not to smile. I bet you’re wondering how I keep a straight face. I’ll admit, it isn’t easy. But the trick is to think of something scary or sad. I think of the most horrible nightmare I ever had. If that doesn’t work I think of my role in the play. I imagine I’m actually a dead boy that would never be able to live again. When I look at the mask Kinue [大島衣恵, Oshima Kinue, the shite actor] is wearing, I see the mother’s face and it looks so sad. That wipes the smile right off my face. I have performed this play once before at Zen Mountain Monastery and really enjoyed it. I’m so exited to be in Sumida River again.

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羽衣: くせ

The kuse section from the August 2, 2014 performance of Hagoromo [羽衣] from the 20th Anniversary season of the Noh Training Project. Featuring participants of the Noh Training Project, and members of Theatre Nohgaku.

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