January 26, 2010
Lecturer in Fine Arts Matt Dubroff of the Hampden-Sydney Theatre Department toured with Theatre Nohgaku over the Winter Break. (Dubroff is pictured at right in production at Hampden-Sydney in 2006.)
The Oshima Noh Theatre of Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan, and Theatre Nohgaku, based in Tokyo and New York, collaborated for the first time in a joint production of classical and contemporary Noh Theatre
from December 2 to 10, 2009, in London, Dublin, Oxford, and Paris. This was a rare and unique international production featuring an extract from the 15th century classical warrior play Kiyotsune and the world premiere of Pagoda, a new English-language Noh play written by Jannette Cheong with music and direction by Richard Emmert. This was the first time for a strictly English-language Noh play to be written by a British playwright as a fully realized Noh performance. The production also included “Getting to Noh”: a program of public workshops, lectures and educational activities to introduce the history, structure, dance, music, costumes, and masks of Noh.
This international project brought together many skills and talents from Europe, Japan, and the USA. Twenty-six people participated in the tour including the writer, the mask-maker, and the artist who created the Pine Tree scroll paintings.
The Oshima Noh Theatre is part of the Kita school, one of the five main-actor Noh schools. It features members of the Oshima family, four of whom participated in the tour - both production and performance.
Theatre Nohgaku is an international company comprised of Japan and North American based members. Its mission is to create and present English-language plays in traditional Noh style complete with hayashi musicians, masks, costumes, and stage sets. Led by Artistic Director, Richard Emmert, it serves as a unique cultural and artistic intermediary between Japan and the English-speaking world.