Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, communications assistant; tele: (413) 597-4277; email: [email protected]
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., March 3, 2017—Theatre Nohgaku will offer a lecture demonstration, titled “Be Here Now: a Primer on Watching and Enjoying Noh” on Thursday, March 9, at 2 p.m. at the ’62 Center CenterStage at Williams College. It is free and open to the public and no tickets required.
Theatre Nohgaku will present a Noh performance of “Blue Moon over Memphis” at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 11, at the ‘62 Center CenterStage, which is also free and open to the public but tickets are required. (The Saturday performance is currently sold out but tickets will be released 10 minutes prior to start time.) This performance is dedicated to those lost and still recovering from March 11, 2011 Tôhoku Earthquake and Tsunami, on its sixth anniversary.
This Noh production is a “meditation on the relationship between celebrity and humanity” in the context of Elvis Presley’s life, using poetic language and musical score to “leave us in stunned silence, inviting us to look past the pervasive cynicism of our age to perceive a new, humane way of thinking about one of twentieth-century America’s most unforgettable figures.” Created and performed in the Japanese Noh performance style, this piece will bring together dance, music and song in “an interweaving of abstract aesthetic expression designed to evoke emotion. The stories…rely on the commonalities of human experience for their power.” Noh has been a prominent style of performance and storytelling in Japan since the 1400s and is often described as “poetry in motion.”
Written by American playwright Deborah Brevoort in 1993, “Blue Moon Over Memphis” was created in the traditional Noh structure intended to be performed by Western actors. Richard Emmert worked with Brevoort to adapt the play and musical composition for a full Noh style performance by Theatre Nohgaku. Theatre Nohgaku was founded with a conviction that Noh transcends time due to its enduring ability to speak to the human condition, and throughout the stories of the plays and the structure of the music, these productions “reach out us and rewards viewers with a strong emotional connection.” Brevoort is a New York based playwright, musical theatre lyricist, and co-founder of “Theatre Without Borders.” Emmert is founder and artistic director of Theatre Nohgaku and a certified Noh instructor. The masks for this production were designed by Hideta Kitazawa and the Shite Kata (in charge of the song and dance in Noh performance) is John Oglevee, who is also a founding member of Theatre Nohgaku.
The lecture demonstration and performance are sponsored by the Japanese Program Tompkins Fund, the Department of Asian Studies, the Lecture Committee, the Oakley Center for Humanities and Social Science, Comparative Literature, the Department of Theater, the Department of Dance, American Studies, Global Studies, and the Center for Foreign Language, Literatures, and Cultures. This project has also received support from the Japan Foundation New York.
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