Kei’un-kai, INI Gala Recital 2013 *full programme*

June 29~30 (Saturday and Sunday), 2013

Kongo Nohgakudo, Karasuma Ichijo-sagaru, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto 602-0912
Tel: 075 -441-7222

Please join us at the Kongo Nohgakudo for an opportunity to experience Noh in a variety of forms: shimai, dance excerpts; Maibayashi, dance excerpts with the accompaniment of the Noh ensemble of instruments as well as the chorus; Rengin, concert style performance of a Noh excerpt performed by students in formal kimono and hakama; and 3 fully costumed Noh performances each day.

• Descriptions of the content of each piece will be available in programs provided in English, French, German and Italian.
• The recital is free of charge and open to all. We look forward to seeing you at the Nohgakudo.

Day I Featuring International Noh Institute Students

June 29th (Saturday)

(from about 11.00am)

仕舞 Shimai dance excerpts in formal wear performed to the accompaniment of a small chorus.

舞囃子 Maibayashi excerpt to the accompaniment of the Noh ensemble and chorus:
「胡 蝶」KOCHO ‘The Butterfly’ shite: Cristina Picelli.

Bangai-Shimai Dances by professional Noh performers (UDAKA Tatsushige and UDAKA Norishige):
「加 茂」KAMO
「玉之段」TAMA-NO-DAN

(from about 12:00, noon)
Noh:『清経』KIYOTSUNE Shite: Diego Pellecchia Tsure: Monique Arnaud.

(about 1:20 p.m.)
Rengin concert-style recitation of an excerpt from a Noh.

Bangai-Shimai (performed by UDAKA Michishige):
「鉄 輪」KANAWA

(from about 2:00 p.m.)
Noh:『小鍛冶』 KOKAJI ‘The Swordsmith’ Shite: SOMYO Tadasuke

(from about 3:20 p.m.)
Shimai, dance excerpts

(from about 4:00 p.m.)
Noh: 『猩 々』SHOJO Shite: HIRASAWA Yumiko

Day II Featuring Keiun-kai Students

June 30th (Sunday)

Rengin concert-style recitation of an excerpt from a Noh

(from about 11:20 p.m.)
Shimai

(about 11:40 p.m.)
Noh: 『羽 衣・盤渉』HAGOROMO Banshiki ‘The Robe of Feathers’ Shite: ITOH Yuki

Maibayashi excerpt with the accompaniment of the Noh ensemble:
「融」TORU

(about 1:00 p.m.)
Shimai

Rengin concert style recitation of an excerpt from a Noh.

Bangai Shimai(performed by UDAKA Michishige):
「藤 戸」FUJITO

(from about 2:00 p.m.)
Noh: 『黒塚・白頭』KUROZUKA ‘The Black Mound’ Hakutoh Shite: KUROTAKE Sadato

(from about 3:10 p.m.)
Maibayashi excerpt with the accompaniment of the Noh ensemble:
「松 風」MATSUKAZE
Shimai

(from about 4:00 p.m.)
Noh: 『猩 々』SHOJO Shite: NAGAO Atsushi

*Feel free to come and go quietly as you please during the recital.
*Be sure your cell phone is set on silent or manner mode.
*You may take pictures, but the use of flash is strictly prohibited.
*Please enjoy the tea and sweets provided.

Kyoto Takigi Noh 2013: Oe-yama

KYOTO TAKIGI NOH

(Fire-lit performance)

Heian-jingu Shrine, Kyoto

1, 2 JUNE 2013

I strongly recommend those in Japan on June 1, 2 to come and attend the Heian Jingu Takigi Noh fire-lit performances in Kyoto. It is a unique chance to see full performances both by Kanze and Kongo master-actors, in the context of the evocative Heian-jingu shinto shrine. Performances begin at 5:30 (doors open at 4:30 and I  encourage you to come before this time –  seating is on a first come, first served basis) and end at around 8:45. Tickets are between 4,000 and 2,700 yen depending on the type. The INI International Noh Institute will have a stand with free information, translation and synopses in English – I will be there in person! ^_^ Do not hesitate to contact me if you are planning to come! See below for more info.

—- UPDATE :  advance tickets are now sold out!

2 JUNE 2013 Noh: OE-YAMA

Mae-shite: UDAKA Michishige

大江山 OE-YAMA

Synopsis (from P.G. O’Neill’s A Guide to Noh)

Yorimitsu and his companions, disguising themselves as yamabushi priests, set off at the command of the Emperor to find and kill a demon known as Shuten-doji. Guided to his dwelling on Oe-yama by a woman who has been captured and made to work for him, they beg a night’s lodging there. Shuten-doji is alarmed that his hiding-place is has been discovered, but because of a promise he has made never to lift his hand against priests, he feels bound to receive them hospitably. They drink together, but later that night when he has taken on his true form as a demon, he is surprised in his sleep and eventually killed by his enemies.

64-Takigi-noh_omote

64 Takigi-noh_ura

Thoughts and pictures from the Noh workshop at HUB Kyoto

On Sunday 21st April I led a Noh theatre workshop for foreigners at the HUB Kyoto, Kyohakuin. It’s been a wonderful experience and a great chance to meet foreigners who share an interest in Noh and who are willing to try their best with Noh utai chant and shimai dance. Kyohakuin is an ex-school featuring a Noh stage which was not used for several decades. Recently the kagami-ita backdrop pine tree has been restored by Kim Hea-Kyoung and Ichimiya Keiko, and the participants of this workshop as well as myself had the privilege of dancing the shimai Oimatsu (‘Aged Pine’) in front of the renovated pine tree for the first time.

Diego and Carol Begert – ‘arigato gozaimashita’

Teaching absolute beginners is a very instructing experience for the teacher, too. Teaching a full, albeit brief, dance to people who never even walked the suriashi sliding step is very challenging, yet I find fascinating how all participants identify dance elements differently and focus on various parts of the dance according to their own decoding tools and processes.

Photographer Stéphane Barbery joined us and took the awesome picture you see on this post. Stéphane has a long-term project on Japanese traditional arts, and has photographed a number of Noh professionals so far. You can check his work on his Flickr account here.

THANKS to Lucinda Cowing and Eri Suzuki of the HUB Kyoto for helping organise and promote the event: I very much enjoyed this workshop and I am looking forward to the next one!

Julien de Vries
Izumi Texidor
Diego Pellecchia
With Hea-Kyoung's ko-omote
With Hea-Kyoung’s ko-omote

Noh workshop at HUB Kyoto

On Sunday 21st April the INI International Noh Institute will hold a Noh workshop at the HUB Kyoto, Kyohakuin (see below for details & directions).

Noh Workshop info

NOH THEATRE WORKSHOP

INI Encounters with Noh Series

at HUB Kyoto

21 April, 14:00-17:15


Noh drama, Japanese traditional theatre of masks, music and abstract and mimetic movement, is the world’s oldest masked performance tradition. It has been performed uninterrupted for over six hundred years, and in 2001 was designated an Intangible World Heritage by UNESCO. Noh portrays a world where the boundaries of past, present, and future blur and our consciousness of memory, the moment, and anticipation of what is to come unite. In this singular environment, the spirits of elegant ladies and fierce warriors, gods and goddesses, flowering plants and demons appear and share nostalgic memories of their desires and attachments.

In the INI Encounters with Noh Workshop at HUB Kyoto, participants will learn the basic principles of Noh theatre in the tradition of the Kongō School. This includes basic meditation in preparation for training, physical/vocal warm up exercises, chant and dance movements through the study of a short dance excerpt.

No previous knowledge of Noh is required. The workshop will be conducted in English.

The workshop will be led by Dr. Diego Pellecchia, Noh scholar, student of Udaka Michishige, and active member of the International Noh Institute.

Students are kindly asked to bring comfortable clothes and socks (preferably white)

Participation fee: ¥5,000

Concessions (students): ¥2,500

Observation fee: ¥1000

This workshop is restricted to 10 places. Please book by e-mailing hubkyoto@gmail.com

About the INI – International Noh Institute

The International Noh Institute was founded in 1984 in response to the urging of foreigners studying with UDAKA Michishige as members of his student group and participants of intensive courses. Since then, UDAKA Michishige has taught students from various disciplines, including actors, dancers, psychologists and scholars, from thirteen countries through INI programs.

Access

HUB Kyoto, Kyohakuin, 682 Shokokuji monzen-mae,

Kamigoryomae-agaru, Karasuma-dori, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto

TEL: 075-417-0115

Nearest station: Kuramaguchi on the Karasuma Subway Line.

Walk 3 minutes south (towards Doshisha University, Imadegawa-dori) on the east side of Karasuma-dori. Kyohakuin is between a tobacco shop and koban police box.

“Gio” Kanze Kaikan, March 31st 2013

My teacher, Udaka Michishige was chosen by the Nihon Nōgakukai to perform the Noh Giō (祇王)at their annual “Noh appreciation event” on March 31st 2013. This year 3 performances will be held at the Kanzekaikan theatre in Kyoto: EmaGiō, and Kokaji.

Giō is a play by Zeami, currently in the repertoire of the Hōshō, Kongō, and Kita (under the title Futari Giō) schools, though it is not often performed. Giō Gozen, one of the favourite dancers at the service of Taira no Kiyomori has helped dancer Hotoke Gozen to gain the lord’s favour. After having seen Hotoke’s dance, Kiyomori likes her more, but she promises Giō not to take her place. Similarly to the play Futari ShizukaGiō has shite and tsure dancing in synchronous on stage.

See details below

3_31_GIO_o3_31GIO

Date and Time:   March 31, 2013 (Sunday)   11:00 a.m. ~16:30 p.m. (doors open at 10:30 a.m.)
Venue:   Kanze Kaikan
Tickets:  general admission 5,000 Yen (first floor)  student 2,500 Yen (balcony)

A  Program of Noh, Shimai dance excerpts, Kyogen, and Itcho, drum and chant duet

11:00 a.m. NOH featuring the  Kanze School: EMA

13:30 p.m.  NOH featuring the Kongo School: GIO   Shite: UDAKA Michishige 

Kyogen featuring the Okura School:  NIO

15:20 p.m. NOH Featuring the Kanze School: KOKAJI Kurogashira

 The Udaka Michishige-no-kai Office
(For questions or reservations.)
TEL: +81 (075) 701-1055
FAX :+81 (075) 701-1058
Email: ogamo-tr@mbox.kyoto-inet.or.jp

Ageing Noh

Today I went to the Kanze Nogakudo to see the last Urata Teiki Noh. Today’s programme featured the rare Morihisa,  and Hagoromo. There is a lot to say about the two performances I saw, but in this post I will talk about another aspect of today’s experience. Something that I am afraid contributed to an at least partially negative reception of the performance.

I’m not going to write an essay here, I will just copy here some thoughts that I jotted down during the play.

Today's average age of the audience: 70 years. There's all kinds of good reasons for this. Will write about them next time.
Issues resulting from the increasing age of the Noh audience:
  • Bad smell in the theatre. Most of it comes from cheap/old fashioned hair spray.
  • Huge queue at the toilet during the break.
  • Amateurs who bring their utaibon and take the Nogakudo for a Noh sing-along karaoke kind of place.
  • Grannies sucking on candies, usually taking ages to unwrap them from a very noisy plastic wrapping.
  • Bad hearing makes people shout instead of whisper.
No wonder young people don't want to go to the Noh theatre. If I took a friend today I'm sure he/she would have never wanted to come back to what seems to be a retirement house... AGE IS AN ISSUE!

This post is ironic but the matter is serious. Will expand it in a more academic fashion some other time.

Snow

A bit of a random post.

Cycling in the snow this morning reminded me of Mishima’s Spring Snow which I am reading these days. In one of the salient passages of the book, set in the Taisho period (1912-1926), the protagonists Kiyoaki and Satoko take a rickshaw ride on a snowy morning in Tokyo. Covered with various layers of technologic fibre from top to bottom, and still shivering while waiting for the green light at the bicycle crossing, I imagined Kiyoaki and Satoko riding the rickshaw, him dressed in his school uniform, her in a winter kimono and coat, with only a blanket on their knees as additional warming device. In this scene the two exchange their first kiss, as frosty hands move underneath the blanket. With this kind of temperature it would be the last thing I want.

Then I realised that people can stand different temperatures according to the environment in which they grew up. Japanese students today still wear shorts in winter, and some girls still wear a skirt and short socks. British people would go out in their t-shirt on a sunny but cold february day. Not to mention what girls would wear on the same night out.

Okina - Kongo Hisanori (Yasaka-jinja, Kyoto)
Okina – Kongo Hisanori (Yasaka-jinja, Kyoto)

Two years ago I attended the performance of Okina performed by the Iemoto Kongo Hisanori at Yasaka-jinja in Kyoto. I think it was January 3rd and I was observing chorus members sitting in the back of the outdoor stage, dressed in traditional clothes… and I was wondering how many Uniqlo heat-tech  garments or kairo heating patches they were actually wearing.

The 14th UDAKA Michishige Men-no-Kai Mask Exhibition

‘Warriors and Women of the Heike Clan’

is the theme of this year’s UDAKA Michishige Men-no-Kai Noh mask exhibition. The 14th edition of the exhibition will feature works of Master-Actor UDAKA Michishige, possibly the only Noh actor who is also a professional mask carver, as well as several masks carved by his students. the exhibition will open tomorrow Tuesday 27th November and close on Thursday 28th November. Wednesday at 13:30 it will be possible to attend a talk by UDAKA Michishige and a Noh costuming demonstration. See below for more details and access information.

UDAKA Michishige’s work as Noh mask carver has been collected in various picture books, among which The Secrets of Noh Masks published by Kodansha International.

Noh: Michimori. Mask: Chujo, by UDAKA Michishige. Photograph by HARADA Shichikan

The 14th UDAKA Michishige Men-no-Kai Mask Exhibition

At the Kyoto Prefectural Center for Arts and Culture 2nd Floor
Kawaramachi Hironokoji-sagaru, Kamigyo-ku (across from the Prefectural Hospital)
10:00 a.m.~6:00 p.m. (5:30 p.m. on the 28th)
28th (Wednesday)1:30 p.m. Talk and Costuming Demonstration by UDAKA Michishige

Access information (in Japanese) http://www.bungei.jp/map/access.html

 

Notes on MANABU 2012

An image from ‘Ikkyū’, by Sakaguchi Hisashi (Kodansha)

On October 23 2012 the twelfth edition of MANABU, a seminar for Italian researchers hosted by the ISEAS (Italian School of East Asian Studies) took place. The event, which I had the pleasure to organise, was hold in Italian so here are some notes in English for those who could not attend. The meeting brought together scholars from various research fields: Matteo Casari (Bologna) is an anthropologist, Katja Centonze (Tokyo) specialises in contemporary dance/performance, Monique Arnaud (Venice) is a Noh instructor and theatre director, and myself. Silvio Vita, director of ISEAS, has been a wonderful host, facilitating the discussion and organising post-meeting events.

Matteo Casari (University of Bologna) introduced the topic of Noh and Manga, looking at Noh-inspired manga such as Hana yori mo hana no gotoku and Ikkyū (which, I learnt, is surprisingly translated in Italian) and to manga-inspired Noh, such as Umewaka Rokurō’s Kurenai Tennyo. Katja Centonze described the work of dancer/musician/choreographer Alessio Silvestrin and his collaboration with Noh practitioner Tsumura Reijirō, presenting clips of Kakekotoba, Monique Arnaud talked about her directing work in Venice, showing  clips of her most recent production Silent Moving, taking place in the interiors of the magnificent Palazzo Ducale, Venice, implementing techniques borrowed from Japanese traditions such as bunraku in a modern ‘Theatre du Complicite’ style. My presentation introduced the issue of limiting the study of Noh to Japanese literature departments. I suggested that, in order to prevent Noh to become a museum piece, it should be also studied as performance in theatre departments, just like Shakespeare or Aeschylus are.

After the conference we went to my teacher, Udaka Michishige’s okeikoba in order to observe the training session. Since Arnaud and I are both students of Udaka-sensei, we were called on stage for our okeiko. This was not my intention as I thought we would go with the purpose of introducing our guests, but it is difficult to say ‘no’ to your teacher…

We enjoyed the day, especially the rare chance to discuss with members from different backgrounds, and we concluded the day agreeing on the intention of creating another similar event (in English) in the not-so-far future.