News Release:

Noh, Kyogen and Buyo presented in Torrance 01/20/02

The World of Noh Kyogen and Buyo

The Japanese Traditional Performing Arts Organization presents “the World of Noh, Kyogen and Buyo” a special performance on January 20, 2002, 3 P.M. at the James Armstrong Theater in Torrance.

This special program is design to introduce and promote the appreciation of Noh and Kyogen, the two oldest genres of Japanese drama, and to commemorate the inaugural designation by UNESCO this year of Nohgaku(Noh and Kyogen) as “Masterpieces of Intangible Heritage of Humanity.”

Noh was adopted as formal entertainment for shogun and aristocrats during Japan’s Muromachi period(1336-1568) and developed into highly refined and richly symbolic art form. It is widely acknowledged for its powerful and elegant syntheses of music, dance, drama and poetry, often carrying deep philosophical overtones. Kyogen developed as a type of comic interlude between the two part of more serious Noh plays ( the name itself means “humorous word”). By contrast with the texts of Noh, the language of Kyogen, while stylized, is easily understandable by contemporary Japanese audiences, and simple, humorous situation of typical Kyogen plots aided by element of pantomime or exaggerated, even outlandish gesture and movements, have ready appeal for any audience.

Special guest performers form Japan, Anshin Uchida, a master artist of the Kita School of Noh who is designated as National Intangible Cultural Asset and his son are joined by Beikoku Kita-kai ( a Los Angeles based association of Kita Noh students) for this performance. They will present both a Lecture -Demonstration and culminating scenes from the play, Tsuchigumo ( Spider Man). Among the more spectacular plays in the repertoire of Noh, this play gives account of the battle between a spider sprit, in the guise of priest, and a warrior who attempts to avoid becoming ensnared in the cascade of web thrown out by his clever opponent. The casting of the web is dramatically depicted with intricate system of thin paper tapes (an ingenious theatrical property that was later copied by Kabuki and even by directors of the west)

Theatre of Yugen, the only Kyogen group in the United States, was established in 1978 by Yuriko Doi Walker. Ms. Doi Walker has studied in japan under the esteemed teachers Mansaku Nomura and Shiro Nomura. Under her direction, Theatre of Yugen is based in San Francisco and has performed extensively in the Bay Area. Three members of the group Yuriko Doi Walker, Mikio Hirai and Libby Zilber will present the Kyogen comedy of Kazumo(Sumo Wrestling with a Mosquito).

Buyo, a form of classical japanese dance, is an essential aspect of the Kabuki theater with much of its repertoire originating in the more ancient performing tradition of Noh and Kyogen. Los Angles based master artists, madame Hisami Wakayagi and Hisame Wakayagi will present the Sanbaso Dance. it is customary to perform this ritual dance of Nohgaku performance to cleans and purify the stage. Such performance is usually presented by the Kyogen actor.

This program is made possible by funding from the Fund for Folk Culture, the California Arts Council and the Japan Foundation Los Angeles office.
Tickets are available at the James Armstrong Theater Box office for $20.00, students and senior discounts are $16.00. Charge-by-phone purchase may be made daily from 10 am to 8 pm at the box office, telephone: 9310) 378-7171.

The theater is located in the Torrance Cultural Arts Center on Madrona off Torrance Blvd at 3330 Civic Center drive, Torrance 90503. Parking is free. For further information, please contact japanese Traditional Performing Arts Organization.

For more information on this event, or to learn more about the JTPAO, please e-mail us at mikko@jtpao.org