Poetic shadow puppet theatre based on“The Earthgod and the Fox”by Japanese poet and novelist Kenji Miayzawa.
Kenji Miyazawa (1896-1933) was poet and author of children’s books during the late Taisho era in Japan. He died in 1933 of pneumonia, almost unknown, but later he has transcended the generations to become one of Japan's most read and best loved authors.
This production was made during New York City closure caused by Corona Virus. Regular rehearsals were not possible and all artists collaborated remotely.
Brother Ken-A Night of Tanabata
At Brother Diner, on the hot summer night of Tanabata, while people enjoy eating crushed ice with sweet syrup, something unusual happens…
Tanabata is the star festival in Japan. This is also a celebration of a love story between Vega and Altair, who are separated by The Milky Way. The lovers only meet once a year, on July 7th, the Night of Tanabata. People celebrate their rendezvous by displaying bamboo branches with strips of paper and ornaments. Wishes are written on these strips of paper, because on the night of Tanabata these wishes come true.
“Brother Ken (meaning Brother Diner), is one of the songs sung by Wataru Takada, a unique voice in the Japanese folk song movement of the 1970s. He was influenced by American folk songs and protest movements. The lyrics are by Katumi Sugawara.
Music in the Wood.
The original story, “Musical Tree," was written by Luige Dal Cin, an Italian environmentalist/fairytale writer….. Long, long ago there was a hill where fairies lived. They played enchanted music with animals and other living things. After the fairies were gone, the tree grew and sang the music of the fairies when the wind blew. Time passed, and a city grew around the tree. The people found about the tree’s music, and gathered around it to enjoy its song. But this didn’t continue for so long. The selfishness of the people eventually led to a tragic ending...
Poetic fantasy based on Japanese folktale “The Crane Wife” with dance, live music and shadow puppetry.
Gorsch the Cellist/Illumination
The story based on a novel by Kenji Miyazawa.
A struggling cellist finds a way to understand and feel the music thanks to his interactions with animals, who visit him at night.
The Curious Case of the Sidewalk Tree.
A captivating story of a tree in love with a woman...
John Man:On the Waves.
A story inspired by the biography of John Manjiro (1827-1898), the first Japanese person to step foot on America soil. When Manjiro was 14 years-old, his fishing boat was wrecked, and he was rescued by an American whaling ship.
Theatrical reflection on the life and work of the father of Japanese photography, Hikoma Ueno (1838-1904), written and directed by Watoku Ueno. The piece is conceived as an East-West story, chronicling how Japanese learned photography from European travelers and scientists, and taking the audience on a trip from the beginnings of photography to the paths exploring endless possibilities and unwritten stories hidden behind a "frozen" image. It features original Japanese costumes, old photographs, and folk songs superimposed with breathtaking images, dance, and puppets. The interdisciplinary play uses elements of theater, music and dance to portray Japan in one of its most turbulent times of transition, from the Edo period to the Meiji period, when Western ideas clashed, filtered or were integrated into the Japanese tradition. It portrays Hikoma Ueno as a chemist possessed by photography, who refined a formula for developing a picture (wet plate) as part of his search for a perfect artistic expression.
After the Rain
An original theatre piece based on short stories written by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Japan’s best short story writer and most profound novelist of the Taisho period. During his short life (1892-1927, he committed suicide at the age of 35) Akutagawa wrote more than 150 short stories. His story “Rashomon” was the basis of Akira Kurosawa’s renowned film in 1950. “After the Rain” created, directed and designed by Watoku Ueno as a theatrical collage of Akutagawa’s short stories. It features original Japanese costumes, and folk songs as well as contemporary live music and projection images, dance and shadow puppets.