Noh Reimagined 2018 shed light on the unique dramaturgy of Mugen Noh, in which the main actor (shite) appears as a ghost in the dream of a travelling monk performed by the supporting actor (waki). The ghost then tells the tragic story of its past life, expressing regret and lamentations, hoping to find peace. The highlight of the Sublime Illusion of Mugen Noh included the followings;
– The eternal masterpiece of Mugen Noh, “Izutsu (The Well Cradle)”, written by Noh playwright and actor Zeami(1363–1443), performed by top six Noh performers from Japan.
– Noh + Neuroscience: Glimpsing the Invisible:Professor Semir Zeki, a pioneer of neuroaesthetics, talked about the objectivity of subjective states. When a white object is set against a white background and illuminated with projections, for example, we see coloured shadows that are not really there. Zeki demonstrated the power of the mind to conjure these coloured shadows, working in collaboration with Noh performers, so audiences will experience reality and illusion at the same time.
Professor Atsushi Iriki of the Riken Institute in Japan will present his research into the notion of Riken-no-ken, a concept from a text by the Noh master Zeami, which refers to the ability of Noh actors to separate themselves from their bodies and their performances in order to judge their technique objectively.
– Clod Ensemble, the London based multi-award winning performance company, presented the ambitious commissioned work “The Snow” , a new piece inspired by the restless female spirits and demonic figures of Noh theatre.
– “Echoes and Callings”; A photo performance artist Wiebke Leister and sound artist David Toop worked with improvised sound and photographs of life-casts and death-masks to express the out-of-body experience of Hannya (a Noh mask representing a jealous female demon).
In “Space in Between”, Leon Michener, the architect of the Klavikon system, sculpted the feedback he creates by amplifying a piano’s soundboard, then using the space between the piano and the audience. Two as an ascetic counterpoint to the music created by two Noh performers.
The arts and science installation “Phenotypica” an initiative created by multi-award winning artist Neus Torres Tamarit and computer scientist Ben Murray was installed in the Kings Place flyer space. They exhibited the installations and sculptures of their Biomorpha (Evolving Structures) project and a site-specific installation called Confined Mutations at Kings Place.
In the seminar Noh Mask, Noh Movement: Illusory Devices,Professor Reiko Yamanaka, and Professor Keizo Miyamototwo from the Noh Theatre Research Institute of Hosei University unveiled the secrets of Noh movement through narrative and scientific analyses, discussing how Noh masks represent the spirits of ghost, deities and demons.
- Fri 29 June – Sublime Illusions Programme
- Fri 30 June – Transformative Power of Noh Programme
- “Into the Dream Time” : Interview with Akiko Yanagisawa, Kings Place What’s On magazine, January 2018
Top Noh performers from Japan worked with innovative British artists and neuroscientists in genre-defying collaborations to examine the surreal artistic elements of Noh. The festival explored time, space and symbolism in Noh theatre through interdisciplinary performances, workshops and talks.
Noh Reimagined 2018 connected the sublime illusions and transformative power of Noh’s 650-year-old tradition with the creative energy of contemporary arts and culture, posing new questions about who we are.
Noh Reimagined 2018, Madrid
Performances by leading Noh performers also took place at Teatro Salón Cervantes Escenarios Clásicos en Alcalá, Madrid, Spain on Wednesday 4th July 2018.
- 4 July – Teatro Noh: Izutsu, Shakkyo y Otras Piezas Programme (Spanish)
- Noh Reimagined Madrid listing information (Spanish)
Festival Organisers and Partners
Curated and produced by mu:arts and International Noh Project Committee, Tokyo in partnership with Kings Place, Japan Foundation and the Noh Theatre Research Institute, Hosei University.
Sponsored and supported by
Arts Council England, Arts Council Tokyo, The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and Yakult.