The courtly art of Noh theatre has remained largely unchanged since it was formalized in the 14th century, but in last century artists and writers have been inspired by the minimal and poetic nature of the medium to create modern versions. This weekend at ACT Theatre, new and old come together in a double bill: a classic Noh play called Tomoe and a new opera inspired it. Tomoe will be performed by the Takeda Troupe, led by one of Japan’s leading young Noh performers, Munenori Takeda. Tomoe is based on part of the 12th century epic The Tale of the Heike. The eponymous Tomoe Gozen was a samurai warrior not allowed to die on the battlefield with her master, Yoshinaka.
YOSHINAKA is the title of the new opera by Garrett Fisher and performed by the Fisher Ensemble. Fisher is not new to examining complex, bellicose female figures (as in his 2013 Magda G), nor is he new to fusing multi-cultural music and stories (as in 2011’s Kocho), and he does so in a distinctly modern, often minimal way that still honors the essence of its source material. You can see a bit of Kocho below.
The program is a multinational collaboration, supported in part by the Consulate General General of Japan in Seattle and the Japanese Garden Advisory Council. The performance is in Japanese with English supertitles.
The Beauty of Noh: Tomoe and YOSHINAKA
When: Friday, September 26, 7 PM; Saturday, September 27 2 PM and 7 PM; Sunday, September 28 2 PM
Where: ACT Theatre (700 Union St, Seattle, WA 98101)
Ticket Price: $35. Purchase tickets on the ACT Theatre Web site.