What is noh? And how is a new noh in traditional style conceived from 'page to stage'?
‘Noh’ is classical Japanese masked theatre which combines elements of dance, drama, music and poetic text into a highly aesthetic form of art that has been performed continuously for 650 years. Noh uses elaborate costumes and exquisitely carved wooden masks, such as those recently acquired at the Oriental Museum from master maskmaker Hideta Kitazawa.
This ‘What is noh?’ illustrated talk is designed to introduce audiences to the key elements of noh. It will be followed by a reading of a new noh, which is being prepared for performance, to give a close up and interactive experience of how a new noh is developed ‘from page to stage’.
David Hughes (Research Associate of the Department of Music and the Japan Research Centre) will begin the introduction to noh and will also engage the audience in experiencing some of the musical qualities of noh, together with Gina Barnes. Jannette Cheong, author of ‘Between the Stones’, a new two-act English language noh drama, will share her experience of noh, how she has worked with Japanese noh artists, including Hideta Kitazawa, and introduce the new project and how a new noh is developed from the poetic text in preparation for a stage production. Finally, Jannette, David, Gina and Henrietta Heald will, together, undertake a reading of the new noh play ‘Between the Stones’.
This new noh brings together three iconic Japanese cultural forms (noh, including masks carved by Hideta Kitazawa, karesansui gardens and furin wind chimes). The piece explores how the burden of grief turns into an understanding and celebration of life and death, friendship, beauty and love; as well as the transformative power of gardens to nurture and heal the soul…
‘Between the Stones’ is the third noh performing arts collaboration between Jannette Cheong and composer Richard Emmert, which began with the acclaimed success of Pagoda (European Tour - London, Dublin, Oxford, Paris 2009, Asia Tour- Tokyo, Kyoto, Beijing, Hong Kong 2011) and Opposites-InVerse (London 2017).
FREE OF CHARGE, NO BOOKING REQUIRED
This event is part of our new exhibition The Emperor’s New Clothes: Transforming 19th Century Japan, on until 9 September 2018
About the author and composer of Between the Stones:
Jannette Cheong is a poet, writer, designer, curator and artist affiliated with Theatre Nohgaku. Born in London, Jannette has worked nationally and internationally in higher education. She has organised many successful international education and creative arts collaborations for 25 years.
Richard Emmert is a professor of Asian performance at Musashino University inTokyo. He has studied, taught and performed classical noh drama in Japan since1973 and is a certified Kita school noh instructor.
At the end of the event there will be an opportunity for questions and answers.