- Kennedy Theatre
- News + Events
April 23-May 2, 2021
FRI/SAT at 7:30pm
SUN at 2pm
Department of Theatre + Dance
College of Arts, Languages & Literature
University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
-Mango Yamabushi: Shigeyama Sennojō III & Julie A. Iezzi
-Mask Confusion: Julie A. Iezzi
——Commedia dell’Arte Consultant: Joan Schirle, Founding Artistic Director, Dell’Arte International
-Great Great Grandma Reitzel: Julie A. Iezzi
-Earthbound: Maggie Ivanova*
-MushZooms 2.0: Jane Traynor
Production Stage Manager: Ethan Castillo
-Mango Yamabushi: Ethan Castillo and Jane Traynor
-Mask Confusion: Jane Traynor, Maggie Ivanova, Ethan Castillo, and Julie A. Iezzi
-Great Great Grandma Reitzel: Julie A. Iezzi
-Earthbound: Maggie Ivanova and Ethan Castillo
-MushZooms 2.0: Ethan Castillo
Play Translation, Adaptation and Creation
-Mango Yamabushi: Translated and Adapted by Jane Traynor
-Mask Confusion: Created by Catherine Ann Restivo and developed with the Director and Cast
-Great Great Grandma Reitzel: Developed by Selena Doran and Julie A. Iezzi
-Earthbound: Created by Iana Weingard, Jake C. Wolf, Chrisslene Jimerson, and Maggie Ivanova; with input from the Cast
-MushZooms 2.0: Adapted by Jane Traynor, with input from Shigeyama Sennojō III and the THEA 490 Class
Lighting Design: Brian Shevelenko
Lighting Assistants: Isabella Dixon, Claire Trevizo
Streaming Managers: Claire Trevizo and Rebecca Mahar
Digital Design and Properties: Laura Nigon-Holmgren*
Faculty Design Consultants: Michelle A. Bisbee, Maile Speetjens
Assistants in Digital Rendering and Properties: Michelle A. Bisbee, Jonah Bobilin, Ethan Castillo, Kara Nabarrete, Danielle Tuscher
-Mango Yamabushi: Isabella Dixon
-Mask Confusion: Maile Speetjens
——Masks created by Catherine Ann Restivo
-Great Great Grandmother Reitzel: Maile Speetjens
-Earthbound: Hannah Schauer Galli
-MushZooms 2.0: Isabella Dixon
Costume Construction Crew: Christopher Apina, Hannah Archer, Jesse Höyhtyä, Jade Young
Music in Earthbound: Christopher Molina, PhD Candidate, Music Composition
Video Design and Editing:
-Pre-show Video Editing: Rui Yao Li and Jane Traynor
-Interlude Video Editing: Rui Yao Li and Iana Weingrad
-Post-Production Engineer: Brian Shevelenko
-Translation of Tachiubai: Julie A. Iezzi
-Captioning for Tachiubai: Jane Traynor
-Closed Captions & Digital Playbill: Janet Breckenridge, Stephanie Harasim, Christine Lamborn
Master – Maruishi Yasushi
Tarō Kaja – Shigeyama Akira
Passerby – Shigeyama Sennojō III
Kōken (stage assistant) – Suzuki Minoru
Yamabushi – Christine Jamlig Chang*
Farmer – Robert Torigoe*
Kōken – Jane Traynor
Mistress – Christine Jamlig Chang*
Eliana – Chrisslene Jimerson
Pantalone – Jake C. Wolf
Arlecchino – Catherine Ann Restivo*
Voice – Jane Traynor
Storyteller – Selena Doran
Martian Captain – Audrey Castañeda Walker
Martian Tarō – Iana Weingrad*
Martian Jirō – Clayton Searcy
Zoom Host – Catherine Ann Restivo*
IT Guy – Robert Torigoe*
Mushroom – Maggie Ivanova
Kyōgen-Inspired Art by: Audrey Castañeda Walker, Ethan Castillo, Iana Weingrad, Jake C. Wolf
Shigeyama Sennojō III
Shigeyama Sengorō XIV
Expected run time 1 hr. 40 minutes with three “active” intermissions.
*In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master of Fine Arts degree
It has been a privilege to be on this creative kyōgen journey, traveling in time from the 14th century to the 21st, and in space from Japan to Hawaiʻi to Mars! Together with our guest master kyōgen artist Shigeyama Sennojō, this cast and production team has created three new plays, two translation/adaptations, as well as visual art inspired by the enduring and vibrant tradition. This exploration began in August of 2020 with the study of the “art of kyōgen”—its plays and play structures, characters and movements, themes and history—which resulted in drafts of new works, “remotely” inspired kyōgen and intended to be delivered “remotely” to your living rooms.
Mounting any production is a process—an investment of time, energy, expertise, and creativity on the part of many individuals. Navigating “remotely” together with Sennojō to find effective ways of transposing the embodied learning process to an online platform has required mental gymnastics, as well as informed new approaches to teaching and learning, listening and moving.
Over the past twenty years, three master kyōgen artists—Shigeyama Sennojō III, Shigeyama Akira, and Maruishi Yasushi—have graciously shared their art and expertise, training students in the Department of Theatre and Dance in preparation for productions. We are honored to be able to open this production with a traditional piece, recorded on the Ōe Noh stage in Kyoto by our three master teachers, and enabling us to (remotely) set the traditional stage and acknowledge the origins and inspirations for what follows. We hope these stories and the characters that inhabit them will resonate with you, here and now (wherever you may be), in the same way that kyōgen has for centuries provided a window through which to see our own human foibles, and to embrace —through laughter— a joy in experiencing the absurdities of life.
-Julie A. Iezzi
The themes of time travel, experiencing space-time distortion, encountering life on Mars or extra-terrestrial visitors have occupied creative minds for many, many years. They account for the continuous popularity of long-running series, like Doctor Who and Star Trek, to name just two. Earthbound invites us to apply a mischievous lens when we revisit these themes in kyōgen, shifting the point of view to the Martians: how might the crew of a Martian spaceship prepare for a mission to Earth? It was pure serendipity that NASA landed its Perseverance rover on Mars on February 18 this year. Now Mars is on the move.
Our Earthbound is hardly the first kyōgen play to tackle alien visitors to Earth. A notable first is Shigeyama Akira’s The Fox and the Alien (Kitsune to Uchūjin, 1978), which offers a satiric critique of human wastefulness and inability to protect the environment and the natural resources on which our very existence depends. As humanity now extends our reach towards other planets in the Solar System, the continued relevance of this piece is hard to miss or ignore. Earthbound pays stylistic homage to its cosmic kyōgen predecessor by integrating on visual and narrative levels one particular design element from the yukata which Shigeyama Akira wore: we give our audience four opportunities to spot it.
Most audience members would probably recognize the familiar sound of the shakuhachi playing an unfamiliar, catchy tune during the three time-space distortion dances. Building on the spirit of play and the comic potential of reversed expectations, which we associate with kyōgen, we use the tune of a popular folk song from Bulgaria. This is one of the ways Earthbound explores the unfamiliar within the familiar; the contemporary within (remotely) traditional forms; and the extra-terrestrial within every single one of us. Because as scientists keep reminding us, we are made of stardust. For the Earthbound team this year, the supernova generating the stardust is the close encounter with kyōgen and Shigeyama Sennojō III. Thank you, Sensei!
Kusabira (“Mushrooms”) was probably the first kyōgen play that I fell in love with. The absurdity of the premise, a man who is plagued by mysterious mushrooms, alongside the chaos of a small nōgaku stage filled to the edges with actors in “mushroom” costumes, was at once charming and utterly hilarious. Since then, that play has simmered in the back of my mind, waiting for an opportunity to come bubbling to the surface. That opportunity finally came when an off-hand comment during an online class helped me to connect the play with the idea of people popping into Zoom calls.
With so much of our lives having shifted to the virtual realm, I wanted to create a piece that explored the ups and downs of what has become our everyday routine. Kusabira was such a great fit for an adaptation. The themes of losing control, futile attempts at maintaining order, and being subject to the whims of nature are something I know everyone can relate to these days. When we open up ourselves to storytelling traditions outside of our own culture, it’s amazing what sorts of gems can be found and what crazy ideas they can inspire. The world truly is our oyster…mushroom!
Department Chair: Markus Wessendorf
Associate Chair, Theatre: Julie A. Iezzi
Associate Chair, Dance: Betsy Fisher
Production Manager: Rick Greaver
Theatre Manager/Publicity: Jessica Jacob
Operations Coordinator/Publicity: Christine Lamborn
Technical Director: Gerald Kawaoka
Costume Shop Manager: Hannah Schauer Galli
Office Staff: Lori Chun, Jenna Wheeler-Gonsalves
This project was funded in part by the U.S. Department of Education, Title VI National Resource Center for East Asia, University of Hawai’i, 2020-2021; the Office of the Chancellor, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa; and the UHM Student Activity and Program Fee Board.
Kennedy Theatre is a member of the Hawai’i State Theatre Council.
For additional accessibility accommodations please contact the Kennedy Theatre Box Office at 956-7655.
Visit us on the web at http://manoa.hawaii.edu/liveonstage/
Joshua Barnes, Shigeyama Shigeru, Gay Satsuma
Want to learn more about kyōgen? Want to find out more about the process of developing this Remotely Kyōgen production? Visit our website at www.remotelykyogen.com
Please consider supporting future Japanese Theatre projects at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa by donating to the UH Foundation Japanese Theatre Fund. Stay tuned for KABUKI in 2024, celebrating 100 years of English-language kabuki in Hawaiʻi!