It has been a busy winter for us. My retelling of the play ‘Atsumori’ will appear in the next issue of the journal Parabola. 'Atsumori' is a play from the repertoire of Noh, the traditional masked drama of Japan. The play 'Atsumori', based on a story originally from the fourteenth century military chronicle 'Tale of the Heike', is a masterpiece of the genre, written by the brilliant dramatist Zeami (1363-1443).
My version of ‘Atsumori’ is a ‘retelling’, but it follows the original very closely. It a tale of mutual compassion and the interrelatedness of all things. It includes the comfort of aloneness, the effects of clan membership, the actions of the individual when in a group, remorse when alone and when together with others, and how our lives and our souls become intertwined through our actions.
I have been reading the excellent journal ‘Parabola’ for at least two decades, and am truly pleased and excited to be appearing in it.
Meanwhile, ‘Ophelia’, Kumiko’s translation of sections of Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’, is going well. Rehearsals for the final production, a Butoh performance by dancer Kaoru Okumura with Noh-style chant accompaniment, will be premiered later this week.
We are also scheduling a tour for this summer. Shoju Kai will be presenting Noh lecture/demonstrations throughout the Pacific Northwest, as well as performances of many of our translations of Noh plays.
Finally, my book. I have written a series of interlocking plays based on the stories of several characters from the great Indian epic ‘Mahabharata.’ The plays are heavily Noh-influenced (in fact, it follows the traditional form and sequence of a day of Noh plays). I am rewriting the plays as a novel. I am well into it, and am pleased with how it is taking shape. We will keep you posted!