Friday, March 26, 2010

Genesis of The Narrative

The Story So Far regarding my interest in narratives seems, in hindsight, to be stream-of-consciousness. I can trace it, oddly enough, to a concert I saw in high school. That's when my father took me to see Andres Segovia in concert at the Seattle Opera House. Already so old he could barely walk, Segovia played a beautiful classical guitar concert that mesmerized the audience. This inspired me to take up classical guitar and, five years later, to move to Seville, Spain and learn all I could about flamenco guitar.

While in Spain I met and fell in love with Kumiko. When she left Spain three years later, I followed her to Japan and asked her to marry me. Things fell into place for us in Japan, and we ended up staying for eight years. Musically I was drawn to the flutes of Japan, especially the shakuhachi the noh flute. Because of work (as a columnist for the Japan Times newspaper and a correspondent/editor for the International Theatre Institute at the National Noh Theatre) and my mother- and father-in-law, both professional Noh teachers and performers, I was able to see many, many performances of Noh. I began learning the music, chant and movement of Noh, and performed extensively throughout the Tokyo area.

When our kids were old enough to attend school we left Japan, relocating to Hawaii. During my tenure as Head Archivist for the Video Archives at the University of Hawaii's Kennedy TheatreI took part in many performances, studying with visiting artists from Japan, Korea, Java, Bali, Sumatra, India, China and Korea. In an attempt to better understand the theatre forms I was experiencing, I read profusely. Invariably translations of texts were as helpful as the theory books, and infinitely more enjoyable.

After returning to the Seattle area, I went through withdrawals. I continued to read profusely, but had very few people to share my addiction to epic poetry with. I joined the Northwest Classics Society, and through them discovered many of the classics of western literature, including Milton, Virgil, Homer, and Dante as well as Beowulf, Gilgamesh, Arthurian literature and Greek mythology. I also offered classes through the University of Washington's Experimental College on the Heike Monogatari and the many noh plays it inspired. Then someone suggested I record my lectures and edit them into a weekly radio show...

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