The Fermentation Lab:
A Tasting And Performance


"The Fermentation Lab: A Tasting And Performance" imagines a new kind of theatrical experience.

Once you share a meal with someone, you consume the same organisms and forever have something in common.

With generous support from the National Endowment of the Arts, Theatre of Yugen in cooperation with the U.S./Japan Cultural Trade Network has spent the past year bringing together artists from a wide range of fields from microbiology to modern dance in a project titled "The Fermentation Lab." 

The Lab is inspired by the shared aesthetics between skilled performers and master chefs.  Is the beauty of food not an art in and of itself?  Like the process of fermentation, the Lab is powered by the esoteric and unseen microbial world of chemical transformation.  In that unseen, internal world, lingers the sublime.  Where there is the sublime, there is yugen.  

Participants initially gathered in December of 2016, in a small communal gathering with AEDAN Team Captain Mariko Grady to make and prepare miso, which has been fermenting all year long.  From that moment of shared inspiration, the artists branched off and grew in their own directions, ruminating on everything from the chemical processes involved in transforming one substance into another, to methods for imparting knowledge of science and nutrition to the community, to pondering how to express tastes through sound and movement.

September 16th, 2017, 7 PM

marks the first public exhibition of these combined efforts.

Our honored guests will be served visual and aural delights created by master performers Shoko Hikage and the sister duo Sharp and Fine. Paired with these are petite culinary delights created by Eri Shimizu of AEDAN Fermented Foods, which serve as the inspiration for each moment, creating a total sensory experience that combines the aesthetics of food and performance.  

$40 General Admission gets you a reservation.  $50 VIP tickets get you free drinks from Theatre of Yugen's well-stocked concessions all night.  $20 Student tickets are available as well with a photo ID.  And as a special treat, AEDAN Fermented Foods is selling their unique bento boxes for $15!  Reserve yours through the box office!

Moving beyond mere dinner theatre, The Lab will use the opportunity to sit and eat together to create a new understanding of community and shared experience for theatre-goers.

The Artists

Shannon Kurashige co-founded S&F in 2011. She has also performed with Liss Fain Dance since joining the company in 2010, and previously worked with Christian Burns (burnsWORK), Alex Ketley (The Foundry), and Amy Seiwert. Shannon attended the North Carolina School of the Arts, where she studied under Melissa Hayden, and graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a BFA in Dance Performance and a minor in biology. She also received extensive training at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance under the tutelage of Summer Lee Rhatigan. Shannon is also an artist and freelance graphic designer.

Megan Kurashige co-founded SHARP & FINE (S&F) in 2011. She also performs with Liss Fain Dance, where she has been a company member since 2010. She has previously worked with choreographers Christian Burns (burnsWORK), Alex Ketley (The Foundry), and Amy Seiwert, and performed with Ballet Pacifica and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal. She studied at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance under the direction of Summer Lee Rhatigan and the Academy of Ballet under the direction of Richard Gibson. She is also a writer. Her short fiction has appeared in various magazines and anthologies and she is a 2008 graduate of the Clarion Writers' Workshop at UCSD.

Shoko Hikage is a koto (Japanese zither) player who resides in the San Francisco, where she continues to pursue her music. Her first teacher was Chizuga Kimura of the Ikuta-ryu Sokyoku Seigen Kai in Akita Prefecture, Japan. From 1985, she received special training from the Iemoto (Grand Master) Seiga Adachi. In 1988, Hikage graduated from Takasaki College with a major in koto music. She was then accepted as a special research student at the Sawai Koto Institute under Tadao and Kazue Sawai.

Eri Shimizu is Event & Catering Manager at AEDAN Fermented Foods. She also works with Delica at Ferry Building Market Place and Bon nene in Mission, developing their menu. Eri graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 2016. She is a certified International Health Food Master in Traditional Chinese Medicinal Cuisine, a holistic cooking theory based on the Eastern Yin-Yan philosophy, and organizes educational workshops. She is also a food and travel writer for Japanese magazines.

Mariko Grady performed as a lead actress and voice artist of Pappa TARAHUMARA, a performance company based in Tokyo, for 30 years. She moved to San Francisco in 2000. Immediately after the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, Mariko started to sell her home-made fermented foods to raise funds for the victims. Mariko joined the incubator kitchen program at La Cocina in May 2012 and founded AEDAN Fermented Foods. She frequently conducts various educational workshops about her products.


Production Team

Kyoko Yoshida (Production Manger), director and founder of U.S./Japan Cultural Trade Network (CTN), has served the performing arts field for over 30 years as a presenter, producer and consultant, with a focus on artistic and cultural exchange between the U.S. and Japan.  Since 2011, she has been working with National Performance Network and Visual Artists Network as a staff consultant for its Japan program. Based in San Francisco since 2007, she also designs and manages selected programs with Theatre of Yugen.

Nick Ishimaru (Director) was trained originally as a musical theatre performer and started exploring Japanese theatre while studying at Colorado State University (BA, 2005), where he directed a kabuki adaptation of Macbeth. He went on to study at San Francisco State University, (MA, 2009). His work explores a combination of Western and traditional Asian performance techniques for original creations, along with work in conventional musical theatre and Shakespeare.  Ishimaru has trained in noh and kyōgen with Theatre of Yugen for over seven years, has studied kabuki and jingju (Beijing Opera), and nihon buyo (traditional Japanese dance) at the University of Hawaii.  He has presented his work at the Association for Asian Performance international conference, and taught master classes on noh and kyōgen at both the high school and collegiate level.








Friday May 26th and Saturday May 27th

A night of comedy, fusion, and confusion!  

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As part of our year-long Fermentation Laboratory, we're cooking up something special!

Theatre of Yugen is looking at what happens when you take something old and something new and mix 'em together


We begin the evening with the English-language premiere of the classic kyogen play Nukegara (The Demon’s Shell).

In this play, a cross between a buddy comedy and a comedy of manners, banquets have become all the rage.  So the Master of the House asks his best servant Taro to secure some fish for a feast.  But before Taro can leave the house, they have to share a toast or two. After all, only the best sake can go with the freshest fish!  Hi-jinks ensue as the Master teaches Taro the value of holding your liquor.

Director - Yuriko Doi

Taro-kaja - Lluis Valls

Master - Nick Ishimaru


Closing out the evening will be a workshop excerpt from a brand new play, Tomorrow’s Sound, a meditation on the ephemeral nature of sound and time, written and composed by Zhoushu Herakleitos Ziporyn.

Utanojo is a traveler from far away who has settled in a remote village after finding the woman of his dreams, Mie.  The village has begun to suffer from some mysterious ailment that no one can find a cure to.  As Utanojo searches for a way to help his new-found home, the God of Sound decides to pay him a visit, offering the cure in a Faustian bargain.  Performance techniques from kyogen, noh, and kabuki infuse the piece, set against a completely original soundscape.

Directors - Nick Ishimaru and Zhoushu Herakleitos Ziporyn

Utanojo - Ryan Marchand

Mie - Meryn MacDougall

God of Sound - Lluis Valls

Utainin/Villagers - Ben Baker and Nick Ishimaru

Spring Celebration: Alchemy


Theatre of Yugen is pleased to host our celebrated donors and patrons for a night of transformative magic!  Join us for a night of food, drinks, and a silent auction.  The evening will include a kyōgen presentation by the newest students of Theatre of Yugen.

“Alchemy” is grounded in the five Daoist elements of Fire, Water, Earth, Wood and Metal, called “gogyō” (五行) in Japanese, reflecting the accretive and adaptive nature of Japanese culture.  Theatre of Yugen bares the hallmarks of this adaptive process and honors those origins through its work.

We will be presenting our newest artistic collaborators in a performance of The Owl and the Mountain Priest, celebrating Theatre of Yugen’s tradition of synthesizing kyōgen in English.  Further highlighting that synthesis, our artists will be presenting segments of their own work, demonstrating the wide variety of skills Theatre of Yugen enjoys working with.

The menu aligns with the five elemental flavors of sour, sweet, salty, bitter and spicy, created from a mix of traditional Japanese and contemporary Californian ingredients to create new fusion food.

Finally, the evening caps off with both a silent and a live auction. Items include tickets to other theatres, music from a range of thrilling musicians, and fabulous excursions with glamorous guests!

Given the current political climate, our grant funding from the National Endowment of the Arts and other critical sources is in peril. In order to continue to provide quality performances and educational outreach we are actively reaching out to broaden our donor base-- and hope we can welcome you and your friends into the Yugen family.

We've set a base goal that will help us succeed in this current year, and are setting up some exciting stretch goals that will allow us to provide more programming in 2017 and 2018.

Your financial support provides crucial funds to a small theater with a big mission that often operates on a shoestring budget (our current printer uses chopsticks because there is no paper tray). Thank you for your generosity as we enter our 38th season-- we look forward to seeing you at "Alchemy"!





written by Hideki Noda and translated by Roger Pulvers

directed by Nick Ishimaru

Hideki Noda's The Red Demon tells the story of a creature who washes up on the shore of a small beach town.  Reddened from long exposure to the elements and seemingly unable to speak a human language, the residents of the town immediately label him a demon, come from the sea to eat them.  The Demon's lone advocate is an outcast known only as That Woman, who sees in the Red Demon a mirror image of her own rejection.  Together with her simple-minded brother Tombi, and an amorous suitor, Mizukane, their journey of discovery illuminates humanity's behavior in moments of intercultural conflict, focusing on racist fears of immigration and society's struggle with intolerance. 

Through satire, wordplay, wit, and a shocking surprise ending, The Red Demon asks this central question:

How do we identify humanity, in both ourselves and others?


Show Information

at NOHspace, 2840 Mariposa Street, San Francisco, 94110

OCTOBER 27 - NOVEMBER 13, 2016










Preview - Thursday, October 27 at 8pm


Saturday, October 29 at 8pm    |    Sunday, October 30 at 5pm


Thursday, November 3 at 8pm    |     Friday, November 4 at 8pm    |    Saturday, November 5 at 8pm


Friday, November 11 at 8pm    |    Saturday, November 12 at 8pm    |    Sunday, November 13 at 5pm


Creative Team


Liz Brent - Costume Designer

Allie Khori - Production Manager

Zach Kopciak - Dramaturg

Yusuke Soi - Scenic Designer & Properties Master

Kevin Sweetser - Sound Designer

Maximilian Urruzmendi - Lighting Designer




Ayelet Firstenberg - That Woman

Steven Ho - Tombi

Norman Muñoz - Mizukane

Lluís Valls - The Red Demon


Director Nick Ishimaru

Nick Ishimaru, Project Director and Theatre of Yugen’s current Interim Artistic Director Nick Ishimaru (San Francisco) was trained originally as a musical theatre performer and started exploring Japanese theatre while studying at Colorado State University (BA, 2005), where he directed a kabuki adaptation of MacBeth. He went on to study at San Francisco State University, (MA, 2009) and pursued additional graduate work at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.  Ishimaru lives in San Francisco where he is a director and performer. His performances include works with AMP (2008 - 2009), San Francisco State University, Theatre of Yugen and the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus. Ishimaru's work explores a combination of Western and traditional Asian performance techniques for original creations, along with work in conventional musical theatre and Shakespeare. Previous directing work includes Assassins by Stephen Sondheim, It Ain’t Me by Claire Rice (original), Land of Infants by Meghan O’Patry (original), and Kaguya (original adaptation). Other recent production work includes A Minor Cycle by Greg Giovanni (original; actor and fight choreographer), This Lingering Life by Chiori Miyagawa (original; actor), and several traditional kyogen plays with the Theatre of Yugen (actor).


Cast Members


Ayelet Firstenberg "That WomaN"

Ayelet Firstenberg recently moved to Berkeley from NYC where she performed off-Broadway with Vital Theatre and worked with Manhattan Rep, NAAP, White Plains PAC, Write Act Rep, and Your Name Here. In Los Angeles she has worked with Performance Riverside and the Morgan-Wilson Theatre, winning a StageSceneLA award for her portrayal of Roxie in Chicago. Since moving to the Bay she has performed with SF Footlights, Musical Cafe, and most recently was seen as Dolores in Ray of Light’s The Wild Party. She is a recent graduate of A.C.T.’s Summer Training Congress. More at



Steven is excited to make his debut with Theatre of Yugen as Tombi in The Red Demon. He was last seen as Berowne in Silicon Valley Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost. Past productions include Cymbeline (Foothill College & Theatre of Others), In the Heights (CSU East Bay), and West Side Story (Stage1 theatre). He is a recent graduate of the Foothill College Conservatory. When not performing on stage, he can be found working as an Emergency Room Technician at the Stanford ER.


ENormvs Muñoz "MIzukane"

Enormvs; actor, dancer, educator. Principal dancer at the Polynesian Cultural Center 1997-2005. Choreographer and dancer Te Vai Ura Nui Tahitian Dance Ensemble 1995-2005. Founding member of two all male burlesque troupes: SF Boylesque and The Bohemian Brethren. Founding member, writer, producer of the theatre company Five On A Match. Television Credits: North Shore, Even Stevens. Stage Credits: Seen / By Everyone (HERE Arts Center), This Lingering Life (Theatre of Yugen), Sidewinders (Cuttingball Theatre), The Fantasticks (SF Playhouse), Dog’s Body (Theatre of Yugen / Dah Teatar), Language of Their Own (Kumu Kahua Theatre)




Lluís Valls acts, directs, and writes for the theatre. He has studied Noh with Richard Emmert, Akira Matsui, and Kinue Oshima (Kita school), Kyogen with Yukio Ishida (Izumi school) and Kotsuzumi Noh drum with Mitsuo Kama (Ko school), as well as training in butoh, suzuki method, and clowning. A graduate of SFSU, Mr. Valls has been a disciple of founder Yuriko Doi since 1993, performing in her direction of modern Noh play The Well of Ignorance by Dr. Tomio Tada, the Kabuki/Flamenco fusion Blood Wine, Blood Wedding, Moon of the Scarlet Plums (2003, Japan 2005), and Mystical Abyss (2012, Denver 2015). From Spring 2002 to Fall 2008, he worked collectively with Theatre of Yugen's Joint Artistic team, Jubilith Moore and Libby Zilber, to create the original experimental pieces The Clay Play (2002), Norton, I (2003), Frankenstein (2003, 2004), The Old Man and The Sea (2005), Don Q (2006), and the all-day The Cycle Plays (07/07/07). Under Jubilith Moore's direction Mr. Valls has performed in Erik Ehn’s Cordelia (2011, NY's La MAMA 2012), A Minor Cycle (2012, Philadelphia 2013), Emmett Till, a river (2013) and This Lingering Life (2014). Mr. Valls is also a Founding Member of Theatre Nohgaku (since 2001) which has performed to critical acclaim in London, Dublin, Oxford and Paris, and of Clowns on a Stick (since 2012). Mr. Valls was an Artist in Residence at San Francisco's School of the Arts from 2009-2014.


Production Team



Liz Brent is a multi-disciplinary artist who specializes in costume design and construction. She has worked for the ODC Dance Company and Teen Company the Dance Jam, and many Bay Area and national choreographers including Grisha Coleman, Sean Dorsey, Jenny Stulberg, Yayoi Kambara, Namita Kapoor, and Tanya Bello. She was involved in the video music production for Jim James’ A New Life, and art direction for the short film Interloping. Liz has a BFA and Honors Magna Cum Laude in Dance, a Bussie Award in Costume Technologies, and a Minor in Religious Studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She is also a Phi Beta Kappa Member, a certified yoga instructor, a regular contributor of artwork and writing to the website Stance on Dance, and an editor of health and nutrition articles by Sebastian Grubb.

Dramaturg zach kopciak

Zach Kopciak is a deviser, producer, dramaturg, performer, and director specializing in non-traditional theatrical forms and contexts. Currently based in San Francisco, where he has worked with The Speakeasy, First Person Travel, The Circus Center, Bonfire Makers, and RAWdance, he is thrilled to be a part of this challenging piece of work. In the past, Zach has also worked with Guerilla Science in New York and D.C., Kid Cactus in Los Angeles, and with Secret Cinema, Shakespeare's Globe, The Box, and Enter Level5 in London, where he received his MA from the Central School of Speech and Drama.


Yusuke Soi is a Japanese native, now a Theatrical Designer in the Bay Area. He’s been a Prop Master at Thrillpeddlers since 2013, and recently joined Bay Area Children's Theatre as a Technical Director after working for New Conservatory Theatre Center and Palo Alto Children. He studied Set Design at San Francisco State University and has been active since 2013. His work includes: recent prop design for Ferocious Lotus Company’s Crane, set designs for Los Altos Stage Company’s Bat Boy the Musical and Hillbarn Theatre’s 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. His next designs will be for Marin Theatre Company’s summer camp shows, and Tri-School Production’s 2016-2017 season productions. Yusuke is happy to be back to Theatre Of Yugen where he performed at Shinsai, a fundraiser to benefit victims of the Fukushima disaster, directed by Nick Ishimaru.


Kevin Sweetser is a Bay Area Sound and Video designer. Based out of San Francisco he can usually be found working on new and creative projects at, Z Space, Stanford University, or pretty much any theatre that will let him in the door. His work as a sound designer extends to live concerts and venue installations.


Maximilian Urruzmendi was born in Atlanta, Georgia to Uruguayan immigrant parents and has been lucky enough to be living and working in the bay with amazing communities for the past five years.


Yugen in Action

Series Presentation #2 - June 3 & 4 at 7pm

In the 2015/16 SeasonTheatre of Yugen presents a two-part presentation series inviting Bay Area artists to create, revive or develop work for a two-night presentation and artists' engagement event at NOHspace. Yugen in Action is thematically linked to Theatre of Yugen’s Fall 2016 premiere of The Red Demon, and uses the same motifs of “Immigration & Alienation,” as the starting point for participating artists.

Proudly Featuring the Following Works:

They Came Like Fire  

Written by Roy Conboy, Directed by Ryan Marchand

Two women from different worlds share the same pains as they relive the terror of losing their homes to ravenous forces that consume everything in their path. 


The Cave of Slutzk

Written & Directed by Hanna Pesha

When a young Jewish girl living under Stalin befriends a Dragon, she finds a dangerous ally in her fight to maintain identity and survive.


Shoot a Civilized World

Created by Hiroko & Koichi Tamano

Urged to find our own time, to run away from the wheel of the Economic Rise of Japan. Then, an impostor whispered "an American big show..."

Mimi's Suitcase

Written & Performed by Ana Bayat

1 woman, 27 characters, 4 languages. True story of a European-educated young woman returning to her native Iran after the revolution.



Created by Christina Lewis 

PLANET CLOWN AND THE COSMIC SWIRL is an absurdist look at our very fragile and confused relationship with our home.


Algor Mortis

Directed by David Silpa

Algor Mortis is a dance-theater exploration of what happens when the steps we take to connect with the world don't work as we hope.



Scroll down for more Info about each piece! (In alphabetical order by Artist's last name)

Mimi's Suitcase  -  Written and performed by Ana Bayat



Winner of Audience Choice Award for Best Play at 2016 Iranisches Theatre Festival in Heidelberg, Germany, Mimi's Suitcase is the true story of a teenage girl who returns to her native Iran from Spain in the midst of the 1980s Iran-Iraq war. This involuntary uprooting and the adventures that follow awaken engaging questions about identity, language, culture, displacement and homeland in this entertaining and heart-warming universal coming-of-age journey of resilience, humanity and, above all, hope.   

Mimi’s Suitcase premiered in New York City on November 15, 2015 and will next be performed at Hollywood Fringe Festival on June 17, 18 and 19, 2016.


Ana is a seasoned, multilingual stage, on-camera and voice over actor-linguist with extensive experience in theatre, film and language consultation. She has traveled extensively and lived in Barcelona, Tehran and London before settling down in the San Francisco Bay Area. Ana is fluent in five languages including Spanish, Persian, French, German and English, and can get by in Catalan and Italian. Her natural aptitude for languages and accents make her casting variability richly universal.


They Came Like Fire - Written by Roy Conboy, Directed by Ryan Marchand

Sandra, a former San Francisco Mission district resident, and Sandy a former resident of Lake County California recount their harrowing escapes from the ravenous forces that displaced them both from their homes. The pain they experience in such loss makes them kindred spirits of sorts, however no matter how similar their agony in the aftermath They Came Like Fire touches upon where these women’s experiences diverge; and the differences between the destructive forces of nature and the darker forces of human nature.

Performed By

Alix Cuadra: Sandra    -    Sheila Berotti: Sandy    -    Ryan Marchand: Dancer    -    Golda Sargento: Guitarist


ROY CONBOY (Playwright)

Roy Conboy is a writer, director, and teacher of Latino/Mixed Blood descent.  For more than 20 years he has been the head of the Playwrighting Program at San Francisco State University.  His most recent play is In Hollow Time: A Blues Mystery on the Recession, which was developed and produced at San Francisco State in 2014.  Other recent work includes My Tia Loca’s Life of Crime at Breath of Fire Latina Theater Ensemble in Santa Ana, and Bindlestiff Studios in San Francisco.  His children’s play, El Canto del Roble/The Song of the Oak, is presently being toured through Central California schools by PCPA Theaterfest of Santa Maria.   Other productions have been seen at Teatro Esperanza, the Mark Taper Forum/Taper Too, Teatro Vision of San Jose, East Los Angeles Repertory, Teatro Latino in Minneapolis, Teatro del Pueblo in St. Paul, the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center in San Antonio, Teatro Milagro in Portland, and Cucucuevez in Santa Ana.

As an educator Roy has helped raise the SFSU Playwrighting Program to national prominence.   He has created numerous opportunities for student writers, including GreenHouse, and the SFSU Fringe.  His former playwriting students include, among many others: Marcus Gardley, Peter Nachtrieb, Karen Macklin, Brian Thorstenson, Prince Gomolvilas, Trevor Allen, Garret Groenveld, Rodrigo Duarte Clark, Evelyn Pine, Elizabeth Gjelten, Claire Rice, and Nick Pappas.

Ryan Marchand (director)

Ryan Marchand is an actor, director, and theatre educator who grew up in Los Angeles, but has made his home San Francisco since completing his BA in French, and his minor in Theatre Arts at San Francisco State University. It was there that Ryan studied extensively with Barbara Damashek; was first introduced to Roy Conboy as part of the Fringe Festival; was first introduced to Asian theatre styles studying the Suzuki Actors Training Method with Dr. Yukihiro Goto; and was first introduced to Theatre of Yugen and Noh & Kyogen training. Since then Ryan has appeared with Theatre of Yugen in a Kyogen style adaptation of Candide, as well as the world premiere of This Lingering Life by Chiori Miyagawa.  Ryan is also Artistic Director of Handful Players, now celebrating their tenth year of operation; providing free after school musical theatre training to the Western Addition.




Christina Lewis & the  Clown School of San Francisco 

PLANET CLOWN AND THE COSMIC SWIRL is an attempt to look at the dynamics that are leading humans to destroy our planet. Through the use of humor we aim to shed light on the absurdity of our compulsive and addictive relationship to to our planet and it's resources.


Christina Lewis

has been teaching and performing Clown and physical theatre for 30 years. She began her journey at Oberlin College as a member of the Oberlin Mime Troupe, and continued her exploration in San Francisco in the 80's , participating in Street theatre, and studying Clown with Arina Isaacson and Drama Therapy at CIIS. She now runs the Clown School of San Francisco which is dedicated to training people of all ages in the vulnerable and venerable art of Clowning.



The Cave of Slutzk - Written and Directed by HANNA PESHA

The Cave of Slutsk takes you back to 1920s Belarus. Stalin is in power. In this setting, a young Jewish girl fights to maintain her faith and identity, and to help her family's collective farm survive. When she befriends a Dragon named Pogrom she finds a dangerous ally. As hard land in the Belarusian countryside keeps her family below their Bolshevik production quota, she must rely on magic and choose between the faith of her birth and the collectivism of her new immigrant life. At once haunting and humorous, The Cave of Slutsk will stay with you.

Performed By

Christopher Weddle: Pogrom    -    LeighAnn Cannon: Raz    -    Gino Rose: Maxim



Hanna Pesha grew up half in Oakland and half in rural Mendocino County. She is a writer, artist and first time director. She worked in film on the production end of Mother Story and the feature-length Paradise Cove. She has been published in Arcata Free Press, The Steelhead Special, Sparkle and Blink, Banana Pitch, and Bay Area Generations.  She has taught with California Poets in the Schools, been an artist in residence at the Mendocino Art Center, and has facilitated workshops for domestic violence survivors through Poets and Writers.



ChristopHer Weddle

Christopher Weddle is an actor, carpenter, and writer that was forged in the Piney Woods region of Texas. He bounced from state to state as a carpenter before landing in Berkeley seven years ago. A graduate of Waterfront Playhouse & Conservatory, he has appeared onstage in A Dreamer Examines His Pillow at Phoenix Theatre and as Mike Dillon in Body Electric Productions staging of Good People at Waterfront Playhouse. Later this year he will appear as Bob the Bartender in the West Coast premiere of Black River Falls. You can catch him on screen at the Castro Theatre in July as a the cold-blooded killer Scarface Jack in Scary Cow’s Ghost in the Gun written and directed by Andrew Chen and later in the summer as Jasper Higgins in An Unplanned Awakening. He makes his television premier as Darryl Norris in July in Episode 8 of I Almost Got Away With It on the Discover ID Channel.




has been performing in theatre and film around the Bay Area since she was a young girl. Most recently she was seen on the stage as Chava in Hillbarn Theatre's production of Fiddler on the Roof. Favorite productions include: Amadeus (Katherina Cavalieri) at Hillbarn Theatre, Jesus Christ Super Star (Featured Ensemble) at Coastal Rep., and Hello, From Bertha (Bertha) at Muhlenberg College.  She holds a BA in both acting and directing from Muhlenberg College. 



Gino has appeared in numerous local theatre productions, including the role of Nicolas in Pinter’s ONE FOR THE ROAD (Performers Under Stress); Baptista in TAMING OF THE SHREW (Half Moon Bay Shakespeare Co.), and Sorin in SEAGULL (College of Marin). He’s in the feature film: WHITE RABBIT, and has done other dramatic films as well as national corporate and commercial productions.   He is an accomplished writer and solo performer.  He performed his evening length, solo piece THE FORMER GENE THOMAS, A Work In Progress at the Meisner Technique Studio Theatre; and, he will be appearing again shortly as part of SOLO SUNDAYS at Stagewerx Theatre.  He is a graduate of the Meisner Technique Studio, where he is also a faculty member.  He is represented by Look Talent, and is a university professor and a published poet.



YiA2 David Silpa.JPG

Algor Mortis (Working Title)


We are presenting an excerpt of a piece tentatively titled "Algor Mortis", which will comprise the second act of an evening-length dance-theater experience to premier this October. "Algor Mortis" examines the mechanisms that allow us to form connections with the the world and people around us, with particular emphasis on what happens when those methods don't work. It seems like one of the most common denominators between people is that we all experience alienation from our shared experience, despite differences of magnitude and quality between different people. Can we find solidarity in the awareness of our mutual alienation, and can our understanding of our shared alienation open ways of overcoming the paradigms that entrench us in damaging thought patterns?

Performers / Ensemble

 Jenny McAllister & Kiplinn Sagmiller


David Silpa

is a dance and theater artist based out of Oakland. He is currently working with 13th Floor and Wei-Shan Lai & Co., as well as developing an evening length performance to premier this October. He is an alumnus of the University of San Francisco, where he is employed as a general chemistry lab TA.

Polyhedron Company

is a production company focused on experience design, founded in 2016. Polyhedron seeks to create immersive performances that ask fundamental questions about existence and consciousness, as well as how these relate to our shared reality. Our debut performance -- The Summoning -- will premier at Babe Lab in Oakland this October, as a magical investigation into the ties that bind the world together. Working across disciplines, we seek to combine scientific perspective with dynamic performativity to create a unique and expansive performance experience.


is Artistic Director of 13th Floor, and a member of Deborah Slater Dance Theater, Lizz Roman & Dancers and Twisted Oak. She’s previously performed in the work and companies of Chris Black, Keith Hennessey, Fellow Travelers and detour dance among others.  Her background is a mix of dance and theater; her early training included A.C.T. and Oakland Ballet, and she’s studied release and partnering extensively with Joe Goode, Lizz Roman and Scott Wells.


is a Bay Area transplant who graduated from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa and went on to dance with various companies from Hawaii, San Diego, Seattle and now the Bay Area. She's trained in ballet, modern, jazz, aerial silks, acrobatics, parkour, belly dance and loves AcroYoga. You may have seen her recently in Constants & Variables, SFMAF, Levy Salon, Dance Monks: Nomad or at events around the Bay. Kiplinn currently teaches at the Athletic Playground in Emeryville, CA, and Flying Studios in Oakland.



Shoot a Civilized World




Sound by KITARO

Performed By

Hiroko & Koichi Tamano, Ronny Baker and Martha Matsuda


"Butoh based on Life" ... ( but, Oh ! )

We did not know how to stop floating weed & convenient Tokyo life style. We had to go to Nowhere Land.

From LA to SF bay area, we took Route 5 - of which people said "there is Nothing..."  Old Oak trees welcome us.  Super tall old black man said "Hi" when we pass each other. Dogs ignored us and rested in the shade of sidewalk trees. 

Butoh dance theater, every night in Punk Rock Houses.  ( but, Oh ! ) on the way back from Canada, we got "Cancel" stamped on our passports... Bor~der ~ ....


Koichi Tamano  

Born 1946, Shizuoka, Japan.
Butoh pupil under Tatsumi Hijikata since 1965.
In 1976, at SFMOMA, the first Butoh appearance in USA.

Hiroko Tamano

Born 1952, Fukuoka, Japan.

Butoh pupil under Tatsumi Hijikata since 1972.

West Berkeley neighbor since 1979.




Sky v1.jpg

Yugen in Action

Series Presentations at NOHspace  - April 1 & 2, June 3 & 4 at 7pm


In the 2015/16 Season, Theatre of Yugen will present a two-part presentation series inviting Bay Area artists to create, revive or develop work for a two-night presentation and artists' engagement event at NOHspace. Yugen in Action is thematically linked to Theatre of Yugen’s Fall 2016 premiere of The Red Demon, and will use the same motifs of “Immigration & Alienation,” as the starting point for participating artists.


On April 1 & 2 we are proud to present a Staged Reading of A Glass of Water  

Written by Freddy Gutierrez, based on a novel by Jimmy Santiago Baca

Friday, April 1st & Saturday, April 2nd

Doors open: 6:30pm, Reading: 7pm

Tickets are available at the door on a sliding scale of $5 - $15

Freddy Image for Website.jpeg

Freddy Gutierrez

- vato de aquellos, MFA, Oakland based Writer, Teaching Artist, and Cultural Worker. Freddy inspires and nurtures writers to move from the page to the stage and the street. Freddy has taught with Youth Speaks, Chapter 510, the Oakland Public Library, the University of San Francisco, and Stanford University. He facilitates writing and performance arts spaces with men and youth who are policed, imprisoned, and marginalized by the prison-industrial complex. Freddy has read and performed at cultural centers, universities, jails, and juvenile halls throughout Northern California. Currently he is co-directing a performance project at San Quentin State Prison that is known as the Artistic Ensemble. Freddy’s work has been published by Arte Público Press/University of Houston, Nomadic Press, Econo Textual Objects, The Acentos Review, and POOR Magazine; and was featured as LoWriter of the Week selected by U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera.



Jimmy Santiago Baca

Born in New Mexico of Indio-Mexican descent, Jimmy Santiago Baca was raised first by his grandmother and later sent to an orphanage. A runaway at age 13, it was after Baca was sentenced to five years in a maximum security prison that he began to turn his life around: he learned to read and write and unearthed a voracious passion for poetry. 

During a fateful conflict with another inmate, Jimmy was shaken by the voices of Neruda and Lorca, and made a choice that would alter his destiny.  Instead of becoming a hardened criminal, he emerged from prison a writer. Baca sent three of his poems to Denise Levertov, the poetry editor of Mother Jones. 

The poems were published and became part of  IMMIGRANTS IN OUR OWN LAND,  published in 1979, the year he was released from prison. He earned his GED later that same year. He is the winner of the Pushcart Prize, the American Book Award, the International Hispanic Heritage Award and for his memoir "A Place to Stand" the prestigious International Award. In 2006 he won the Cornelius P. Turner Award. The national award recognizes one GED graduate a year who has made outstanding contributions to society in education, justice, health, public service and social welfare.

Baca has devoted his post-prison life to writing and teaching others who are overcoming hardship. His themes include American Southwest barrios, addiction, injustice, education, community, love and beyond. He has conducted hundreds of writing workshops in prisons, community centers, libraries, and universities throughout the country.

In 2005 he created Cedar Tree Inc., a nonprofit foundation that works to give people of all walks of life the opportunity to become educated and improve their lives.

Baca is currently finishing a novel, a play and three poetry manuscripts to be published in 2007. He is also producing a two hour documentary about the power of literature and how it can change lives.

Please contact us at or 415.621.0507 to reserve a ticket or for more information


Resonance | Answer July

 Dance Performance & Jazz Piano Concert

Featuring Miki Orihara and Senri Oe

Co-PRoduced by Theatre of Yugen 

In Association with BaySpo 

May 12 - 15, 2016

nohspace - 2840 Mariposa st, sf ca 94110


Community Night - General Admission $20, Students and  Working Artists $15


Fundraiser for Theatre of Yugen $40, Includes Silent Auction, Preshow Appetizers, Show & Reception to Follow!

 SAT, MAY 14: 8PM

General Admission $25 & Student Prices $18

SUN, MAY 15: 5PM

General Admission $25 & Student Prices $18


Resonance, a combination dance performance and concert piece, pairs Orihara -- a principal dancer of the Martha Graham Dance Company -- with renowned jazz pianist Senri Oe. Together, they'll share exciting new works inspired by the timeless stories and themes of dance masters like Graham, Isadora Duncan and Jose Limón, set to the sounds of Chopin, Mendelssohn and more. For the second act, Oe will present a solo jazz piano concert. Selections will include sneak peeks of tracks from his newest album entitled Answer Julya poetic whimsical jazz view of the world, which is slated to release in July of 2016.

About the Artists





Miki Orihara, a principal dancer of the Martha Graham Dance Company, began her training in Japan at an early age in traditional Fujima Japanese Dance. After graduating from Bunka Gakuin high school in Tokyo, she came to New York to study at the Joffrey Ballet School. Then received scholarships to study at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center and the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance. In 2011, she earned BA in Dance from SUNY Empire State College.

In 1983 she became one of the original members of the Martha Graham Ensemble and thereafter shortly joined the Martha Graham Dance Company. She has performed with various other prominent companies and choreographers as well. These include Yuriko, Elisa Monte, Jean Erdman, Mariko Sanjo, Jun Kono(Japan), Buglisi/Foreman Dance, Twyla Tharp, Stephen Pier, Martha Clarke, Anne Bogart and SITI company, and Robert Wilson. In 2001, she was invited to dance at the New National Theater in Japan. In 2006, she was a guest artist with Pascal Rioult Dance Theater for their France Tour. On Broadway, Ms Orihara appeared in the role of “Eliza” and “Topsy” in “ The King & I” directed by Christopher Renshaw, Choreographed by Jerome Robbins and Lar Lubovitch.

As a choreographer, she premiered her solo work/performance “Searching Dimensions” (1995) in New York. Her recent works are “Passage”, “Serious Garden”  and “End of Summer” . These works were well received at their openings in Japan. In 2001, Ms Orihara presented an 8 women piece “VOICE” in Nagoya, Japan followed in 2008 by “Stage”.

Ms. Orihara assists master teacher and choreographer Yuriko in her Graham technique classes, reconstructions and choreography. She has also been a guest teacher at UCLA World Arts and Culture Department, Atlanta Ballet, State University of Florida, the Ailey School, Peridance, The Hartt School, Arts International in Moscow with Takako Asakawa, the New National Theater Ballet School in Tokyo, Les Etés de la Danse in Paris, Henny Jurriens Foundation in Amsterdam and numerous other workshops and schools throughout the world. She is currently on faculty at the Martha Graham School.  As a Regissuer on Martha Graham’s work, she has been setting works on world wide, include Diana Vashineva’s “Dialogue” and Wendy Whelan of New York City Ballet.

Ms. Orihara served as a Movement designer for Jen Silverman’s “Crane Story” directed by Katherine Kovner and a Casting Producer/Dance Director for mishmash*Miki Orihara’s music videos which will be released Spring/Summer 2014. Ms. Orihara is in process of making Martha Graham technique DVD, collaboration with Dance Spotlight and Martha Graham Center.

In 2010, She received a New York Dance and Performance (BESSIE) Award for her contributions to dance.


Jazz Pianist

A Bestselling SONY Music recording artist, Senri Oe’s international debut all-jazz album, “Boys Mature Slow,”(PND Records) released in July 2012, generated many rave reviews from top music magazines including “Jazziz” and “Down Beat” in NYC. After its release in Japan in September 2012 (SONY Records), “Boys Mature Slow” won the Album Of The Year: New Star Award from the Japan Jazz Awards presented by Nissan.

Oe has been active and influential in the Japanese music scene as a lyricist, composer and arranger since his debut in 1983. He extended his talent in the TV and film industry and went on to flourish as an actor and TV personality as well. His major awards include Japan Gold Disc Grand Prix: Best Male Pop Artist in 1988 and FNS Pop Music Award: Best Song of the Year in 1989.

In January 2008, Oe decided to pause his 25-year career in popular music in order to pursue jazz and moved to New York to study under Junior Mance and Aaron Goldberg. Oe graduated from the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in May 2012.

Oe is now appearing at jazz clubs throughout NYC and surrounding East coast areas such as Tomi Jazz, Zinc Bar, SOB, Blue Note, NY City Winery, and Domain wine bar (Long Island City), along with a Japan tour at Tokyo Blue Note and Nagoya Blue Note.

In recent years, his 2nd jazz album “Spooky Hotel” topped Billboard Japan Jazz Charts and he performed again at Tokyo Jazz Festival in 2013 with his big band and special vocalists, Sheila Jordan and Matt Dusk.

 His latest achievement is the completion of his 4th album “Answer July” which includes collaborations with Sheila Jordan, Jon Hendricks, Lauren Kinhan (New York Voices), Theo Bleckmann and Becca Stevens. It will be released worldwide on July 5th, 2016, along with a world premiere show at Jazz Gallery (NYC) on the same day.

Currently, Oe is producing albums not only for his own jazz projects but also for other talented artists in NYC, as well as touring as the accompanist for Martha Graham Principal dancer Miki Orihara’s solo show, Resonance.

Photos from our NEW Kyogen Play ~ Three Times a Charm,

inspired by stories submitted by San Francisco 4th Grade Students.

Kyogen Double Feature

created in collaboration with the jbbp 4th grade at rosa parks elementary school

Theatre of Yugen is delighted to be working with the 4th grade students and teachers at Rosa Parks Japanese Bilingual Bicultural Program for our first ever Crazy for Words residency!  The culminating performance on May 22 will feature the talents of Sheila Berotti, A. Fenner, Nick Ishimaru, Allie Khori, and Ryan Marchand.  

May 22, 2 pm


2840 MARIPOSA ST, SF CA 94110

Tickets available at the door.

$5-$15 - sliding scale General Admission

FREE admission for students under 12!

Call (415) 621-0507 or email for tickets.



We are thrilled to be presenting a Kyogen double feature. The first play, the classic Fukurou Yamabushi, finds a mountain priest trying to exorcise the spirit of an owl from a young man. The second play is our brand new piece Three Times a Charm, which presents a young student trying to help a Head Master Wizard recover his once mighty strength!



‘Crazy for Words’ is a literal translation of the word ‘Kyogen.’ This residency began with practical experience learning the basic form and feeling of Kyogen, and continued in the Spring with Theatre of Yugen collecting students’ own stories to create a contemporary comic play influenced by traditional Kyogen conventions.


The residency was conceived and developed in association with the U.S./ Japan Cultural Trade Network, which provides leadership, vision, information and support to enhance cultural trade between the U.S. and Japan. Funding was generously provided by the California Arts Council’s Local Impact program, fostering equity, access, and opportunity by providing project and partnership support for small arts organizations.





Mystical Abyss

Presented by Theatre of Yugen

in association with Cleo Parker Robinson Dance CompanY

Written by John O'Keefe

Directed by Yuriko Doi

Presented with generous support from: 

The National Endowment for the Arts & United Airlines

Part dance, part theatre, part computer generated animation, Mystical Abyss is a visually striking live performance piece infused with the potent elegance of Noh theatre and the raw athleticism of modern dance. Mystical Abyss features venerable performers from the traditional Noh theatre of Japan and the Native American performance traditions, set against a stellar backdrop of computer graphic animation projecting symbols of the ancient Japanese Jomon culture and other world-wide symbols of ancient power.  It evokes powerful images of unity across different generations, cultures and traditions focusing on the cyclical story of death and rebirth.




Written by John O'Keefe

Directed by Yuriko Doi

Choreography by Jairo Heli Garcia

Music Composed by Narumi Takizawa and Kenny Perkins

Animation by Taketo Kobayashi and Koya Takahashi

Lighting Design by Stephen Siegel, Adapted by Allie Khori

Costume Design by Risa Lenore Dye

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Tasty Bites

November 6, 8, 13, 14 & 15

at NOHspace

These aren’t your grandmother's clowns. Heck, they aren’t even your mother’s clowns.

Your mother would have disowned them a long time ago!


Showtimes at NOHspace

friday, Nov 6th at 8pm, sunday, nov 8th at 2pm

friday, nov 13th at 8pm, Saturday, nov 14th at 8pm

sunday, nov 15th at 5pm


Clowns On A Stick are three seasoned purveyors of the art of telling a story without words, creating cartoon vignettes that will tickle your funny bone and confirm your suspicions that goofing around is essential to living a good life.

Tasty Bites is Clowns On A Stick’s new show that is made up of several of their best short pieces from their thirteen years of performing together, along with new instances of unhinged frolicks created for this new show. As in any good clown show, despite their best efforts to put their best foot forward, feet get stepped on, death is always one pratfall away, true love is narrowly missed and improbably gained, and all is well that end’s well. From the bumbling waiter who inadvertently thwarts a marriage proposal in “Service, Please” to the desperations brought on by hunger in “The Grand Banquet,” the simple impulses of human nature are given a grand focus. And don’t worry if you recognize yourself in the humbling mistakes and stark embarrassment exhibited by Clowns On A Stick: clowns know better than anyone that we’re all in this together.

Clowns On A Stick has been creating original clown pieces for vaudeville shows since 2003. They have been part of the Chautauqua Revue at the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center since 2003. In 2011, they premiered their first full length show, To Bury A Cat, that they performed over two years in the North Bay, San Francisco, and Oakland.

Tasty Bites is on Tour!

Check out their North Bay & East Bay shows 

Studio Quercus in Oakland - Wednesday, November 18th at 8pm

Occidental Center for the Arts - Saturday, November 21st at 2pm & 8pm

Cinnabar Theatre in Petaluma - Sunday, November 22nd at 2pm 


Tickets to Studio Quercus & Occidental through Theatre of Yugen - Just click on the Buy Tickets button above!

Tickets to Cinnabar Theatre - Please visit their website by Clicking Here 




Theatre of Yugen has been creating theatre since 1978.  Information about many of our older shows can be found in our previous archive.