FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 23, 2018
THEATRE OF YUGEN
A Noh Christmas Carol
December 7 – 30, 2018
Fridays at 7pm, Saturdays at 2pm & 7pm, Sundays at 4pm
Industry Preview Thursday, December 6 at 7 pm
Theatre of Yugen
2840 Mariposa st
SAN FRANCISCO, CA—By popular demand, Theatre of Yugen is bringing back its critically acclaimed work, A Noh Christmas Carol! Originally premiering in 1993, this adaptation, written by Theatre of Yugen Founder Yuriko Doi, utilizes the traditional Japanese theatre forms of Noh, Kyōgen, Kabuki, and the avant-garde dance form Butoh to retell the Dickens classic.
The story is reimagined in early Meiji era Japan, the parallel period to Victorian England. Ebezo Sukurooji [Ebenezer Scrooge] receives a visit from his deceased business partner Jakube Mashima [Jacob Marley] warning him to change his miserly ways or be doomed to linger forever as a hungry ghost. The miraculous intervention of the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet-To-Come take Sukurooji on a wondrous journey through life and time in a profound attempt to remind him of the value of life beyond business and profit.
Theatre of Yugen is elated to be bringing this thoughtful, intricate, magical play back to the stage to start its 40th season, centered on community and interconnectivity. At its core, Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is not just about one man remembering the joy of one day of the year, but as he proclaims, “I will hold Christmas in my heart throughout the year!” His lesson is that we must always care for one another; always value our human connections beyond the trappings of the world. Salvation is found by accepting one’s place in the human race; community must be embraced to escape eternally wandering the Earth as a hungry ghost.
This powerful story of redemption, with it moments of otherworldly magic and mystery, make for a perfect parallel to classical Noh drama; the living and the ethereal coexist in a delicate and beautiful liminal space that so perfectly evokes Yūgen, or profound grace.
Artistic Director, Nick Ishimaru says, "The world of Noh is unlike anything we get to experience in Western theatre. It is a liminal space where spirits come and go, and the corporeal interact freely with the phantasmal. As a theatre form, it relies on physicalized conventions to contain this liminal space. As my teacher Yuriko Doi always says, Noh and Kyogen are about the art of the internal, rather than the external. The word “Yugen” itself describes an ephemeral beauty that is felt, not seen. It is often described in imagery, like a flight of geese appearing and disappearing behind the clouds, or the sun sinking behind a flower-clad hill."
Ishimaru continues, "Utilizing Yugen's signature Japanese theatre styles and vast stock of traditional costumes, we present a visual and musical spectacle that gives new life to this classic Christmas story. With fresh new designs, reimagined staging, and a powerful ensemble cast of five, A Noh Christmas Carol is a production not to be missed!”
What the Press is saying:
“…mysterious, suspenseful and alive with possibility… A Noh Christmas Carol gives you permission to take your time, to meditate, to absorb — exactly what the holiday season is supposed to give us yet so rarely does.”
“Nick Ishimaru's production spotlights unique Japanese phrases. Years of training by the five member cast is evident in every body movement and fan execution. The haunting chained Mashima is a feat of bare courage! “
Karen Carlson, Marinscope Papers
“With a clever production team and skillful cast, Ishimaru has created an evocative version of Dickens’ tale based on a poetic 1993 adaptation, with some familiar dialogue, by Theatre of Yugen founder Yuriko Doi. … [A] calming, satisfying East-meets-West journey — a welcome respite from the holiday bustle.”
Simone Bloch (Sukurooji) is a French-American performer who has danced and acted in numerous shows in the greater Bay Area since 2001. In France, she has performed with various experimental companies, including with the Noh /Kyogen Master Jungi Fuseya. She is also a certified Somatic Movement Educator and teaches French and German.
Zoe Chien (the Men) holds a BFA in Theatre from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. She originated the role of Angie in Lucy Thurber's play East Coast Curriculum when it premiered in New York City in 2017. Since moving back to California in June, she has been in Elizabeth Flanagan's Frodo Lives with 3Girls Theatre Co, and Besties with Left Coast Theatre Co, as well as the SF Olympians Festival. She is currently in rehearsals for Gary Soto's The Afterlife with SF Youth Theatre. Zoe is thrilled to make her Theatre of Yugen debut. MDT Agency, zoechien.com.
Steven Flores (Mashima/Kurogo) is a bi-coastal actor recently transferred from Oregon after wrapping Manahatta world premier play at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He is a descendant of the Comanche, Mexican Mestizo bloodline, and medicine worker in study. Other credits: Last of the Caucasians (The Barrow Group Theater Company, NY) Delusion: The Blood Rite (Haunted Play), Fenton in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Chino in West Side Story, (Marysville Community Auditorium); the Prince in Rumpelstiltskin (The Acting Company, CA). Public performance art: The “Universe” in The Invisible Realm Art Show, The “Skinny Man” in Pikroy Minya Gipsy’s, Blank in“Blank” the Slender Man, TV/Film: The Monster Project, It’s Always Sunny. Education: Herbert Berghof Studio, NY.
Mikah Kavita (The Women) is an actress and teaching artist in the San Francisco Bay Area. She holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Acting for the Stage and Screen from Azusa Pacific University. She is happy to reprise her role as The Women in Theatre of Yugen’s A Noh Christmas Carol. Previous credits include dirty butterfly (Anton’s Well Theater Company), KML Presents Barb (Killing My Lobster), Voices From The Edge (Cultural Odyssey with Rhodessa Jones), Jubilee (B8 Theatre Company). You can find her on Instagram @mikahkavita.
Rachael Richman (the Christmas Ghosts) is an actor, writer, and theater-maker. Recent credits include Man of La Mancha at Custom Made Theatre (Dulcinea), The Speakeasy at the Palace Theatre (Charlotte), and The Brothers Karamazov (Alyosha) in Hudson NY. Past New York area and international credits include: The Public Theater, La Mama, The Whitney Museum, Flea Theatre, HERE Arts Center, New Dramatists, PS 122, Art Farm, Bristol Valley Theatre, and the Art Monastery Project in Italy.
Directed by Nick Ishimaru
Lights by Cassie Barnes
Costumes by Liz Brent
Sound by Ella Cooley
Sets by Josh McDermott
Music by Zhoushu Ziporyn
ABOUT THEATRE OF YUGEN
Founded in 1978 by Yuriko Doi, and is dedicated to the preservation of traditional Japanese theatre forms of Kyogen and Noh, as well as continuing to innovate and intertwine tradition with new forms and approaches, contributing to the conversation around modern theatre.