On Friday and Saturday, August 3 and 4, the Noh Training Project (NTP), an international program hosted by BTE and Bloomsburg University, will perform the classic Noh drama Atsumori in Bloomsburg Town Park, at 8pm. Preceding the performance each night at 7pm will be two Noh excerpts featuring visiting Japanese professionals, and a recital of this year’s NTP students. Atsumori will be performed with projected English supertitles; the recital and Noh excerpts will be untitled. Free translations of the play are available at the Bloomsburg Public Library. On August 7th at the Bloomsburg Public Library, the Socrates Café will meet to discuss themes of war and forgiveness as expressed in Atsumori.
NTP is a three-week intensive workshop in the movement chant, and music of Noh. It draws participants from around the world, and is the only such program in the western hemisphere. BTE member Elizabeth Dowd is NTP’s Producing Director; now in its 18th year; she is also a member of Theatre Nohgaku with whom she has toured Europe and Asia in modern English-language Noh. Ensemble member James Goode is a three-time participant in NTP.
Says Elizabeth: “Whether they know it or not, BTE audiences are certainly seeing the influence of Noh training on my work – from the stillness of Sister Aloysius in Doubt, to how I directed Jim as the ghost of Mr. Woolsey in Ghost Writer. It’s great to be able to share with them the source material in the form of ATSUMORI”. James adds to that: “Absolutely, my Noh experience was put to good use in Ghost-Writer, as well as portraying the Ghost of Hamlet’s father in Hamlet. Plus, it’s great training in listening; there are subtle shifts of tempo, and always a forward moving pulse, even in the super slow sections.”
On Friday, Elizabeth will perform the lead role in an extended Noh excerpt with instruments. James will be in the chorus for the second excerpt, and also be in the chorus for the full Noh drama, Atsumori.
On Saturday, James will perform his recital piece. Each will be in the chorus for a different duo of Noh excerpts. Elizabeth will be in the Atsumori chorus to follow.
Atsumori tells the story of a priest, who makes a pilgrimage to a battlefield where, in a previous career as a soldier, he had killed the young nobleman Atsumori. He encounters some grasscutters. One of them reveals himself as the spirit of Atusmori, and re-enacts the battle when he was killed.
More information about Atsumori and Noh can be found on the websites for BTE.
[box type=”shadow”]Photo via Flickr.[/box]