Noho. An area of Manhattan? Well, yes and no. Or should I say noh? Confused? Let me explain...
Noho is a group founded 17 years ago with the aim of interpreting western texts through techniques and structures used in noh and kyogen, two traditional forms of Japanese theater. The end result is an interesting blend of dance, comedy, and tragedy which allows audiences to think about classic works of both cultures in new and exciting ways.
Language is another element used to great effect. The performers are both English and Japanese speaking, and this mixture of languages adds to the combustible blend of styles, ideas and influences.
Noho regularly draws from writers as diverse as Yeats, Shakespeare and Woody Allen. They have performed in the US., Hong Kong, in Tokyo and Kansai. Productions have also been staged at the Edinburgh Fringe and the Avignon Theater Festival.
The group is providing a diverse repertoire for their first Kyoto performance in four years on Dec. 11 at the Kongo Noh Theater. Among the performances are Noho's classic interpretations of Beckett's Act Without Words , and Rockaby as well as the bilingual kyogen play Henpecked Husband . Also being presented is a new production entitled Limbo , based on a poem by Irish poet laureate Seamus Heaney. Limbo features noh, kyogen and nihonbuyo dancers. The performances are directed by Jonah Salz, Associate Professor of Comparative Theater at Ryukoku University. Tickets are ¥2,000 in advance, ¥2,300 at the door. Student tickets are ¥1,500 in advance and ¥1,800 at the door. Reservations can be made by calling Noho's office at 0775-43-7875 (English) Information is available in Japanese by calling The Kongo Noh Theater at 075-723-7719. The Kongo Noh Theater is just north of Shijo Street up Muromachi. One Block east of Karasuma in downtown Kyoto. The best subway station is Shijo-Karasuma.
--By Carter Witt