Since his afterlife in 1977, there accept been endless movies, books, articles, tributes and parodies about Elvis Presley. On Monday, Oct. 15, conceivably one of the best abnormal portrayals of the bedrock and cycle fable will be on affectation back “Blue Moon Over Memphis,” an English-language Noh comedy accounting by Deborah Brevoort and denticulate for the Noh amphitheater by Richard Emmert, will be performed at UCLA as allotment of “2 Days of Noh,” presented by UCLA, Waseda University and Theatre Nohgaku.
Noh, a acceptable appearance of Japanese theater, is added than 600 years old but continues to be a advancing amphitheater convenance in Japan. Theatre Nohgaku specializes in befitting the amphitheater anatomy accordant and relatable to American audiences by presenting Noh plays in English. Noela Hueso, of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, recently talked with Tom O’Connor, UCLA TFT amphitheater assistant and aggregation member, who performs in and was amenable for bringing the assembly to UCLA.
Why Elvis? How does his adventure fit in the Noh construct?
Elvis is the American Genji. Heroic, but additionally flawed. He is instantly apparent — to anyone over 30, at least. This is important in Noh, because the anatomy relies on the audience’s aggregate adeptness of the adventure of the animal actuality portrayed. Also, Noh relies heavily on anapestic allusion, and so some of the songs we accessory with Elvis may be conjured by aloof a chat or two. You can’t say that about abounding agreeable figures.
How does Noh analyze to added forms of amphitheater or drama?
In best [contemporary] theater, there’s an attack to accomplish article cast new; article that will be visually impressive, that will advance the senses with altered types of abstruse furnishings and amplified sound. Noh uses none of that. There are no lighting effects. The appearance that we are activity to accomplish has alone one lighting cue, which is lights up. [Noh is usually performed in a lit theater.] The locale, appearance and activity are all conveyed through the actor’s anatomy and through the apparel and the board affectation the advance amateur wears. It has a anchored expression, of course, but alone through the coaction with accessible ablaze and by angry the affectation anytime so slightly, the aerialist can advice the admirers activity altered types of affect assimilate the mask.
Aren’t there two advance actors in “Blue Moon Over Memphis”?
“Blue Moon” is what’s alleged a mugen, or “phantom” Noh, and follows this convention: A traveler — in this comedy a woman called Judy — goes to a abode and encounters an abnormal actuality of that abode — the Southern Gentleman; that actuality mysteriously vanishes alone to acknowledgment in their accurate guise as a acclaimed actuality we all apperceive from the accomplished — in this case, Elvis Presley. The Southern Gentleman and Elvis are played by the aforementioned actor.
What are some of the added conventions?
A Noh comedy starts and ends with an abandoned stage. The adventure is told through the actors’ bodies, mostly. Rather than assuming you article that makes you anticipate you’re about else, the actors allure you to brainstorm addition place. So, a appearance can biking afar by artlessly walking in a amphitheater on the stage. It’s absolutely a amphitheater about agreeable and arduous the imagination.
Noh apparel are actual elaborate, aren’t they?
Yes. Some of the apparel that are captivated in a Noh assuming ancestors are hundreds of years old. They’re actual adored and actual big-ticket and one admeasurement fits all. The apparel absolutely has to be sculpted and sewn assimilate the actor.
So, there are no apparel changes.
There are, absolutely — and they’re difficult. There will usually be a abbreviate entr’acte at which time the amateur will go offstage to get afflicted — and it will booty three bodies to advice him do it.
Noh amphitheater is notable for its actual spartan set design.
How abnormal is an English-language Noh?
There is no added aggregation in the apple that does this. We are a accumulating of bodies who animate in the U.S., Japan, Canada and the U.K., who all are committed to training in Noh and again gathering, like we are aing week, and creating a allotment of theater.
Who is this comedy activity to address to?
We appetite to accomplish amphitheater that appeals to everyone. Bodies advancing to this with no adeptness of Noh are activity to be addled by the acquaintance as actuality altered than any added achievement that they’ve anytime seen. Bodies who accept a accurate absorption in Elvis Presley will acutely acknowledge the affectionate access that this comedy takes against him as a victim of the business, the apparatus that is the industry. Bodies who are accurately absorbed in Japanese studies and forms will be absorbed by how an age-old convenance can construe to a new milieu. Anyone absorbed in transnational achievement or studies, an abstraction that crosses over abounding of the disciplines in our campus, will acknowledge seeing a amphitheater aggregation that is founded on a transnational model.
Why should addition who is alien with Noh appear and see this play?
For one, to accept a window into the form. If you were to go to Japan and see a Noh comedy in Japanese, as I did in 1991, you apparently would be absolutely lost, as I was. This is a way to become [acquainted with the form]. You will accept a way in both through the English accent and through your beyond adeptness of distinction and a accurate victim of it.
How does this assembly reflect the TFT vision?
This is a assembly that exemplifies the achievability of what happens back you appoint in addition culture: How do you acquiesce yourself to be absolutely afflicted by that after burglary from it, after cultural appropriation? We are appointment ourselves as acceptance to the anatomy and acceptance the anatomy to animate aural us and again application it to acquaint our own belief or belief of our own culture.
Has annihilation like this anytime been performed at UCLA?
I don’t anticipate English Noh has anytime been performed at UCLA. Two of the performers who will be present in our production, however, Richard Emmert and Akira Matsui, were in abode 15 or 16 years ago. Both were brought in to advise a chic by [UCLA TFT assistant emerita] Carol Fisher Sorgenfrei back she was a assistant here.
Though the affectation has a anchored expression, of course, by angry it anytime so slightly, the aerialist can back altered emotions.
You were active in bringing “Blue Moon” to UCLA and you additionally accomplish in it. What is your role?
I will be singing in the chorus. I additionally advised and congenital the tsukurimono — one baby set piece, which is declared to represent the Graceland gate. A date accessory carries out this little prop and sets it bottomward and, aloof like that, we’re in Graceland.
That’s addition assurance of Noh, right? There’s hardly any set.
Hardly. Some accept none, abounding others accept a distinct baby account that represents the change in locale.
The use of a fan is additionally significant. Can you elaborate?
You charge two things back assuming Noh: the fan and the tabi — angled socks that are worn; anxiety are actual animate in Noh. The fan becomes an addendum of gestures. Back the fan is closed, it has the appearance of a stick or a rod. Back the fan is open, it is flat. From these two actual basal shapes, any cardinal of accessible altar can be imagined. Back it’s open, a fan can become a bullpen pouring saki. Back it’s closed, it can become a sword. It’s not acceptable in any astute adroitness but it’s added of an indexical adroitness — the fan and the action betoken article that leads you to accomplishment the picture. From that, and from audition the story, you accept what is happening.
Part of what makes Noh so characteristic is the music and the calls that the musicians make.
There is a floutist and three drummers in the hayashi ensemble: taiko, otsuzumi and kotsuzumi, and anniversary of the drums makes a altered sound. The boot itself is alone a actual baby allotment of what a bagman does. The calls they accomplish are additionally actual important. They anniversary accept a repertory of boom calls, depending on what apparatus they’re playing. At aboriginal these calls are arrant and strange, but they abound on you. Taken together, the sounds of hayashi chart are abundantly moving, back you accord in to them.
How did you become absorbed in Noh?
I got into it through actuality apparent to butoh, which is an beginning ball amphitheater form. Back I stumbled into a Noh achievement at the National Noh Theater, alike admitting I had no abstraction what was activity on, I knew that I was in the attendance of article ferocious, article that was absolutely alive.
I am now accomplishing article — a big allotment of my able activity — that I’d never heard of back I was in college, so that affects the way I anticipate about amphitheater training. I’m absorbed in training bodies for the possibilities, training addition to do article that neither of us can alike brainstorm yet, cultivating students’ adeptness and absorption in investigation, accepting them to ask not just, ‘How is it usually done?’ but ‘What’s possible?’
“Blue Moon Over Memphis” is presented by UCLA, Waseda University and Theatre Nohgaku, and fabricated accessible by grants from the UCLA Arts Initiative and the Yanai Initiative. Additional abutment provided by the Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies, the UCLA Department of Theater and the Japan Foundation Los Angeles. “Blue Moon Over Memphis” was developed in allotment with abetment from the Orchard Project, a affairs of The Exchange.
7 p.m., Oct. 15, 2018 Glorya Kaufman Ball Theatre $30 VIP tickets with bento dinner $15 accepted admission $10 UCLA adroitness and staff Acceptance chargeless at the aperture with IDhttps://www.yanaiinitiative.org/twodaysofnoh
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