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BARD COLLEGE TO HOST JAPANESE CLASSICAL THEATER LECTURE SERIES DURING SPRING SEMESTER Series Continues Tuesday, March 2, with "Finding Inspiration in the Beauty of Bunraku Puppet Theater" at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts

Darren O'Sullivan

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—On Tuesday, March 2, Bard College's Asian Studies Program, Theater Program, and Bard in China will present "Finding Inspiration in the Beauty of Bunraku Puppet Theater," a lecture and demonstration by highly acclaimed puppeteer Basil Twist. The lecture is the third in the Japanese Classical Theater Lecture Series, sponsored by Bard this spring. Martin's lecture takes place at 1:30 p.m. in the Resnick Theater Studio of the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts. Following the lecture, at 4:15 p.m., the Asian Studies Program is sponsoring a tea in the faculty lounge of Kline Commons. The lecture and series, supported by the Freeman Undergraduate Asian Studies Initiative, are free and open to the public.

Drawing from recent experiences in Japan and his own altered-manipulation techniques, Twist will make distinctions between authentic Bunraku performance, Japanese ningyo joruri performance, and western variations of both. The lecture will be accompanied by video footage of Japanese performance excerpts and Twist's original productions. The presentation will allow all students to participate in a hands-on demonstration using original puppets from the production The Long Christmas Ride Home.

Cited as "America’s Best Puppeteer" in Time magazine’s Best of America 2001 issue, Basil Twist is a third-generation puppeteer and a native of San Francisco. He is the director of The Dream Music Puppetry Program at HERE Arts Center and a 1993 graduate of the prestigious Ecole Superieure Nationale des Arts de la Marionnette in Charleville-Mezieres, France.


Twist is the recipient of numerous awards for his creation of The Araneidae Show, including the 1994 Fund for U.S. Artists Participating at the International Festivals Award, a 1995 Manhattan Community Arts Fund Award, and a 1997 Bessie Award. He was a 1998 Drama Desk Award nominee for his work with Theatre Couture’s off-Broadway hit Tell Tale. From 1996-99 he served as master puppeteer for "Peter" in Mabou Mines' OBIE award-winning Peter and Wendy at the New Victory Theatre in New York, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Yale Rep, and internationally at the Dublin Theatre Festival.

Twist is the creator of the critically acclaimed Symphonie Fantastique that ran for a year and a half off Broadway and also in San Francisco, France, Montreal, Washington D.C., London, and Munich. He received a 1999 Drama Desk nomination, a 1999 UNIMA Citation of Excellence, and a 1999 Village Voice OBIE Award. Symphonie Fantastique returned to New York in 2003 as a part of Lincoln Center’s Great Performances series. He has worked and performed with such innovative puppet artists as Roman Paska, Julie Taymor, Theodora Skipatares, Janie Geiser, and at the Atlanta Center for Puppetry Arts as well as with traditionalists of the craft. He has also worked as a puppet builder and director of puppetry for the Village Halloween Parade, Citibank, and the New York Public Library.

The lecture series will continue March 9 with "Kyogen: Classical Comedy and Contemporary Creativity," by Jonah Salz of Ryukoku University; and March 16 with "Bringing the Subject to the Stage in Medieval Japan," by Princeton University professor Thomas Hare. All lectures take place at 1:30 p.m. in the Resnick Theater Studio of the Richard B. Fisher Center of the Performing Arts on the Bard College campus. Lectures will be followed by tea in the faculty lounge in Kline Commons, sponsored by the Asian Studies Program.

For more information, please call professor Chiori Miyagawa at 845-758-7938.

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This event was last updated on 03-11-2004