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Darren O'Sullivan
Series Continues Tuesday, March 9, with "Kyogen: Classical Comedy and Contemporary Creativity" at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—On Tuesday, March 9, Bard College's Asian Studies Program, Theater Program, and Bard in China will present "Kyogen: classical comedy and contemporary creativity" a lecture by professor Jonah Salz of Ryukoku University. The lecture is the fourth 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.

In his lecture and demonstration, Salz—a theater director, teacher, translator, and scholar based in Kyoto, Japan—will explore classical Japanese comedy in traditional plays as well as in recent experiments with Shakespeare and Beckett. Kyogen is stylized traditional farce that has been performed alongside noh plays since the 14th century. In kyogen, lazy servants, arrogant lords, greedy priests, quack wizards, and shrewish wives get their hilarious comeuppance. Kyogen has been compared to commmedia dell'arte in its rhythmic vocalization, stock characters, masks, and stylized pantomime. This lecture-demonstration will utilize video and an experiential workshop to introduce kyogen's fascination as quintessential actor's theater.

Salz is a 2003-04 faculty fellow at Wesleyan University’s Center for the Humanities, researching comparative acting and aesthetics. He is professor and founding member of thefaculty of intercultural communication, a 45-person college at Ryukoku University, the oldest, largest Buddhist university in Japan. There he has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in Japanese, in traditional Japanese theater, Euro-American theater, comparative theater, and intercultural performance. In addition, he has taught Japanese film, anthropology, and theatre at Kansai University of Foreign Studies, Doshisha University, New York University, Portland State University, and Franklin & Marshall College. He received a Ph.D. in performance studies from New York University.

Salz has written about intercultural theater theory, Beckett in noh interpretation, cross-cultural actor training, and the challenges of translating comedy. He is theater editor for Kansai Time Out. Salz has translated, with Laurence R. Kominz, Yukio Mishima’s modern noh play Yuya; Issey Ogata’s monodramas, with Tomoko Onabe; and Takeshi Umehara’s "super-kyogen" trilogy, also with Onabe. He has translated and coordinated the subtitles and narration for This is Kyogen and This is Noh videos. Currently, he is working on DVD subtitles for Mansai Nomura’s staging of Rashomon.

In 1981, Salz co-founded the Noho Theatre Group, which employs noh and kyogen techniques and spirit to interpret western texts. Since its founding, Noho has produced 50 plays, ranging from Shakespeare to Woody Allen, and commissioned musicians and choreographers for dances. He was also the founder of the Traditional Theatre Training’s Kyoto Performance Institute, which aims to immerse non-Japanese and Japanese dancers, actors, directors, and teachers in physical training and recitals in noh, kyogen, and nihonbuyo classical forms.

The lecture series will continue March 16 with "Bringing the Subject to the Stage in Medieval Japan," by Princeton University professor Thomas Hare. In addition, "Japanese Noh Drama in Performance," a lecture and demonstration by New York University professor Carol Martin, which was canceled on February 24, has been rescheduled for Tuesday, April 13. 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