Visualizing Japanese Theater (VJT), presented by Carleton College, is an interdisciplinary celebration of Japanese traditions in drama, dance and visual art. Japanese theater, in its two classic forms, is rooted in ancient religion (Noh) and buoyed by popular culture (Kabuki). Visualizing Japanese Theater weaves the classic with the contemporary by adapting the highly stylized traditions of Noh and Kabuki with avant-garde expression and by exploring visual dimensions of theater culture.
This series of events is a collaboration between Carleton College and a variety of academic departments, professional artists (Eiko Otake – recently featured at the Walker Art Center; Bidou Yamaguchi, a Noh mask maker), playwrights (two-time Joyce-Award winner Naomi Iizuka) and directors (Chicago-based Sean Graney) and Twin Cities-based arts organizations.
· Lecture: Making Noh Masks, with Bidou Yamaguchi, Mon., Feb. 14
· Exhibition Tour with Bidou Yamaguchi, Tues, Feb. 15
· Japanese Mask Making Workshop, Wed., Feb. 16
· The Last Firefly performances, Carleton Players Production, directed by Sean Graney, Feb. 18 – 20; Feb. 25-27
· Playwrighting workshop with Naomi Iizuka on Sat. Feb. 19
· The exhibit will include works from the Carleton College Art Collection and those on loan from local collectors, as well as the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts
Production of The Last Firefly
Student actors who will bring the production of Naomi Iizuka’s The Last Firefly to life for the first time all participated in a two-week Kabuki theatre workshop, led by David Furomoto, an expert on traditional Japanese theater and other Asian theater forms at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Sean Graney directs, two-time Joyce Award winner Naomi Iizuka’s script for The Last Firefly, which introduces youth audiences (specifically designed for children 5 to 8 years old) to Japanese literature, folktales and fairytales, which Iizuka grew up listening to.
Sean Graney, Directing the Workshop
Sean Graney’s directorial work includes The Hairy Ape (Goodman Theatre), Edward II (Chicago Shakespeare), Mystery of Irma Vep and What the Butler Saw (Court Theatre, Chicago, IL), The Elephant Man (Steppenwolf Theatre Co), A Hundred Dresses, Honus and Me and Hana’s Suitcase (Chicago Children’s Theatre). Sean is the Artistic Director of The Hypocrites, in Chicago, IL, where his works have included: Oedipus, The Three Penny Opera, Miss Julie, Mud, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Angels in America, The Glass Menagerie, Happy Days, Henry the Fifth, Blood Wedding and The Cherry Orchard. Sean is a NEA/TCG Career Development for Directors Program recipient (2004-2006) and has received the Joseph Jefferson Citation for Direction of Equus and Machinal. Sean has been named Chicagoan of the Year (in Theatre) by the Chicago Tribune and Chicago’s Best Avant-Garde Director in Chicago Magazine’s Best of Chicago.
Naomi Iizuka, Playwright
Naomi Iizuka was born in Tokyo and raised in Japan, Indonesia, Holland and Washington D.C., has produced and developed works for theaters across the country including the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, Huntington Theatre, Actors’ Theatre of Louisville, Berkeley Repertory Theater, the Joseph Papp Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival, the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s “Next Wave Festival” and the Goodman Theatre. She is a member of New Dramatists and has been a recipient of the Alpert Award, a Whiting Writers’ Award, a Rockefeller Foundation MAP grant and an NEA/TCG Artist-in-Residence grant. In 2004, Iizuka received her first Joyce Award in Theater and was commissioned by the Goodman Theatre. Her play Ghostwritten, inspired by the classic children’s fable of Rumplestiltskin, premiered in 2009. Iizuka’s Anon(ymous) was commissioned by CTC and contemporized Homer’s The Odyssey, following the path of a teenage refugee fleeing civil war.