Japan Society Announces the 2010-2011 Performing Arts Season

Japan Society announces its Performing Arts Season spanning Fall 2010 through Spring 2011. The upcoming season features a variety of arts disciplines, from the spellbinding audiovisual concert datamatics [ver. 2.0] by Ryoji Ikeda, to the work of renowned actor Yoshi Oida in his comic one-man play Interrogations: Words of the Zen Masters, to the always-anticipated annual Contemporary Dance Showcase. The centerpiece of the season is the New York debut of Kyoto-based Kashu-Juku Noh Theater, offering audiences the opportunity to experience the 600 year-old tradition of noh and kyogen performed back-to-back. The upcoming season also offers a staged reading of the hit Japanese comedy Trance by Shoji Kokami, in an English translation directed by OBIE-winner Ken Rus Schmoll.


OFFSITE EVENT: Ryoji Ikeda’s datamatics [ver. 2.0]

Co-presented with French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF)

Friday, September 10 & Saturday, September 11 at 8:00 pm

Florence Gould Hall, 55 E. 59th Street btw Park & Madison Aves.

Tickets $18/$12 Japan Society & FIAF members

A mesmerizing audiovisual concert by one of the most radical and innovative artists of the international electronic music scene, Paris-based Ryoji Ikeda, winner of the Ars Electronica Golden Nica prize for his experiments in the field of digital music. Part of FIAF’s fourth annual Crossing the Line Festival, datamatics [ver. 2.0] is a concert blending an immense soundscape with astonishing visuals projected on a cinema-sized screen. To generate the hypnotizing music and images, Ikeda feeds raw data through a customized computer program. Part performance and part sound environment, datamatics [ver. 2.0] has been described by INTO Magazine as “reminiscent of constellations or some kind of galactic space, exploring the infinitesimal possibilities of numbers – like stars in the universe.Presented recently at venues such as the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Itaú Cultural in Sao Paolo and AI Hall in Japan, datamatics [ver. 2.0] offers New Yorkers a chance to discover an artist who has made an international splash. For tickets, call Ticketmaster at 212-307-4100 or visit www.crossingtheline.org.

In addition to the concert performances, audiences are invited to visit the FIAF Gallery for Ryoji Ikeda’s exhibition, the transcendental, September 11-October 16, FREE.

Yoshi Oida’s Interrogations: Words of the Zen Masters

Friday& Saturday, October 8 & 9, 2010, at 7:30 pm

Tickets $28/$23 Japan Society members

Witness a master at work as revered actor Yoshi Oida returns to Japan Society. Recognized for his 30-year collaboration with legendary British director Peter Brook and in recent years for being one of the most sought-after opera directors around the world, Oida brings his solo masterpiece Interrogations to the Japan Society stage. Interrogations is a comic play depicting a test given by a Zen master to one of his students. The test, consisting of a series of questions framed in koans (riddles) that the student must answer correctly in order to “graduate,” continues for several days, designed to determine if the student has reached enlightenment. Since its premiere in 1979 at the Avignon Festival, this one-man play with live musical accompaniment has been hailed as Oida’s masterwork and has been performed worldwide, with recent stops this summer in Austria and Barcelona. Oida’s uproarious performance, acclaimed as “charismatic, provocative, funny,” by The Village Voice, is accompanied live by Berlin-based experimental musician Wolf Dieter Trüstedt.

In conjunction with the exhibition, The Sound of One Hand: Paintings and Calligraphy by Zen Master Hakuin, October 1, 2010-January 16, 2011, at Japan Society Gallery.

Play Reading Series: Trance by Shoji Kokami

Monday, November 15, 2010, at 7:30 pm

Tickets $10/$8 Japan Society members

OBIE Award-winning director Ken Rus Schmoll leads a cast of American actors in this staged reading of Shoji Kokami’s Trance, an absurdist comedy in which three friends unite under bizarre circumstances 15 years after they were in school together. As the handsome but troubled Masa battles delusions that he is the emperor of Japan, the psychiatrist Reiko and the drag queen Sanzo struggle to bring him back to reality while trying to curb their own long-repressed desire for him. This irreverent yet poignant comedy drew strong reviews in its English-language premiere at London’s Bush Theatre, with the Financial Times noting, “Trance is quirky, engaging…raising questions about identity, perception and social alienation.” English translation by Amy Kassai.

14th Annual Contemporary Dance Showcase: Japan + East Asia

Friday & Saturday, January 7 & 8, 2011, at 7:30 pm

Tickets $23/$20 Japan Society members

The Contemporary Dance Showcase presents exciting adventurers in dance from Japan and East Asia in one of the most anticipated dance programs in New York. This year’s lineup includes:

● Tokyo choreographer Ryohei Kondo, founder of the popular all-male dance group Condors, performing with a select group of young dancers in the high-octane Goats Block the Road, Part III: Goat Stampede, with live music by J-pop musician Miu Sakamoto, daughter of famed composer Ryuichi Sakamoto;

● Award-winning dancer/choreographer Maki Morishita, with her mischievous solo Tokyo Flat. Morishita has danced for Kim Itoh and Tsuyoshi Shirai and has performed internationally in more than seven countries and 20 cities since her 2003 solo debut;

● Seoul’s Ahn Ae-soon Dance Company performing Bul-ssang, a satiric take on Buddhist rituals fusing several forms of Asian traditional dance – including Indian kathak, Korean Jindo drum dancing and Chinese martial arts – with pop and street styles. Ahn Ae-Soon is the grand prize-winner of Les Rencontres Choreographiques de Seine-Saint-Denis;

● From Taiwan, an endearingly oddball and intimate male-female duet, From Here… to the End of the Rainbow, by choreographer Yu Yen-Fang, participating choreographer in the Bates Dance Festival and the American Dance Festival and collaborator of Bebe Miller Company.

Kashu-Juku Noh Theater

Presented in conjunction with Carnegie Hall’s JapanNYC Festival

Thursday-Saturday, March 24-26, 2011, at 7:30 pm

Tickets $65/$55 Japan Society members

**Special Opening Night Reception tickets including prime seating and reception with cast are $90 ($75 Japan Society members). Limited availability. (Nonmember tickets available December 1.)

Encounter the theater form preserved since the 14th century with the Kyoto-based Kashu-juku Noh Theater. Led by Katayama Shingo of the prestigious Katayama noh family, the company is joined by kyogen actors from the prominent Kyoto-based Shigeyama family, providing a rare opportunity for American audiences to experience the 600-year-old tradition of noh and kyogen performed back-to-back. Performed in Japanese with English subtitles., The program featuring noh and kyogen with live music includes:

● Mai-Bayashi: Literally “dance & music,” a mai-bayashi is a solo dance, without costume or mask, depicting the climax of a famous noh play. This program features the ferocious battle scene from Yashima.

● Kyogen: Boshibari (Tied to a Pole). Tied up by their master, two servants are thwarted in drinking his sake. How will the two rascals get a hold of their beloved beverage again?

● Noh: Aoi no Ue (Lady Aoi). In this famous adaptation of a story from the classic novel The Tale of Genji, the jealous Lady Rokujo–who had sent a spirit to possess Genji’s wife Aoi–is confronted in combat by a Buddhist monk intent on saving her soul.

A pre-performance lecture is held one hour before all performances, free to ticket holders.


Breathing Zen: Missoku Breathing & Shakuhachi Master Class

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Missoku Workshop: 3:30-4:30 pm / Shakuhachi Master Class*: 4:45-6:45 pm

Tickets: Missoku Workshop $15/$10 Japan Society members; Shakuhachi Master Class $35/$30 Japan Society members; Missoku & Master Class $40/$35 Japan Society members

Akikazu Nakamura, a master of the shakuhachi method pioneered long ago by traveling Zen monks, introduces participants to missoku, the ancient Japanese breathing technique once practiced by these monks in music and meditation. Nakamura, who trained with shakuhachi master Katsuya Yokoyama, follows the missoku workshop with a master class for shakuhachi players. Observer tickets may be available for these workshops after regular tickets have sold out. *Master Class participants may rent a shakuhachi by calling 212-715-1258.

Eiko & Koma: Delicious Movement Workshop

Saturday, December 4, 2010, 1:00-5:00 pm

Tickets $40/$32 Japan Society members

Join MacArthur “Genius” Fellows Eiko & Koma for their legendary workshop. Grounded in their choreographic and performance techniques, the workshop is appropriate for anyone who loves to move, or wants to love to move. Eiko & Koma guide participants through a series of exercises designed to increase focus and coordination, offering pure pleasure in movement. Observer tickets may be available for these workshops after regular tickets have sold out.

Noh Workshop: Movement & Musical Instruments

Saturday, March 26, 1:00-5:00 pm

Tickets $50/$42 Japan Society members**

In conjunction with the presentation of Kashu-juku Noh Theater, delve into the centuries-old practice of noh training. Company members lead exercises in traditional noh movement and introduce the traditional noh instruments kotsuzumi (small hand-drum) and fue (flute). Bring a pair of socks. Max 24 people.

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