Category Archives: Countdown to Cordelia

Noh and the Singularity of the Moment

The telephone rings.  The hospital is calling. “You had better come now.” You rush to the bedside of a person you love.  Time is short.  She is still aware, but it is as if she were being pulled away into … Continue reading

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At Dover

Finally we are at Dover.  Can you hear the wind, the waves, the seabirds calling?  I, for one, am ready to lay down my parcel, sit on this rock, and wash my feet. After walking this road for nearly a year—can … Continue reading

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Cultivating the Flower: The Importance of Training

“Train, train, train,” says Yugen founder and teacher Yuriko Doi in a voiceover that occurs multiple times in Getting to Noh Yugen, the production with which we began our 2010-11 season.  Among the themes of that show was that a … Continue reading

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Mlle. Chorus: Sheila Berotti

One of the rewards of following an ensemble theater over many years is the chance to see core company members extend their boundaries by taking on different roles, both in shows and in the organization.  For example, when I saw … Continue reading

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Interlude with Lluis Valls

In a traditional Noh play, Acts 1 and 2 portray a single central character, and often only a single episode, of a rich, large literary work with which the audience is presumed to be familiar.  In Act 1 especially, the … Continue reading

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Cordelia’s Face: Hideta Kitazawa’s Mask for Act 2

 “I have gazed upon the face of Cordelia!” No, this is not the message Jubilith Moore wrote to me on the day after the mask arrived.  Jubilith is not so pompous.  (Note to Jubilith:  Do not aspire to become a … Continue reading

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Fife and Drum and Shruti Box: The Music of Cordelia

All lines in a Noh play, except in the interlude, are sung or intoned in a stylized way, rather than spoken.  The vocal styling is a sort of chant that takes many years of training to perform proficiently.  The shite–in … Continue reading

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Man Made of Words: Risa Dye’s Costume for the Fool

A Fool was the king’s personal entertainer.  Although he probably displayed some skills we would now associate with clowning or physical comedy, the most important part of his job was the juggling of words.  A Fool could tease the king, … Continue reading

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Silence and Regret

The calamity that befalls Lear, his family, and his society is famously triggered by Cordelia’s inability or unwillingness, in Act 1, to set her love to words: “What shall Cordelia speak?  Love and be silent.”  (Ehn has “do,” not “speak”) … Continue reading

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Honkadori and the Immensity of Intertextual Space

Honkadori is a concept of Japanese poetics introduced in the 12th century, several hundred years before the development of Noh.  It describes a practice of including images or lines from classic poetry in a new poem, in such a way … Continue reading

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