Nô-Theater performance by Komparu Ensemble at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of World Cultures) in Berlin on January 19 and 20, 2011
January 19, 2011, 8 pm: „Funa Benkei“ (Benkei in the Boat)
January 20, 2011, 8 pm: „Aoi no Ue“ (Lady Aoi)
In Japanese with German subtitles
Tickets available through www.hkw.de
One of the most important forms of Japanese theater will be performed at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin: the Komparu Ensemble, the oldest among the five largest Nô theater schools, will be directed by HONDA Mitsuhiro and perform the pieces “Funa Benkei” and “Aoi no Ue”.
Munch (Gasteig, January 22, 7 pm „Kiyotsune“)
Erfurt (Theater, January 24, 7:30 pm „Funa Benkei“)
Düsseldorf (Schauspielhaus, January 27, 7:30 pm „Funa Benkei“)
Throughout the 14th and 15th century Nô Theater developed to its best known form and has been continuously cultivated as a tradition in Japan ever since. The stylised and minimalist approach – a characteristic of many Japanese arts – is distinguished by sparing gestures and dance movements. The actors wear magnificent, costly costumes and actors playing females and ghostly figures wear masks. The actors are accompanied on stage by four musicians (flutists, drummers) and a choir who explains the previous history, speaks the dialogs and comments on the actual story line.
In 2001 UNESCO awarded Nô Theater the title of “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.”
HONDA Mitsuhiro is heading this German tour and plays the leading role during performances. At the age of three years HONDA was given his first instruction in Nô Theater by his father, a Nô Master (meijin). HONDA is an actor with a wide range of techniques and creative abilities; he has a great knowledge of the classical pieces and presents with his deeply moving interpretations characteristic of the Komparu School renowned for “powerful acting performances paired with grace.”
„Funa Benkei“ (Benkei in the Booat)
The story focuses on Minamoto no Yoshitsune, one of the most famous heroes of Japanese history, his loyal retainer Benkei and Yoshitsune’s mistress Shizuka, whose actor later embodies the spirit of the adversary Taira no Tomomori.
Act 1: Out of feelings of mistrust and jealousy, Yoritomo sends for his more military successful brother in order to kill him. Yoshitsune flees with Shizuka and a few loyal followers from the capital; however on Benkei’s insistence Shizuka returns after an emotional farewell scene.
Act 2: The heroes are threatened on high sea by an army of killed Taira warrior ghosts, vicariously embodied by Taira no Tomomori. Yoshitsune bravely confronts him however first Benkei manages to summon up the protective spirits and finally banish the army of dead soldiers.
„Aoi no Ue“ (Lady Aoi)
oi no Ue is an episode from Genji Monogatari (The Tale of Genji) written by the famous noblewoman MURASAKI Shikibu in the early 11th century.
In a fit of jealousy Princess Rokujô, the former mistress of Prince Genji, transforms herself into a vengeful ghost who follows and tortures Genji’s wife, Aoi no Ue. Ao no Ue’s concerned family asks an abbot to help their daughter. A violent struggle follows abetted by conspiracies. In the end Rokujô is freed from her curse, and dies with peace of mind.
Committee for the German Tour of the Komparu Ensemble in cooperation with the Haus der Kulturen der Welt and the JDZB
The Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan; All Nippon Airways (ANA), Mazda Motors GmbH, German-Japanese Association Berlin und Restaurant Daruma
Embassy of Japan to Germany, Berlin
The performance of the Komparu Ensemble is the opening act of the "Friendship Year" 2011, in which 150 years of diplomatic relations between Japan and Prussia/Germany are celebrated.