Saturday, March 17, 2012

There's no theatre like Noh theatre

While it wasn't exactly in the great tradition, it was play time again in the icy northern reaches of the Land of the Rising Sun. Have a look at the festivities from March 11th!

Towada Association for International Relations Spring Party
Souvenir, drink, and food booths on the right…
and on the left! Coupons received at the door were used to purchase goods at booths directly rather than the potluck setup of years previous. Good business for all!
Marking the one-year anniversary since the Great East Japan Earthquake that ravaged the Tohoku region, everyone pauses for a moment of silence and prayer.
"Kanpai!" (Cheers!) And the fun begins as everyone toasts each other; juice, cola, or tea in hand.
Mel(issa Tee) kicks off the performances with Japanese traditional dance.

Andrew (aka Kami-sama, or God; ALT from Towada) intros the play, a retelling of how certain animals and one mythical creature important in the Asian calendar came to be selected for the roles they currently hold (i.e. the Chinese Zodiac). 

Here, all the animals come out onstage to view God's message to them, an invitation to a New Year's Day celebration, with early arrivers being given first positions on the calendar lineup. Each of us portrays two animal roles (not all speaking parts), myself taking on that of the snake and reprising again this year as the mouse also! (In truth, I'm the rooster: meticulous and responsible yes, but sometimes overly critical and abrasive, I'll admit.)
Peter (Towada ALT) struts his stuff as the sturdy-backed ox, seen here bracing a scant few seconds before giving the mouse (me) an onstage piggyback ride (drats, no picture!) to the finish line. Thanks pal!
The cast, from left to right: Mel (script and narrator), Anthony (dragon and monkey), this guy (mouse and snake), Andrew (God and cat), Julia (rooster and rabbit), Valerie (sheep and boar), Peter (ox and dog), David (tiger and horse), Vanessa (props).
A group of Japanese moms (and maybe a grandmother or two) puts on a series of lovely Hawaiian line dances.  
The ALTs relax after the performance while everyone hobnobs.
James and Val
Yume and her nezumi-chan ("rat dearest").
I even caught a few moments to try my hand at a shortened version of the fine art of tea ceremony.
From us to you, may Spring be full of color and laughter!
Sayonara, everyone! Thanks for the fellowship!