Abandoning some of the more traditional traits of Japanese Noh, American Noh accepts the practice of stylized movements of the hands and feet, but builds upon them to create a hybridization of Noh found only in the West. Pulling from the rich stylized techniques of the Japanese Theatre, American Noh seeks to incorporate the training and movement found within the teachings of Tadashi Suzuki. Considered one of the greatest modern theatre practitioners within the world of movement training, Suzuki pulled from the Japanese theatre tradition of Noh to investigate how the movement of feet and bodily gestures connected to the illusion of reality.
Japanese Noh Theatre is a quiet, beautiful work of art in masks, kimono and tabi socks. Traditional Noh is an all male production telling folk-tales that are well known in Japan. The productions are silent except for music and the stories are told using physical expression.
However, it is hard to make Noh translate well for an Americanized audience, said Chapman University’s Tamiko Washington, associate professor of theatre.
Her solution: take off the masks, let the actors talk and incorporate women into the storytelling. She did that with “A Night of Noh Theatre,” a production she orchestrated...