„Forget the theater and look at the Nô, forget the Nô and look at the player, forget the player and look at the heart, forget the heart, and you will understand Nô.“
Nô master Akira Matsui gives insights into the 600-year-old art of Nô theater with the two-part Nô Performance. Akira Matsui performs together with the actress Marion Niederländer and John Oglevee as Kotsuzumi / Chorus. At the beginning, Akira Matsui dances the classical Nô „Takasago“, the twin pine, followed by the one-act „Rockaby“, which Samuel Beckett dedicated especially to the Nô Theater.
Matsui wants to show the mutability of the No, from the traditional to a contemporary style.“I try to keep the Nô’s style intact, but I want to perform Nô in a different way than has ever been done before, I want to confront Nô with new expressive possibilities.“ Akira Matsui
“Takasago,” one of the masterpieces of Shūgen-noh (Nô for celebration), has been widely appreciated since the Muromachi era. In this piece, the pine occupies an important role. From ancient times in Japan, people have believed that deities dwell in the pine tree and often called it “Chitose (thousand years)” in Japanese poetry because of its evergreen nature. The pine represents the celebration of longevity. It also has different sexes, which reminds people of husband and wife. This play is one of the best of the masterpieces, persisting in the idea of blessing and celebration, extremely bright, and full of the atmosphere of nobility, dignity, and purity. The audience can enjoy this piece by simply seeing, listening, and feeling it. Those in the audience are able to experience purification through seeing Takasago.
Rockaby by Samuel Beckett, dedicated to the japanese Nô Theatre, shows an old woman dying, totally in black. She is sitting in the rocking chair of her deceased mother. The rocking chair moves by ghost hand. Her face is pale, her hairs are grey her eyes enormous. The stage is empty and dark. On stage is Marion Niederländer, totally involved in the text by Becket, and Akria Matsui, giving physical expression in Nô style as ghost to the process of dying.
Performance in english language