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Noh-Inspired Musical SUNWATCHER Leads Ancram Summer Play Lab Series

Work in progress showings of SUNWATCHER are scheduled for Friday, May 27 and Saturday, May 28 at 8 pm, and Sunday, May 29 at 3 pm.

Ancram Opera House in Ancram, NY, starts its 2022 Summer Play Lab Series May 27-29 with a work-in-progress presentation of songs by the artists of SUNWATCHER, a Noh-inspired piece directed by Nana Dakin, with music by Tidtaya Sinutoke and book and lyrics by Isabella Dawis. The Summer Play Lab residency provides theater artists of all practices a space to develop innovative new performances and connect with the community in meaningful ways.

A new Summer Play Lab (SPL) Bundle ticket purchase gets tickets to one performance each of SUNWATCHER and Celeste Lecesne's POOF!, which runs July 8-10, for just $30 - a $10 savings off of tickets purchased individually. This offer is only good through the run of SUNWATCHER, so buy now and save.

"The SUNWATCHER Team was a part of our 2021 Summer Play Lab, and we invited them back this year to continue development on this innovative, multi-layered piece," AOH co-director Jeffrey Mousseau explained. "We recognize that complex works need extended time frames in order for the projects to come into fruition."

An experimental chamber musical inspired by classical Noh theatre, SUNWATCHER intertwines the story of two women -- the astronomer and "hidden figure" Hisako Koyama (1916-1997), and the Japanese sun goddess Amaterasu.

Hisako was a self-taught solar observer who drew the sun in painstaking detail every day for 40 years, a landmark achievement that ranks among the likes of Galileo. SUNWATCHER celebrates this underrecognized Asian woman in science and her extraordinary dedication to ordinary observation.

In World War II Tokyo, despite the threat of firebombing from the US, Hisako looks through her telescope every day and sketches the spots on the sun's surface. Her observations lead her to the sun goddess Amaterasu, a powerful deity besieged by her violent brother. Hisako's experience of war collides with creation mythology, as both goddess and mortal are tested by tragedy and despair.

Work in progress showings of SUNWATCHER are scheduled for Friday, May 27 and Saturday, May 28 at 8 pm, and Sunday, May 29 at 3 pm at the Ancram Opera House, 1330 County Route 7 in Ancram, NY. The $20 admission supports the Summer Play Lab residency program.

The SUNWATCHER Team will also be leading a free Creative Movement Workshop at AOH on Saturday, May 28 from 10 am-noon. Director Nana Dakin will guide participants through a series of simple exercises to awaken physical awareness. Next, the artists will talk about their creative process and the inspiration for SUNWATCHER, including scientific information about the Sun and sunspots. Composer Tidtaya Sinutoke and librettist Isabella Dawis will share some of the music they created based on this sun data. Participants will then be guided by Dakin on how to use these scientific facts and musical material as inspiration to create their own one-of-a-kind SUNWATCHER movement. Enrollment is limited and registration is required.

To purchase tickets, a SPL Bundle, workshop registration, and more information visit www.ancramoperahouse.org.



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