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Japan Society Presents Virtual Kyogen Performance Double Feature: Mansai Nomura's Kyogen

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The live Q&A will take place on Japan Society's YouTube channel.

Japan Society has launched its Fall 2020/Winter 2021 Performing Arts Season with a series of online events, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

In this double-feature program, Japanese megastar and kyogen actor Mansai Nomura presents a popular piece from the traditional repertoire entitled Shimizu (Spring Water) and Mansai's own creation, for which he collaborated with noted writer Seiko Ito, a new kyogen piece titled Kagami-kaja (A Mirror Servant).

This presentation launches online on Wednesday, December 9 at 8:30PM EST with a watch party full of facts and live commentary about this 700-year-old comedic art form and its stylized performance.

On Saturday, December 12 at 9:00PM EST, Mansai will sit down with Japan Society's Artistic Director Yoko Shioya for a live Q&A to discuss how he is striving to create new work for this traditional art form. The live Q&A will take place on Japan Society's YouTube channel.

Both offerings are FREE but registration is required at for the kyogen performance double feature.

The story of Shimizu (Spring Water) is a much-ado-about-nothing parable surrounding the preparation of a tea ceremony, which were very popular in late 15th century Japan. It depicts a servant who weaves a fantastical tale about an ogre at the nearby spring to avoid having to fetch water for his master's tea ceremony. In his hyperbolic retelling, the servant quickly finds himself mixed up in the imaginary life of this monster at the spring.

The second and main piece in this double feature, Kagami-kaja (A Mirror Servant), was written by the multi-talented author Seiko Ito, as commissioned by Mansai Nomura, with Ito penning a script for Mansai to direct. The story begins as a lighthearted exchange between a servant and his reflection that takes a turn for the absurd when the servant finds himself trapped in the mirror. This work premiered in 2000 at The National Theatre in Tokyo.

Each piece will be preceded by an introduction from Mansai, recorded specifically for this online viewing. This double feature will be performed in Japanese with English subtitles.

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