The Awaji Puppet Theater Company, the foremost practitioners of a form of Japanese puppetry passed down for the last 500 years on the island of Awaji in Japan, is performing at the World Music Hall this weekend:
Traditionally used in religious and ritual rites of appeasement and blessing, these large-scale, intricately designed and costumed puppets are operated by up to three people and capable of incredibly detailed expressions. They weave ancient tales of love and despair, miracles and misfortune, fate and folly, intrigue and revelation–and of course, ritual suicide. With live chanting and shamisen music accompaniment.
About Awaji Puppet Theater
The Awaji Puppet Theater Company, designated an Intangible Folk Asset by the Japanese government, comes to Wesleyan with a stunning program.
The company performs segments from classical dance pieces including Ebisu-Mai (Dance of the Fisherman God) and Hidaka-gawa Iriaizakura, based on the famous folktale of a lovelorn woman and her transformation into a serpent, as well as an episode from the traditional drama Tsubosaka Reigen-ki about the double suicide of a blind masseuse and his wife, and the divine miracle that brings them back to life. This intricate program highlights the Awaji puppet’s elaborate theater sets and props, and the highly refined mechanisms that manipulate the facial expressions of the puppets.
Awaji Puppet Theater stops at Wesleyan on a North American tour sponsored by the New York-based Japan Society.
Date: Saturday and Sunday, February 21st and 22nd
Time: 8 pm
Place: World Music Hall
$18 general, $15 for students, $8 for Wesleyan students