UP Promotes Japanese Noh Theater

PRESS RELEASE

The University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman will host an international conference with performances titled Japan’s Noh Theater and the Philippine Practice of Western Performance Traditions: A Dialogue on Global Cultural Exchange and Diplomacy on February 10 (Monday) starting at 8:30 am. This will be held at the Aldaba Recital Hall, University Theater, UP Diliman.

Organized by the UP Center for International Studies as part of celebrating UP Diliman month, conference convener Amparo Adelina Umali, PhD said that this activity is the first in the Philippines, and that “this cross-cultural and diplomatic event will gather Noh Grandmasters, performing artists, diplomats, cultural experts, scholars, and students to discuss cultural diplomacy through the performing arts.”

Co-organized with Tsukuba University and Shizuoka University of Art and Culture with the support of the Suntory Foundation, National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Embassy of Japan, Japanese ambassador Toshinao Urabe will grace the event.

The event will examine and showcase Noh Theater, a more than 650-year-old performed art form originating in Japan, as it initiates reflections and dialogues related to the Philippine context of Western performance traditions and their historical artistic development.

The conference will be followed by performances from 7pm to 9pm on the same date at the University Theater Stage. It includes a rare performance of Noh Grandmasters from the Kanze and Komparu Schools of Noh to dance their school’s interpretation of a Shimai (Noh Dance) from the Noh play Hagoromo (The Robe of Feathers).

It will also feature a new interpretation of the UPCIS’ newly-created Shinsaku Noh staging of Amelia Lapeña-Bonifacio’s CCP award-winning play, Ang Paglalakbay ni Sisa, Isang Noh sa Laguna with Noh dances, chants, masks, costumes, and instruments. Sisa will be played by Naohiko Umewaka, an internationally celebrated Noh Grandmaster for Shite (lead actor) of the Kanze school, to be supported by the UPCIS Noh Ensemble composed of UP alumni and student-artists. The performance, which will illustrate the thrust of the conference, was conceptualized by and under the artistic direction of Umali, in collaboration with Danielle Naomi Uy for Noh music and Umewaka for Noh dance and choreography.

Uy, a member of the UPCIS Noh Theatre Ensemble was a recipient of a Jenesys grant from Japan Foundation to study Noh Theatre in Japan. Prof. Umewaka has been a visiting professor of the UP Center for International Studies since 2005, continuously mentoring the UPCIS Noh Theatre Ensemble and training UPCIS students through workshops, training-rehearsals, Skype and FaceTime sessions.

Two Filipino artists, soprano Naomi Paz Sison and pianist Peter Porticos, will also do a rendition of Kay Tamis ng Buhay, from an Opera-adapted Noli Me Tangere to exhibit the artistry of Filipinos excelling in Western classical art forms.

For more information, contact UPCIS at 426-75-73 (telefax) or 0918-9286398.

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