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By Yukio Mishima
English translation by Leon Ingulsrud
Directed by Leon Ingulsrud
Created and performed by SITI Company
Hauntingly enigmatic, subtle and beautiful, Yukio Mishima’s Hanjo reaches back into the deep past of ancient myth and brings into the modern world, a story that is part fairy-tale, part surreal drama. Using a 14th Century Noh play, which Zeami Motohiko based on a Han Dynasty Chinese poem, as a springboard, Mishima deals with issues of gender, identity and how we play roles within each other’s lives. Written in the 1950’s, the startling contemporary clarity with which Mishima evokes this poem for the stage, allows it to transcend era and land in our time with stunning relevance.
SITI’s production of Hanjo is a bi-lingual and cross-cultural collaboration working with deep levels of artistic inquiry. It offers a fascinating way to introduce American audiences to Noh, weaving together traditional forms with modern issues of translation, be they linguistic, intercultural, inter-era, inter-gender, and ultimately interpersonal translation.
Stephen Duff Webber
Christian Frederickson on the viola
Scenic & Lighting Design by Brian H Scott
Costume Design by Mariko Ohigashi
Sound Design and original composition by Christian Frederickson
Production Stage Manager, Ellen Mezzera
More about the play
Written in 1955 by Yukio Mishima, Hanjo is based on a 14th Century Noh play by Motohiko Zeami, which was in turn based on an ancient Chinese poem in which a discarded woman is described as a “hanjo” – a summer fan, which is carelessly discarded in autumn. Zeami’s Noh play is one of the very few plays in that tradition with a happy ending, but Mishima complicates and darkens the story, not only by updating it to 20th Century Japan, but by denying the central character, Hanako, the reunion she longs for.
Early development of Hanjo occurred during SITI Work/Space, SITI Company’s in-house residency program for new play development, which was supported by the National Endowment of the Arts, the Howard Gilman Foundation, and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
Additional support was provided by the Japan Foundation through the Performing Arts JAPAN program.
Production design support provided by the Edith Lutyens and Norman Bel Geddes Design Enhancement Fund, a program of the Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York (A.R.T./New York)
About SITI Company
Founded in 1992 by Anne Bogart and Tadashi Suzuki to redefine and revitalize contemporary theater in the United States, NYC-based SITI Company is a collective of theatre artists, dedicated to creating and presenting work that is constantly evolving as it moves through time and responds to a changing world.