SORYA! 2014: We are Still at it! is Theatre of Yugen's annual presentation of Kyogen plays performed in English. This year, with the Founder of Theatre of Yugen, Yuriko Doi performing, SORYA! 2014 is a three exclamation point moment in our 35th Anniversary Season - YIPPEE!!!
Tracing its history back over six hundred years in Japan, Kyogen comedy invokes laughter that is based on auspicious words, satire, and humor, and uses Japanese feudal society and folk tales as its main themes. An "art of words," its cheerful mood and vocal production evokes a joyful laughter that leaves a good aftertaste. Come see what audiences last year hailed as "true, dedicated art!" "sublime" "super swell" "amazing and educational" "so much fun" "charming and magical" and "very funny and unlike any other play I've been to." And why one member stated that Theatre of Yugen was "a delight to have in San Francisco!"
SORYA! 2014 will be an extraordinary highlight in the Company's history as Founder Yuriko Doi will perform in the physically demanding, touchingly poignant and highly unusual Kyogen play Kawakami (Kawakami, The Headwaters). This will be the premiere of an original Theatre of Yugen bi-lingual translation and the first time Founder Doi has performed with the Company since 2008's Candide, or Optimism. Program A will include the Kyogen classic Kaki Yamabushi (Persimmon Mountain Priest), also translated into English (with a smattering of old Japanese); and Program B will include Kaki Yamabushi (Persimmon Mountain Priest) and Shimizu (Spring Water) for our San Francisco audiences to enjoy.
This annual Kyogen presentation is also a wonderful opportunity to learn about this engaging and historical theatre form. Each performance includes a brief but highly informative explanation of Noh and Kyogen, the traditional stage and its history, as well as a demonstration of how the traditional costumes are worn.
Kaki Yamabushi (Persimmon Mountain Priest) (performed at each performance): A thirsty Yamabushi (mountain priest) decides to steal a couple of ripe persimmons from a Farmer's tree. The Farmer comes along and catches the Yamabushi who futilely tries to hide behind the tree's branches. When he finally falls out of the tree, he tries to avenge his pride on the Farmer, but the tables are turned on the priest whose magic is not as powerful as he'd thought!
Kawakami (Kawakami, The Headwaters) The gods promise a blind husband the return of his sight if he will divorce his wife. He readily agrees, but when he sees his wife, she is angry with him for promising to divorce her. She convinces her husband that the gods are too kind to take his sight away again and that he needn't get a divorce. He agrees with her and becomes blind again almost immediately. The wife is sorry for her selfishness and promises to take care of her blind husband as she has always done. She takes his hand and they exit, resigned to their fate.
Shimizu (Spring Water) A servant, Taro-kaja, is told to fetch water in a special wooden bucket for his Master's tea ceremony. He shirks his duty by telling his master that he was attacked by a demon before he could reach the spring. The master goes to fetch his treasured bucket, supposedly eaten by the demon. In fear of being found out, Taro-kaja dons a demon mask and scares up some better working conditions for himself. In the end, The Master discovers the truth and Taro-kaja is revealed as a lazy and irresponsible servant!
(FYI: SORYA! as a phrase doesn't have much meaning, but is a word used to emphasize excited feelings. We translate it as "That's it!" or "You got it!")
Sheila Berotti, Sheila Devitt, Yuriko Doi, Alexander Lydon, Karen Marek, Jubilith Moore, Lluis Valls
SORYA! 2014 is performed in traditional Japanese costume with minimal lighting and a traditional matsubame or pine-tree backdrop as the set.
Kaki Yamabushi and Kawakami
Sunday March 16th
Saturday March 22nd
Monday March 24th
Kaki Yamabushi and Shimizu
Saturday March 15th
Monday March 17th
Sunday March 23rd
2840 Mariposa street
San Francisco, CA 94110