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Media Release

Department of Theatre and Dance
University of Hawai'i at Manoa
1770 East-West Road
Honolulu, HI 96822

Contact: Jessica L. Jacob, Publicity Director
Phone: (808) 956-2598
Fax: (808) 956-4234
Box Office: (808) 956-7655 (v/t)
email: theatre-pr@hawaii.edu

February 15, 2004
IMMEDIATE RELEASE

KABUKI IN ENGLISH: "NOZAKI VILLAGE" (SHINPAN UTAZAIMON) AT KENNEDY THEATRE

The University of Hawai‘i at Manoa’s Department of Theatre and Dance presents the Kabuki comedy-drama "Nozaki Village," translated into English and directed by Dr. Julie Iezzi. In this popular play, a country girl, a city girl, two young suitors and a conniving clerk vie for love - some win, some lose. Director Iezzi, the newest member of UHM’s internationally acclaimed Asian Theatre faculty, is directing her first fully-produced kabuki play. She is joined by a host of kabuki master teachers from Japan and Hawai‘i to bring "Nozaki Village" to life on the Kennedy Theatre Mainstage. Performances of "Nozaki Village" will be April 23, 24, 28, 29, 30 and May 1 at 8 p.m., May 2 at 2 p.m. The Saturday, May 1st performance will be interpreted in American Sign Language.

Two distinctly different acts form the story. In the first act, a handsome young lad named Hisamatsu (played by Chris Doi) is apprenticed to the Abura Pawn Shop and is in love with Osome (Lei Sadakari), the daughter of the shop owner. However, the greedy Abura head clerk, Kosuke (Alvin Chan), hopes to marry Osome himself and become the master of the shop. Kosuke schemes to make it appear that Hisamatsu has stolen a large sum of money from the shop. Hisamatsu is dismissed from service and sent back to his foster father, Kyusaku (Gilbert Molina), in disgrace. Hisamatsu leaves a letter of separation, advising Osome to marry another suitor, Sashiro (Colleen Lanki).

The second act takes place in Nozaki Village, near Osaka. Kyusaku pays off Hisamatsu's debt of stolen money and attempts to lift everyone’s spirit by going forward with Hisamatsu’s marriage to Kyusaku’s step-daughter, Omitsu (Fan Xing), to whom he has been betrothed since boyhood. However, Osome pursues Hisamatsu to Nozaki Village and the two lovers determine that they will commit suicide together rather than marry another. Kyusaku intercedes and convinces them to promise that they will give each other up, but Omitsu realizes they still plan to die. She sacrifices her own love of Hisamatsu, cutting her hair and becoming a nun to free Hisamatsu, allowing him to honorably be with Osome.

Originally adapted from a bunraku puppet play, "Nozaki Village" is known for its symphony of sound and a spectacle of vision and features a double hanamichi which brings the drama right into the audience. Assisting Director Iezzi, who also directed last year’s Kyogen production, "Laughter for All Time", the Hawai‘i’ production team includes: assistant director Allyson Paris, choreographer Onoe Kikunobu with assistance from Onoe Kikunobukazu - who is also performing on takemoto shamisen, and musical director Ricardo Trimillos of the UHM Music faculty. The musicians of the Nagauta Ensemble, performing in the play, are lead by Kineya Wahatsu. George Wago serves as the production’s expert wig master.

Kabuki experts from Japan, actors Nakamura Gannosuke and Nakamura Jojiro are working intensively on actor training while musicians Kashiwa SenjirÇ (percussion) and Toyozawa Tokijaku (takemoto) assist in the preparation of the percussion and takemoto narrative ensembles. Technical advisor Hamatani Hitoshi has been in residence at UHM since January to assist graduate student set designer Daniel Gelbmann.

This production and the Kabuki Training Program are made possible through the generous sponsorship of the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, U.S. Department of State for a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence Grant, the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, the UH Manoa Chancellor’s Office, the UH Japan Studies Endowment, the Freeman Foundation Grant for Undergraduate Asian Studies Initiative, Aston Coconut Plaza Hotel, Aston Hotels & Resorts Hawai‘i, and Outrigger Hotels and Resort.

Tickets for "Nozaki Village" go on sale Monday, April 5th at the Kennedy Theatre Box Office. Tickets may be purchased in person or charged-by-phone at 956-7655 (voice/text) Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Ticket prices are $18 regular, $15 seniors, military, UH faculty/staff, $12 non-UHM students, $3 UHM students with validated Spring UHM photo ID. Also beginning Monday, April 5th, tickets will be available through Ticketmaster at all Times Supermarket Stores, by phone at 1-877-750-4400, and online at www.ticketmaster.com. (Service charges apply to Ticketmaster sales.) For more information, charge-by-phone, or disability access, call the Kennedy Theatre Box office at 956-7655 (voice/text).

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"Nozaki Village"

When: April 23, 24, 28, 29, 30, May 1* @ 8pm

May 2nd at 2pm

* interpreted in American Sign Language

Where: UHM's Kennedy Theatre Maistage

$18 regular,

$15 seniors, military, UH faculty/staff

$12 non-UHM students,

$3 UHM students with validated Spring 2004 UHM student ID

 

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