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Power And Folly: Japanese Satire For The 21st Century
Katie Patrick in Two Mountain Priests Credit: John Wells
Katie Patrick in costume

Katie Patrick in Two Mountain Priests Credit: John Wells

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Department of Theatre and Dance presents its Mainstage Season finale, Power and Folly: Japanese Satire for the 21st Century, April 14–22. Performed in a 600 year-strong comedic form called kyōgen, which is still popular today, this show is directed by Professor Julie A. Iezzi, in collaboration with three visiting master kyōgen artists from Japan.

The performances will be comprised of two traditional kyōgen pieces and one world premiere featuring contemporary themes. First, Two Great Lords tells the story of a pair of feudal lords who are outwitted by a passerby. The second is the English-language premiere of Two Mountain Priests, written by guest kyōgen artist Dōji Shigeyama, in which rival mountain priests try to outdo one another in a whimsical contest of prayer. The world premiere of Derailed, written by UH Mānoa PhD candidate Matthew Kelty, is set in Oʻahu and shines a satirical light on the folly of the Honolulu Rail Transit Project and its impact on the island and its people. The production is united by a theme of power and folly as they both thrive in an environment of overconfidence and pride.

Kyōgen is perhaps the least familiar Japanese theatre form to Western audiences. Finding roots in the 13th century, kyōgen was largely used as a comedic entertainment for commoners at festivals. However, as the form developed, it came to have renown and respect, eventually embedding itself within Noh plays, not unlike the satyr plays of ancient Greece. However, while satyr plays were incredibly bawdy, kyōgen plays were comic and satirical, poking fun at those in power.

Due to construction at Kennedy Theatre, Power & Folly will be hosted by Bakken Auditorium, located at Mid-Pacific Institute.

Zheng and Yoo in costume on stage

Left to right: Qiaoer Zheng and Jennifer M. Yoo in Two Great Lords. Credit: Jessica Jacob.

Performance Information


  • April 14, 15, 21 and 22 at 7:30 p.m.
  • April 22 at 2 p.m.


  • Bakken Auditorium, Mid-Pacific Institute


  • $25—Regular
  • $22—Seniors, Military, UH Faculty/ Staff
  • $20—UHAA
  • $15—Students
  • $8—UH Mānoa students with valid ID

Tickets to Power and Folly: Japanese Satire for the 21st Century can be purchased online, by phone at (808) 944-2697 and at the Kennedy Theatre Box Office during sale periods. The box office is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday during show weeks, with extended hours on performance dates. Ticket prices include all service fees.

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