Kyogen! Dance! Drums!
Tuesday, June 4, 2019 - 7:00pm


A PSU Student Performance

Led by Professors Laurence Kominz and Wynn Kiyama

Featuring Japanese guest actor, Shigeyama Ippei   Five short comic kyôgen plays, performed in English by PSU students, one featuringShigeyama Ippei. The play with Ippei is an American premiere.  One play is the first staging of an original play written by a PSU undergraduate.  All are hilarious farces, full of surprises, hyperbole, and physical slapstick. The PSU Taiko Ensemble joins the show for rousing, up tempo drumming and the always charming and popular shishimai lion dance.

Tickets:     Adults $12         Seniors and Staff $10        Students $5

Purchase tickets through the PSU Box Office (503) 725-3307

Shigeyama Ippei

Shigeyama Ippei is a member of the leading kyogen acting family in the Kansai (Western) region of Japan. The Shigeyama family has been performing kyogen comedy for fourteen generations. Ippei is 38 years old and a very popular performer.  In addition to acting and teaching kyogen, he appears regularly in NHK dramas on TV, including a widely viewed morning serial drama. In 2011 he was awarded the Kyoto Young Artist Prize. At PSU he will perform the lead role in Inaba-do. It will be in Japanese with English subtitles.

Busu (Delicious Poison)

The most popular and most frequently performed play in the repertory. A wealthy man has received a valuable shipment of sugar from the Ryukyu Islands.  He needs to go away on business and is afraid that his mischievous servants, Taro and Jiro, will eat the sugar while he is away.  So he tells them that the sugar is a lethal poison called “Busu.”  The shenanigans begin after the master leaves on his business trip.

Bonsan (The Bonsai Thief)

Presented in Japanese

Collecting bonsai trees is the most popular hobby in the city.  But it’s an expensive hobby. Our hero is a poor man with a stingy rich friend.  He has begged his friend to give him just one small bonsai tree but the rich friend won’t part with anything.  So the poor man decides to sneak into his rich friend’s house in the middle of the night and take some without permission.

Oh, Deer!

(an original play by PSU undergrad, Hannah Dimond)

A wealthy couple has an adored daughter of marriageable age.  But lately the girl is suffering from a strange affliction: she has sprouted deer horns on her head!  No suitor could possibly want a bride with such a disfigurement.  Can her horns be hidden?  Can she be cured?  What to do, what to do!?

The Deva King Statue (Niô)

Two low-life gamblers, down on their luck, try one last con scheme to “make it big.” One gambler has acquired the accouterments of a Buddhist statue of a Deva King.  They dress one of the gamblers as a statue.  He stands stock still in a fierce statue-like pose and his friend goes around the city recounting the miraculous sudden appearance of the statue and the statue’s miraculous efficacy.  It can grant the wishes of any who pray to it.  Worshippers gather, leave donations, and pray to the miraculous Deva King.  How will this turn out for the gullible faithful, and what will become of our con men?

Inaba-do (Inaba Temple) 

(with Shigeyama Ippei as husband) 

USA premiere bi-lingual, with supertitles

A husband is very unhappy with his wife.  She is domineering and she drinks too much. He sends a letter of divorce to his wife when she’s away visiting her parents and then goes to Inaba-do Temple to pray that the deity there present him with a new and better wife.  He sleeps the night at the temple, hoping for an oracular dream.  Enraged by her husband’s intentions and tactics, his wife knows exactly what he will do next. She hurries to the temple and finds him sleeping there. Whispering in his ear, she crafts his oracular dream….  In kyogen plays husbands can NEVER outsmart their wives…..

PSU Taiko Ensemble

Isami Goma
Written by Daihachi Oguchi of Osuwa Daiko, this enduring taiko composition depicts stout-hearted warriors on horseback.

PSU Taiko member Kaya Hellman used Middle Eastern rhythmic patterns to create an excited “call” with unique verses and an energetic refrain.

Shishimai (Lion Dance)
Lion dances occur in Shinto rituals and theater genres (noh, kabuki, bunraku), but are most commonly experienced at New Year’s and harvest celebrations.

Composed by Kristy Oshiro and Karen Tingey of Portland Taiko, this energetic work takes its name from a shout (kiai) commonly found in taiko performances.

Presented by the Portland State University Center for Japanese Studies, the School of Music, and the Department of World Languages and Literatures
With support from the United States-Japan Foundation