Yugen Theatre Series

This series explores the pursuit of Yugen in theatre.

Photo from This Lingering Life.
Ghostly Profound
Essay

Ghostly Profound

A Thing of Unknowable Depth

25 July 2014

I have been terrified to even put down the word 幽玄. I had to ask Google to write these characters for me. According to Google Translate, yugen means “subtle and profound.” Looking at the unfamiliar characters, I would have guessed “ghostly.” For the first time in decades, I looked for the Japanese dictionary that I brought with me when I left Japan alone at age sixteen.

Yugen Unforeseen
Essay

Yugen Unforeseen

6 June 2014

Some might point out that Noh lacks the excess of Gothic. There is no visual, aural, or excess of story, but one cannot deny the emotional excesses of the tortured soul, the ecstatic god, the deranged woman. The emotional excess in Noh is so restrained that it feels, somehow, more Gothic than, say, the ravings of a mad scientist.

O Sweet Nothin’
Essay

O Sweet Nothin’

The Yugen Way and TOY (Theatre of Yugen)

28 May 2014

So "Noh" is generally a move from praxis to peace, an elegant elision of motive to arrive at what has happened and what always happens.

Photo from A Minor Cycle: Five Little Plays in One Starry Night.
Baby Stepping My Way to Yugen
Essay

Baby Stepping My Way to Yugen

20 May 2014

I was young, knew nothing and was impressionable. I remember being fond of Yuriko’s direction. She would say things like, “go forward from here” while pointing to her heart. No one had ever given me direction like that before. That first play was the beginning of my romance with Noh (performed in Japan since the thirteenth-century, it’s the world’s oldest, continually performed, masked lyric drama) and I fell hard.

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Series are collections of content curated around a specific theme. HowlRound works with curators to develop topical pieces meant to spotlight current events and happenings within the commons.