By Kelly Pyzik
This Sunday, September 16, the Izumi Ashizawa Performance theater troupe, along with two current Grinnell students, will be performing in the Flanagan Theater at 7:30 p.m.
The performance is entitled “Dreams in the Arms of the Binding Lady” and is a devised piece based on a traditional Japanese story.
In the story, a woman transforms into a spider in order to lure men into her web. She then weaves a web around them to trap them in.
The performance will involve puppetry, dance, and music.
The two students taking part in the performance, Devon Gamble ’15 and Kate Whitman ’14, will begin to train for the performance once the troupe arrives on Saturday evening in an all-night technical rehearsal. Currently, they know nothing about the piece or performance aside from what is shown in the trailer for Izumi’s tour.
“We talked about it in the department and felt that the two of them would be good for the troupe and performance,” said Costume Designer Erin Howell-Gritsch.
Izumi Ashizawa Performance started in 2002 and has since gained international recognition from festivals such as the New York International Fringe Festival, Man.In.Fest Festival in Romania, Fajr Theatre Festival in Tehran, Iran and for artistic director Izumi Ashizawa’s Neo-Noh trilogy and other productions.
Grinnell was able to bring Izumi Ashizawa Performance to campus through a connection with Coe College’s theatre department and Coe’s department head, Dennis Barnett.
“He kind of has his feelers out there and he’s seen a lot of these performers, so when he thinks someone is really outstanding, he lets us in on it and sees if we want to be involved with it,” Howell-Gritsch said. “From what I’ve heard from other performances, students were pretty amazed by the piece. I think people will really enjoy it … it’s going to be really exciting.”
Howell-Gritsch also noted that it’s a first for the theatre department.
“In our department, we haven’t had any Japanese theater,” Howell-Gritsch said. “We’ve had a lot of Chinese theater in the past, Chinese opera, but not Japanese theater.”
In addition to the Sunday night performance, there will also be a movement workshop with Ashizawa in which students can learn about Noh, Kabuki, Buraku, and other traditional Japanese theater forms. The workshop will take place in Flanagan Theatre on Sunday at 1 p.m.
For a preview of Izumi Ashizawa Performance, visit https://vimeo.com/44948946. Tickets are available at the Bucksbaum Box Office.