The genius of classical Noh thespian Soichiro Hayashi

Malaysians have the rare opportunity to experience the centuries-old art of Noh, and the genius of classical Noh thespian Soichiro Hayashi, at a special one-night-only show at Dewan Filharmonik...

Malaysians have the rare opportunity to experience the centuries-old art of Noh, and the genius of classical Noh thespian Soichiro Hayashi, at a special one-night-only show at Dewan Filharmonik PETRONAS this 26 September. One of the oldest forms of theatre, Noh has been performed for more than 600 years since the Muromachi period (circa 1336 to 1573). In 2008, it was designated as a UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage in recognition of its intrinsic beauty and influence on various genres of the stage.

Today, only five schools—Kanze, Hosho, Komparu, Kongo, and Kita—remain that continue to train principal actors, otherwise known as shite. Each institution has a number of filial clans whose members uphold the techniques and philosophy of their forebearers. Trained from childhood, Soichiro is the 14th-generation Noh master of the Hayashi dynasty, one of only five extant traditional Kanze families in Kyoto.

Along with his troupe, Soichiro is set to present Funa-Benkei (Benkei in a Boat), a particular crowd favourite among the some 240 plays that make up the current national repertoire. Widely adapted within Noh and Kabuki circles, the tragic tale recounts the separation of two lovers and a sea battle with an army of ghosts.

Noh Performance 'Funa-Benkei' poster
Soichiro will also conduct a workshop on the morning of the same day, as well as a private recital at the residence of the Japanese ambassador the previous evening.
Noh Performance ‘Funa-Benkei’ is jointly organised by The Japan Foundation and the Embassy of Japan in Malaysia in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of Malaysia-Japan diplomatic relations.

 

The event is open to the public. Tickets are priced at RM80 for adults and
RM50 for students and JFKL library members.
For more information, visit jfkl.org.my or contact The Japan Foundation, Kuala
Lumpur at press@jfkl.org.my and 03 2284 6228.

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