Shizuka Mikata/ Kyoto Art Center

Tsuki machi

The refined body of Noh theater transcends time and addresses the present.

This original Noh piece is inspired on a play by one of the main figures of contemporary theater, Masataka Matsuda, about the real incident of the kidnapping and murder of a young boy, and on Kafka’s In the Penal Colony. This performance is a recreation for theater stage of its first version, premiered at Kyoto Biennalle in 2003 as an open-air play. The story begins with a wanderer buddhist monk’s arrival at a decayed bridge. An old woman who appears at the site enlightens him about the story of the bridge: She is to soothe the spirits of the criminals who seek to cross the bridge unto this world. The old woman, not long for this world, asks the priest to take over this painful task, gives him her “kesa”, and expires. It is then that the spirit of a man appears and asks the priest to tell him what his sin, carved upon the skin on his back, is. Each letter of the countless dreadful crimes there engraved, seems to burn like fire and hurt bitingly. The priest, however, tells the man that those are not his sins, but those of an ancestor… What is a sin? What is expiation?

Oe Nogakudo

Shizuka Mikata

Mikata is a shite (principal actor) of the Kanze School of Noh. He was born in 1966 as the eldest son of Noh performer Ken Mikata. In 1971 he debuted in Kurama Tengu, and had his first leading role in 1978 in Shojo. He then became an apprentice of Noh master and National Living Treasure Yusetsu Katayama, in 1986. He perfomed Okina in 1990 and became independent in 1991. Besides tackling with great ouvres such as Shojo Midare (1996) and Dojoji (1997), Mikata has appeared in NHK TV music program “Juteion Special” in a joint performance of Noh and synthesizer. In his permanent quest for the contemporariness of Noh theater, he directed and performed a duet of Noh and modern dance at the Alti Buyo Festival in 1998. He has also gathered vast experience in the international scene, with performances of Takigi Noh in New York (1995) and at Washington Japan Festival (1994). From 1996, to create his original Noh works, he organizes “Theater Noh” and performs once or twice a year. Mikata has been awarded the Kyoto City Emerging Artist Award in March 2001 and the Kyoto Prefecture Cultural Award in January 2004. In 2006 he published the book An Invitation to Noh.

Direction, Text, ScriptShizuka Mikata
Original ScriptMasataka Matsuda
CastShizuka Mikata, Harumichi Kawamura, Shigeru Shigeyama and others
Produced byKyoto Art Center
Co-Produced byKyoto Experiment
Supported byJapan Arts Found
Co-Presented byKyoto Experiment
Presented byKyoto Arts and Culture Foundation