In a brand new contemporary theater production, traditional Japanese Noh theater will interpret Cordel literature, a Brazilian literary art form, in a multimedia production in Tokyo this fall.
Called “Hell Says Noh,” the production will showcase Noh Master Naohiko Umewaka, a 14th generation Noh theater performer, who will play the role of Brazilian folk hero and gangster Lampiao.
“Hell Says Noh” will blend cultural traditions from Japan and Brazil—including martial arts Karate and
Capoeira—with multimedia technology.
The play comes at a moment in Japan-Brazil relations, as both countries prepare to transition the Olympic and Paralympic Games from Rio de Janeiro, the host city for the 2016 Games, to Tokyo, the host city for the 2020 Games.
In the production, Lampiao, played by Master Umewaka, will attempt to enter hell, only to be stopped by Satan whose words depicted in digital form via projection mapping will be interpreted by Satan’s assistant, performed by Kai Hoshino.
Thereafter, a battle will ensue between Lampiao and Satan’s doorkeepers, played by two martial art practitioners: Yoko Mori, an expert in Capoeira, and Miki Nakamachi, a champion Karate player.
In the backdrop, projection mapping will accompany live Brazilian percussion music, played by Japanese percussion group Barravento, with live vocals by Brazilian singer Nero Niwa.
“Hell Says Noh,” a radical reinterpretation of literary masterpiece “A Chegada de Lampião no Inferno,” by
José Pachêco, is directed by Soraya Umewaka, herself a Noh researcher. Master Umewaka and his daughter
Soraya are part of a 600 year old Noh theater family tradition.
In between performances, visitors will be able to enjoy a talk session with Master Umewaka in a cultural workshop to learn about Noh, Karate, and Capoeira.
The event is on November 23 and November 24 at 2:00pm and 5:00pm