Old and New, East and West
With Izumi Ashizawa
This lecture explores how Japanese traditional theatre is reinterpreted and applied to Izumi Ashizawa's cross-cultural productions. We will examine the styles of Noh, Kabuki, and Bunraku, then compare and contrast Ashizawa's "The Blue Rocks," "Gilgamesh," "Minotaur," and "I Cried Because I Had No Shoes Until..." Through this case study, we will think about the future of the theatre.
Izumi Ashizawa is an artistic director of Izumi Ashizawa Performance. She serves as an Associate Professor in Devising Theatre and Performance Art in the Department of Art at State University of New York at Stony Brook. Originally founded in 2002, Izumi Ashizawa Performance explores global diplomacy through theatre, especially in the form of physical story-telling and unconventional puppetry and object animation. Based on Japanese performance techniques, Ashizawa’s devising theatre techniques and acting method are taught around the world; her past commissioned collaborative projects occurred in the U.S.A., Japan, the U.K., Canada, the First Nation in Quebec, Turkey, Iran, Norway, Austria, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Romania, Poland, Russia, Estonia, Australia, the Cayman Islands, Greece, Cyprus, and Peru. Examples of Izumi Ashizawa’s original theatre works: The Blue Rocks (Sibiu International Theatre Festival in Romania, Fadjr International Theatre Festival in Iran, ManInFest in Romania, Arion Tokyo Summer Music Festival in Japan, International Arts and Ideas Festival and NYC International Fringe Festival in the U.S.A., Documentary and Excerpt of this show were broadcast in National Public Television of Japan BS "Today's World"), Bakeneko Kyosokyoku (Novo-Siberian Transit, Russia), Gilgamesh (Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, and USF, U.S.A., Excerpt from this show along with Ashizawa's interview was broadcast in PBS's TV series "Invitation to World Literature" Episode 1: Gilgamesh) Le Morte de La Fontaine (Woodford Folk Festival, Australia), Haoma and the Warrior (Iran), Zahak (International Women Theatre Festival, Iran), iKilL (Capital Fringe Festival, U.S.A.), Minotaur (Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, U.S.A., and IIFUT Festival, Iran), Dreams in the Arms of the Binding Lady (Danza Nueva, Peru, Municipal Theatre in Piura, Peru, Municipal Theatre in Trujillo, Peru, J.F.Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington DC, Capital Fringe Festival, Washington DC, Mid-West U.S. tour), The Kojiki (НАТФИЗ Theatre, Sofia, Bulgaria), Kwaidan (Spooky Action Theatre, Washington DC, Weber Fine Arts Center, NE), Mysterious Lake (Staller Center for the Arts, NY, Long Island Children’s Museum, NY, Japan Society, NYC). Le Sentir des Reve (Maison de la Theatre, Montreal, Canada), I Cried Because I Had No Shoes Until… (Physical Fest, Liverpool, the U.K.), Bacchae (Cyprus International Ancient Greek Drama Festival, Nicosia, Curium, Pafos, Cyprus). Izumi Ashizawa won numerous awards including the Medal of Honor for Cultural Excellence from the City of Piura in Peru (2012), the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Faculty Achievement Award Excellence in Directing and Technology (2010), Capital Fringe Director’s Award (2011), UNESCO-Aschberg Award for artist-residency (2006-2007), DC Metro Theatre Arts Best Director of the Professional Theatre (2014), DC Metro Theatre Arts Best Play of the Professional Theatre (2014), IIFUT Best Performance Award in Iran (2006), Tehran Municipality Culture and Arts Organization Award (2006), Iran Women Theatre Festival Special Performance Award (2007), Australian Government Fund for the Arts (2008), Norwegian Cultural Fund (2009), Library of Congress Research Initiative GLAC Grant (2012), National Endowment for the Arts Fund Challenge America Fast-Track Grant (2013), APAP Cultural Exchange Fund (2014), Queens Council on the Arts Grant (2014), The Puffin Foundation Grant (2003 and 2006), SUNY Stony Brook FAHSS Individual grant (2012 and 2019), SUNY Stony Brook Dean’s Fund for Excellence Grant (2014), SUNY Stony Brook Presidential Guest Artist Grant (2015), SUNY Stony Brook Presidential Travel Grant (2016 and 2019). Ashizawa has served as a guest artist lecturer in various universities such as Yale University, Carnegie Mellon University, Northwestern University, UCLA, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Coe College, Grinnell College, Eastern Illinois University, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (the U.K.), Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (the U.K.), National Academy of Theatre and Television (Bulgaria), Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre (Estonia), Babes-Bolyai University (Romania), Aoyama University (Japan), Cyprus National Theatre (Cyprus), National Academy of the Arts (Norway), Anadolu University (Turkey). Ashizawa holds a MFA from Yale School of Drama. www.izumiashizawa.com