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Sennojo the new Master of Japanese Comedy comes to Singapore

In a world saturated with myriads of comedy, now televised to suit our life style, here comes a much awaited opportunity to witness one of its oldest forms, performed by a youthful scion. In September this year, Shigeyama Sennojo returns to Singapore by popular demand to perform two full kyogen programmes. A 700-year-old theatre form, kyogen, a comic relief to the long and quiet Japanese stylised theatre, noh.

Sennojo was born into the 14th generation of the Shigeyama family, one of the prominent families in the Okura kyogen school. The Shigeyama family has made comedy its business and way of life, and Shigeyama Sennojo is literally a true, blue comedian. He carries with him a 300-year-old lineage and tradition in this art of levity. At 36, Sennojo has already accumulated 33 years of experience under his belt in public performance, and 34 in public appearances, having been initiated to the stage at two and a half years old. Last year, he has officially inherited his grandfather’s name, changing his own from Doji to Sennojo the Third. Succeeding a predecessor’s name has to be earned through years of hard work and with true talent, even for an heir apparent like Sennojo!

Charming and charismatic, Sennojo possesses that natural disposition of a true comedian. His sonorous laughter fills up the theatre space, and his graceful comic movements power the imagination of his audience, even in the absence of props. With his strong command of the English language, Sennojo has been making waves with bilingual kyogen, endearing a wide audience to this ancient form of theatre.

No stranger to Singapore, Sennojo first played on our stage as Shakespeare in the Japanese reinterpretation of Richard III (written by Noda Hideki) of the 2016 edition of the Singapore International Festival of Arts. On 6 and 7 September, audience in Singapore will be able to gain new insights on kyogen by attending Sennojo’s lively pre-show lectures delivered in English with his special brand of kyogen humour. The two shows present the repertoire of a kyogen master who has come of age, this time, with a contemporary twist.

Lee Chor Lin

茂山千之丞シンガポール公演

日本の伝統芸能、狂言の舞台をシンガポールで鑑賞する大変貴重な機会のご紹介です。日本を代表する狂言師のひとり、茂山千之丞さんが今年九月に来星し、その芸を惜しみなく披露します。より多くのお客様にこの機会を楽しんでいただけるよう、二回の公演は英語と日本語の両方で行われる予定です。

日本で700年の伝統を持つ狂言は、もともとは長く静かで儀式的な能の舞台の合間に演じられる喜劇的要素を多く含んだ劇ですが、伝統芸能の世界で独立した人気を誇ってきました。茂山千之丞さんは、そのような狂言の伝統を長く受け継いできた大蔵流の名門、茂山家の十四代目として生まれ、二歳半で公演に初参加、36歳にしてすでに33年の舞台経験を積み、茂山家の300年の重厚な伝統と軽妙な芸を鮮やかに組み合わせることのできる、文字通り正統な狂言師といえます。このように狂言の長い伝統を受け継ぐ家に生まれ、早くから才能を発揮してきた茂山さんですが、昨年、能楽狂言方大蔵流、三世茂山千之丞を襲名するまでには長い修行期間がありました。

カリスマ的な魅力にあふれる茂山さんの朗々とした笑いは劇場全体に響き渡り、その優美でコミカルな動作は小道具がないときでさえ観客の想像力を大いに刺激します。そして、流暢な英語を話す茂山さんは、バイリンガルの狂言の流行を創り出し、この古典芸能の魅力を幅広い観客に伝えてきました。

千之丞さんのシンガポール公演も今回が三回目となります。2016年にはSingapore International Festival of Arts(シンガポール国際芸術祭)で野田秀樹翻案・演出のシェークスピア劇「三代目、りちゃぁど」 に出演しました。この九月の二つの演目は、現代的なツイストをかけた人気の演目となっており、彼の本領である狂言のユーモアをシンガポールで大いにお楽しみいただけることと思います。

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