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Sunwatcher — Summer Lab Play

May 29 @ 3:00 pm

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One event on May 28, 2022 at 3:00 pm

One event on May 29, 2022 at 3:00 pm

Natsuko Hirano performs as astronomer Hisako Koyama in Sunwatcher, a Noh-inspired new play at Ancram Opera House. Press photo courtesy ot the theater
Photo by Suzu Sakai

Ancram Opera House will open their 2022 Summer Play Lab Series May 27-29 with a work-in-progress presentation of songs by the artists of Sunwatcher, a Noh-inspired piece that intertwines the story of two women, the astronomer and ‘hidden figure’ Hisako Koyama (1916-1997) and the Japanese sun goddess Amaterasu.

Hisako was a self-taught solar observer who drew the sun in painstaking detail every day for 40 years, a landmark achievement that ranks among the likes of Galileo. Sunwatcher celebrates this underrecognized Asian woman in science and her extraordinary dedication to ordinary observation.

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In World War II Tokyo, despite the threat of firebombing from the US, Hisako looks through her telescope every day and sketches the spots on the sun’s surface. Her observations lead her to the sun goddess Amaterasu, a powerful deity besieged by her violent brother. Hisako’s experience of war collides with creation mythology, as both goddess and mortal are tested by tragedy and despair.

The play is an experimental chamber musical inspired by classical Noh theatre, Sunwatcher directed by Nana Dakin, with music by Tidtaya Sinutoke and book and lyrics by Isabella Dawis. Ancram’s Summer Play Lab residency provides theater artists of all practices a space to develop innovative new performances and connect with the community in meaningful ways.

The Sunwatcher team will also lead a free Creative Movement Workshop at AOH on Saturday, May 28 from 10 a.m. to noon. Director Nana Dakin will guide the group through a series of simple exercises to awaken physical awareness. Then the artists will talk about their creative process and the inspiration for Sunwatcher, including scientific information about the Sun and sunspots.

Composer Tidtaya Sinutoke and librettist Isabella Dawis will share some of the music they created based on this sun data. Participants will then be guided by Dakin on how to use these scientific facts and musical material as inspiration to create their own one-of-a-kind Sunwatcher movement. Enrollment is limited, and you will need to save your space ahead.

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Event Details

Details

Date:
May 29
Time:
3:00 pm
Event Categories:
, ,

Event Location

Ancram Opera House
1330 County Route 7
Ancram, NY
518-329-0114

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