During the first weekend in March, the Bainbridge Performing Arts stage will host a trip to early 14th century Japan for a look into the beginnings of the Eastern Noh and Kyogen theatre followed by a somewhat apathetic look at the current state of western performance.
A troupe from the San Francisco based Theatre of Yugen will be making a stop on its national tour on Bainbridge, while Marya Sea Kaminski’s sequel to the one-woman show “In DisDress” will take the stage with the BPA’s After Dark series.
But in fact both shows will be something special as the former will give audiences a glance into the beautiful simplicity of Japanese comedy.
“This is a real human comedy, pointing to human weakness,” said Theatre of Yugen founder and internationally acclaimed director Yuriko Doi. “Lots of laughter and it’s easy to understand what’s going on.”
Even those without a broad Japanese vocabulary the audience should be able to enjoy the show as it has been translated into English, Doi said The larger substance of the three classic Kyogen stories will be presented through the characters’ movements and costumes.
“Audiences can participate to develop their own imagination … it’s the beauty of simplicity,” Doi said.
Kyogen theatre displays a clever look at life through the use of dialogue, mime, song and dance and to the accompaniment of flutes drums and gongs. A giant pine tree — celebrating longevity — will be the backdrop for the evening as the Theatre of Yugen presents traditional Kyogen pieces Snail (Kagyu), Sweet Poison (Busu), and Owl Mountain Priest (Fukuro Yamabushi) Melon Thief (Uri Nusubito), Two in One Hakama (Futaribakama).
In between each of the 30-minute plays, Doi said she and the three other Theatre of Yugen actors will give brief explanations and insight into Eastern theatre.
For audiences, that learning experience will only be available at one showing, 7:30 p.m. Friday night. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors, military, students or youth.
On Saturday, a Kaminski sequel that enters another realm offers an intimate look at western theatre through the eyes of one who has been there for more than a decade.
The first showing of Kaminski’s one-woman play “In DisDress” — which premiered at the On the Boards’ Northwest New Works Festival last June — was an ode to a girl who was trapped in a mountain of a red ball gown.
In the latest re-staging of the play, 10 months have passed and the dress is almost a thing of the past.
“Originally were going to remount the original show, but the work is pretty autobiographically inspired and it just kind of felt boring to be the person I was last June,” said Kaminski — founder of the Washington Ensemble Theatre. “We were ready to get a little more naked.”
Earlier this January the “Redux” addition of “In DisDress” ran at WET in Seattle revealing how starkly different an intended sequel can be. Local critics noted the show was completely different, but nonetheless an intimate evening with Kaminski.
As the setting and the main character’s attitude are rearranged, Kaminski said one thing that has stayed constant throughout the live of “In DisDress” is “the need to say it,” she said.
With so much tragedy battling heroism in this world, could the role of performer to a darkened boxed up audience be a service that’s more or less remiss?
That’s the question at the heart of the Kaminski’s autobiographically driven play as her character contemplates her doubts in the world of artistic theatre.
“One must sit back and wonder what one is doing making art for a dark room and its audience,” she said. “I think people have a need for live performance and they are very often disappointed, I know that I am … I think this show is honest about that.”
The show is also very honestly delivered with a strong current of video footage, and while the presentational schtick may have gotten in the way of the crux to the original show, the honest truth is the basis of “In DisDress Now Redux.”
It will take the stage for one night only as part of the BPA’s After Dark series, starting at 9:45 p.m. March 3.