CSU Students Perform Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ in Japanese

One of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, "A Midsummer Night’s Dream," will be retold in Japanese and performed by Japanese language students at Colorado State University in December under the direction of Mako Beecken, a longtime instructor at CSU and the 2007 National Japanese Teacher Award winner.       

"This version of the play is truly an once-in-a-lifetime experience," said Beecken. "It captures the essence of Kabuki, Noh and Kyogen style traditional Japanese theatre while incorporating a modernized script and contemporary music to create a unique blend of traditional and modern-day elements."

Kabuki is a type of performance that is known for its dramatic, exaggerated forms and deep, monotonous vocal presentations. Noh is a classic, musical form of drama and is one of the oldest performing arts of Japan, existing since the 14th century. It is known for its slow, subtle movements and tales from ancient literature or folk stories. Kyogen is short comical plays performed between acts of Noh plays.

The music for the play will be preformed live and is original music that draws from traditional Japanese and rock music, providing a combination of cultures and time periods.  

"The costumes are stunning and are inspired by Japanese theatre," said Beecken. "This is a rare performance and is sure to captivate and entertain audiences of all ages."

The Toshiba International Foundation, the Colorado State Foreign Languages and Literatures Department and the Lilla B. Morgan Memorial Fund are sponsors of the play.

Funding from the Toshiba International Foundation enabled several students to travel to Japan this summer, where they visited the oldest existing Kabuki theatre and had an opportunity to see a traditional Kabuki play and the even more exaggerated form of "Super Kabuki." They also participated in a Noh workshop, which was held on their behalf.  

Performances are 7 p.m. Dec. 5, 2 p.m. Dec. 6 and 7 p.m. Dec. 7. in the Colorado State University Lory Student Center Theatre.

Tickets are available at CSU Box Office or online at http://csutix.universitytickets.com/user_pages/home.asp. For more information, call (970) 491-5275.