© 2022 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Noh Play Like This Has Ever Happened Here

Chances are you've never seen a Japanese Noh play. Noh is a Medieval form of Japanese Theater.

Kevin Salfen is Associate Music Professor at the University of the Incarnate Word.

"It was the theater of the aristocrats, and it's like nothing else.  The principal actors are masked. And the masks are beautiful. In some cases performers are wearing  masks that are hundreds of years old. "

Originally written in Japanese, this play has been translated to English.

"I'm not sure that  there's ever been a Noh play performed in San Antonio, so this may be the first," he said. "It's certainly the first in English. We have Kinue Oshima, who is a professional Noh actor in Japan."

But there's a twist to this performance -- a decidedly San Antonio addition.

"For this production we asked Carmen Tafolla, our poet laureate, to write a linking piece, an interlude. So she's written a piece called Song of the Yanaguana River. We have a barge driver on the River Walk, and a young man looking for love and the spirit of the San Antonio River who tries to make sure that things are going the right way."

Also in this production is Benjamin Britten's Curlew River.

"So, we have three rivers tied together. So, it's really a special production and we're delighted to bring it to San Antonio."

You have two local options for seeing what's called Where Rivers Meet it before it's gone. University of the Incarnate Word has it tonight, and St. Luke's Episcopal Church will have it at 7:30 p.m. Friday. 

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii