World-renowned, Obie Award-winning puppeteer Basil Twist transforms Japan Society's 278 seat auditorium into an intimate, 70-seat black box theater to present the world premiere of Dogugaeshi. Blending centuries of tradition with his own inimitable style, Dogugaeshi, commissioned by Japan Society, is Twist's lavish and grand 60-minute homage to Japanese puppet theater and one of its most fascinating and nearly extinct components. With original music composed and performed by Yumiko Tanaka.
While doing research for his acclaimed Symphonie Fantastique, maverick puppet artist Basil Twist became intrigued by the rarefied and dying tradition of Japanese dogugaeshi, a complex scene change mechanism used in puppet theater of the Awaji region in which dozens upon dozens of sliding screens and inverting doors, each one more elaborate and beautiful than the next, gradually open to the final palace tableau. For his Dogugaeshi, Twist reinvents the art form employing four puppeteers (including himself). The piece's only figurative puppet, a meticulous recreation of a gorgeous Japanese fox Twist encountered on his travels, guides the audience through the ever-changing forest of screens, unfolding both abstract and modern imagery inspired by Japan. This intimate performance features original shamisen (a three-stringed lute) compositions created and performed live by authorized master musician Yumiko Tanaka.