MFAW-VT Faculty Member Deborah Brevoort’s Noh Drama about Elvis Presley, BLUE MOON OVER MEMPHIS, which is currently touring internationally with Theatre Nohgaku of Japan, had two USA performances in October. On Friday, October 12th it was performed at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor in the Power Center for the Performing Arts and on Monday, October 15 it was at UCLA’s Glorya Kaufman Hall.
From the Theatre Nohgaku of Japan website:
As Elvis turned the music culture of his youth into a commercial product, the entertainment industry turned him into a product. The Elvis brand became the model for leading promising entertainers to the slaughter. A star’s rise and fall became an essential part of our construction of fame, and we came to believe in the necessity of the star’s self-destruction.
Noh is the pathway that leads us from Elvis the brand to a meditation on the relationship between celebrity and humanity. Space and time expand and collapse to allow us to be in the presence of Elvis ~ not as a costumed impersonation, but as an eloquent, complicated, beautiful soul.
Playwright Deborah Brevoort’s text eschews the easy irony that so often characterizes our encounters with Elvis. The poetic brevity of her script and the gravity of noh, featuring a musical score by composer Richard Emmert, leave us in stunned silence, inviting us to look past the pervasive cynicism of our age to perceive a new, humane way of thinking about one of twentieth-century America’s most unforgettable figures.
BLUE MOON OVER MEMPHIS was developed, in part, with assistance from the Orchard Project, a program of The Exchange, and gracious assistance from Japan Foundation New York. Theatre Nohgaku is grateful for the kind assistance of the University of Michigan Center for Japanese Studies.