Our short film Unclouded Moon was part of Britten Pears Art's Festival of New 2021 and is an early stage example of a larger project. Commissioned by Noh Reimagined Festival to create a work in response to Japanese Noh and Kyogen, a 600-year-old classical Japanese dance-drama, we tried to comprehend the performative, thematic and contextual elements of these forms. Inspired by the rhythms, structure, choreographic languages and metaphysical philosophy found within, we tried to find the connections within our own practices of dance and queer performance.
While in residency at Snape Maltings, the home of Britten Pear Arts in September 2020, we undertook extensive research into Benjamin Britten’s Church Parable Curlew River, based on the Noh play Sumidagawa (Sumida River) and were given access to the archives, which included original librettos, first performance photographs and books Britten collected while touring Japan. We also went out most days into the reed beds around the River Alde to record the local curlew population and take field recordings of their haunting, plaintive calls. We mixed these sounds and historic research together with an ongoing exploration into LGBTQ+ history, especially in Japan. This research culminated in the early stages of Unclouded Moon, a piece which seeks to unveil our abstract and emotional relationship to nature and the ancient.
This piece shall go onto be presented at Kings Place as part of the Noh Reimagined Festival and hopefully in Tokyo at the National Noh Theatre, where we’ll perform the work alongside renowned Japanese artists.
Choreographers/Performers: Daniel Hay-Gordon & Eleanor Perry
Filmmakers: John Fensom & Jamie Orchard-Lisle
Design Collaborator: Tim Spooner