Oppenheimer is a new Noh play in English about the American scientist, J Robert Oppenheimer, and the development of the atomic bomb, which was dropped on Hiroshima 70 years ago, on 6 August 1945. It uses the conventions of Noh, and an old Zen story about a fox, to explore issues of brilliant insight, horrific consequences, profound regret and atonement. Oppenheimer is a collaboration between author Allan Marett, composer Richard Emmert and master actor-teacher of the Kita School of Japanese classical Noh theatre, Akira Matsui, who will choreograph and direct the production. The principal performers are Japanese professionals or members of the Japanese-American Noh troupe, Theatre Nohgaku. The performance will feature classical and new masks made by master mask-maker Kitazawa Hideta.
Find out more about the production on the Sydney Conservatorium of Music website
Previous work by this creative team
- Principal actor (shite): John Oglevee
- Companion actor (tsure): Akira Matsui
- Secondary actor (waki): David Crandall
- Head of chorus (jigashira): Richard Emmert
- Interlude actors (ai-kyogen): Gary Watson, Yoke Chin
- Flute (nokan): Takizawa Narumi
- Small shoulder drum (kotsuzumi): Omura Kayu
- Large hip drum (otsuzumi): Okura Eitaro
- Stick drum (taiko) Yoshitani Kiyoshi
- Stage assistants (koken): Omura Sadamu, Kitazawa Hideta
About the author
For almost 30 years Allan Marett taught in the Music Department at the University of Sydney, specialising in Japanese and Australian Aboriginal music. This is the second Noh play that he has created with Emmert and Matsui. The first was Eliza, an English-language Noh play about Eliza Fraser and her imagined encounters with Aboriginal song and ceremony.