Geisha is perhaps one of the biggest symbols of Japanoiserie. It is an empty screen on which all our fantasies of Japan can be projected, even for many contemporary Japanese individuals today who do not come into contact easily with this old world. However it is not just exotic, but it is a powerful arena to discuss the water world or a dream world, a floating world. It seems to encapsulate many notions of Japanese identity, gender relationships but more universally it is a space to discuss life, dream and reality for the world.
New York-based performer Karen Kandel, winner of several Obies, weaves together stories from geishas, maikos (apprentice geishas), clients, their wives, okamisans (mama-sans), offspring of geishas, anthropologists. Kandel animates this voice tapestry, giving life to the secret world of the geisha.
Joining her onstage is female impersonator, kabuki dancer Gojo Masanosuke. He dances the female onnagata role, drawing from the age-old repertory of kabuki and nihon buyoh (classical Japanese dance). For the geisha is the tragic heroine of many a kabuki play. Kandel and Masanosuke complement each other, and these two unexpected conspirators jointly evoke the dream of the absent geisha. They are the dream sellers, like the geishas.
Presented as part of the Lincoln Center Festival 2006.