Pictured: Brenda Wong Aoki Photo by: Simo Neri
Pictured: Brenda Wong Aoki Photo by: Simo Neri

A long, long time ago, the dead were more important than the living. This Halloween, find out why. The haunting experience of Brenda Wong Aoki’s ghost stories will be performed in concert with Asian jazz pioneer and Emmy Award-winning composer Mark Izu. Backed up by Taiko drums of Janet Koike & Kathryn Cabunoc, Anthony Brown on multiple percussion and Shoko Hikage on Koto and Mas Koga on Saxophone and Shakuhachi. This Halloween show is a great way to lead into Halloween night and bring the family (appropriate for children 9 and up.)

In the Noh theatre, the dead are more important than the living because the actions of the dead are what brought us to where we are today. Japanese ghosts are usually female, upset females. They are portrayed without feet because they have lost their connection to the earth. They are passionate women on a mission, so filled with love, jealousy or rage; they won’t go peacefully to into the night.

Japanese believe ghosts are people who have died with an unpaid On. On means “debt” or “obligation,” but it is much more complicated. An On carries with it a sacred vow that this debt be repaid.  An unpaid debt is passed down to your children and to their children. The On begins to grow, like a snowball into an avalanche with each successive generation. Finally, whole families, villages, countries live under the dark cloud of an unpaid on, because by then, nobody knows how to fix it.

This is where storytellers come in. Storytellers help people remember what happened in the past and how ancestors dealt with the problem. Because like autumn leaves falling year after year, people can repeat the same mistakes, follow the same patterns, and create the same stories/histories over and over again. Love stories soften our hearts. Tales of wonder awaken awe in the world around us. Heroes bring out the heroic in the listener and remind us that one good person can change the world. Ghost stories remind us that what remains after we are dead are the consequences of our actions.

Brenda Wong Aoki and Mark Izu have together and separately garnered international acclaim for their multi-disciplinary work that blends Japanese Noh & Kyogen theater, Gagaku (Imperial Court Music) with contemporary performance, jazz and spoken word traditions. Mark is an Emmy Award-winning composer, and the two present work that represents the changing cultural face of the world.


Ticket prices for the 142 Throckmorton Theatre show are $20 General Admission, $15 Adult with Child, $5 Children, $23 General (Day of Show).

Ticket prices for the Yoshi’s show are $5 Children, $15 Adult with Child and $20 for Adults.

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