Mansaku Nomura
Mansai Nomura
Yûki Nomura
Hiroshi Sugimoto Sambasô, danse divine


The Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto continues his exploration of his country’s major traditional stage genre : theatre, bunraku or, in today’s world, kyôgen, with two pieces performed by the highly-acclaimed traditional theatre actors Mansaku Nomura and Mansai Nomura.

Alongside his career as an internationally recognised photographer/visual artist, Hiroshi Sugimoto has, for the last ten years or more, been designing stage sets for the performing arts. Hence, his interest in the major Japanese dramatic art traditions: theatre, bunraku or, in today’s world, kyôgen, a sort of comic, popular offshoot of theatre. “The logic of tradition is one of a constant rewriting in the present”, he explained in 2013, during his last visit to the Festival d’Automne, on the subject of this continuity, an integral part of Japanese civilisation. It is no coincidence that Sambasô carries the sub-heading “divine dance”, in that this piece refers to a sacred dance which takes us back to the dawn of humanity in Japan. Performed by three generations of kyôgen masters – Mansaku, Mansai and Yûki Nomura, Mansaku Nomura having been named as a national living treasure in Japan –, it is completed by Tsukimi-Zatô (“The blind one who admires the moon”), stemming from the zatô-mono genre. The latter brings to the stage the crippled victims of persecution. With stage sets inspired by some of Sugimoto’s photographs and also, costumes which he himself has designed, this epiphany-like diptych is proof of the credo of a seventy year-old artist and his conviction that the arts of performance represent “ the supreme phase for all art, where it refuses to become an object”.

Running time : 1h40 (including interval)
Performed in Japanese, with French subtitles