Mango Yamabushi and MushZooms 2.0 are both very different pieces. Mango Yamabushi takes place on Kauaʻi and centers around a yamabushi (mountain priest) on a pilgrimage, who is overcome by hunger, begins snacking on a farmer’s mangoes, and as is wont to happen in kyōgen, antics ensue! For this production it was important to us as a design team to move visually from the traditionally represented kyōgen, presented by our partners in Japan, and slowly take our pieces in a more and more free-form direction.
Mango Yamabushi, being the first student piece, is the most traditional of the program (after the classical kyōgen play, Sword Stealing (Tachiubai) presented by our teachers). However, while the Yamabushi’s dressing style is that of a traditional kyōgen yamabushi, he wears the white colors of a modern-day Japanese yamabushi, thus combining both the modern with the traditional. The Farmer, on the other hand, is from Kauaʻi. In the original kyōgen piece, Kaki Yamabushi (Persimmon Yamabushi), this character is a landowner of higher status and would traditionally wear a matching top and bottom nagabakama (“long hakama (pants)”) set to indicate his social rank. Since a farmer does not have the same rank as a landowner in the world of kyōgen, we changed the nagabakama set to the kataginu (vest) and hanbakama (“short hakama”) of a lower status character. The hakama themselves then transformed into pleated pants to make dressing easier. The kimono was made out of a traditional Hawaiian fabric, palaka. The mon (crests) both characters wear represent both the action of the play and the place – the chicken on the Yamabushi and plumerias on the Farmerʻs pants are both reflective of where and when we are.
MushZooms 2.0 follows the traditional structure of a kyōgen, but takes place very much in the here and now, our modern Zoom-scape! It follows a woman who works from home, who is having some… mushroom-y problems with her Zoom. She contacts a Zoom IT specialist, and that’s all I’ll say! It was a delight to design and work on, and I hope you enjoy both Mango Yamabushi and MushZooms 2.0 and all their lovely shenanigans!
– Isabella Dixon
*For more costume information for MushZooms 2.0, please click here for more info. But be warned, the page does contain spoilers so we recommend you come back after you have seen the show!