(Mostly) Harmless, Noh?

Theatrical imports are compact & powerful

Jul 23, 2003 at 4:00 am
Yukio Mishima, the Japanese author, playwright and suicide, was the archetype for Henry Rollins. A sickly boy who transformed himself into a well-muscled warrior-poet, Mishima preached a course of spiritual and mental purity through pain, and he lived by a code that demanded discipline and honor. Unlike Hank's narrow emotional range, though, Mishima wrote with a desolate beauty and sensitivity that made his work stark and nuanced, not just grimly one-dimensional. Mishima's unique aesthetics were particularly well suited for the traditional Japanese drama, Noh. Austere and rarefied, Noh plays were remote, stylized representations of a ghost world, and their mumbled dialogue and unrealistic plots had little popular appeal outside Japan's upper crust. Mishima adapted well-known Noh dramas for his 1950s-era audience, modernizing the stories while retaining their sere beauty. (Mostly) Harmless Theatre Company presents four of Mishima's adaptations at the A.E. Hotchner Studio Theatre (6445 Forsyth Boulevard) Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. through August 10. Tickets are $12-$15; call 314-534-1111 or log on to www.mhtheatre.com for more info. -- Paul Friswold

Crazy for You at the Muny

Crazy for You is exactly the sort of musical the Muny was built for; with its big song-and-dance numbers and romantic gooeyness, there's enough size (and screwball comedy) for the back row, and no real plot to confuse Grandma. A remake of a Gershwin musical called Girl Crazy, Crazy for You is a silly story of would-be lovers with lively dancing, bold sets, showgirls and songs you know, including "Someone to Watch Over Me," "I Got Rhythm" and "Nice Work if You Can Get It." Watching this one is like curling up on the sofa and enjoying a Turner Classic Movies flick with your guy or gal -- innocent fun for guilty times (8:15 p.m. Monday, July 28, through Sunday, August 3, $8-$54, Forest Park, 314-361-1900). -- Byron Kerman

Dismissed as Coincidence

Conspiracy theories gives us a little frisson here in the ever-lovin' RFT Calendar department. So you know we felt that ol' tingle when we heard that a certain blind musician named Carolinn Skyler would be heading to the Lou to play an instrument called a "glass armonica"; that this instrument, a five-foot-long set of 61 rotating, concentric bowls played by rubbing wet fingers on glass, was invented by the mysterious Ben Franklin (a Freemason, naturally); that the manufacturer of this particular giant instrument, Gerhard Finkenbeiner, was a Benjamin Franklin look-alike; and that Finkenbeiner disappeared four years ago while piloting his small plane somewhere in Massachusetts. Give us a bong and some music by the Orb and let the theorizin' begin!

Skyler generates some wild, eerie noises with her armonica and the mighty Compton Heights Concert Band at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 27, at Francis Park (Eichelberger Street at Donovan Avenue, free), and at the same time Monday, July 28, at Tower Grove Park (Tower Grove at Magnolia avenues, free, 314-776-2227, www.chband.org). -- Byron Kerman