In Japanese, "sawagi" is so defined: Uproar, commotion, revel, excitement, hubbub, ado, merrymaking. In plain English, it's a hell-raisin' party, though tomorrow night's SAWAGI! Raising a Ruckus for Japan, a joint effort of Naropa University and Kansuke Productions to raise funds to send bottled water to the quake-shattered Tohoku region of Japan, will most likely unfold with decorum. It starts at 5:30 p.m. with a Japanese buffet and silent auction at Naropa's Nalanda Events Center, 6287 Arapahoe Avenuein Boulder; a special performance inspired by Japan's rich and ancient culture follows at 7 p.m.
"We decided to host a fundraiser, but we wanted to do something bigger than just your garden-variety raffle or bazaar," says David Wheeler of Kansuke Productions. Wheeler, a shakuhachi master in his own right, summoned a crew of the some of the best musicians in the area. "They all jumped at the chance to help," he adds. "And instead of the usual one-up, one-down performance format, we turned it into a play. So it's an original musical drama performance, written in form of Japanese classical Noh theater. The stage will be like a Noh theater stage, and the actors will all actually be the musicians, who will basically be appearing as characters in the protagonist's dream. But they'll be playing music rather than acting."
And whether you consider them actors or musicians or both, we should note that it's a quality cast with an international flavor that includes Wheeler, master Japanese string and vocal musician Yoko Hiraoka, reed player Mark Miller, the Middle Eastern trio Sherefe, percussionist Ty Burhoe and others, as well as esteemed Boulder playwright/performer Ami Dayan in the director's seat.
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And here's a little something to get you in the mood: