Matt Shore Performs At PCC

Actor Performs Japanese Rakugo Theater at PCC

Matt Shores Peforms Japanese Theater

On February 7, 2013 in the Sylvania Little Theater, Matt Shore performed an example of Rakugo Theater. The Reception that followed was attended by the Japanese Consulate-General in Oregon, Takamichi Okabe, with his wife, who spoke and answered questions.

Rakugo is the Japanese art of comedic storytelling, which has roots some 400 years old. In rakugo, the storyteller sits on a small cushion fronting the audience. Dressed in kimono and equipped with only a couple props, the storyteller acts out 20-30-minute stories, which consist of conversations among several characters. In this particular performance, Shores, a two-time PSU graduate, and a Ph.D. candidate writing his dissertation on Japanese literature, performs rakugo both in Japanese and in English. Having offered a summer course at PSU in 2012, Shores is rare in teaching this artform in English to Portland students. Below is a recording of Matt Shores performance where the following topics are covered:

• PCC Instructor, Takako Yamaguchi, makes introductory remarks (00:10)

• Prof. Shores discusses the background of Rakugo, a comical story-based performance. Highlights the differences between Rakugo conventions and other theatrical performances, referring to costume, dialogue and props (2:36)

• Notes the social and economic aspects of Rakugo and discusses the theme of travel in his performance (10:40)

• Begins to perform in Japanese (14:00)

• Continues the performance in English. The story revolves around two friends from Osaka ; they travel together, engaging in humorous dialogue as they encounter new people and places (16:36)

• Performance ends. Prof. Shores returns to the background information he mentioned earlier, elaborating on Rakugo’s connections to Japan’s early modern period. Talks about his Rakugo apprenticeship in Japan (38:11)

Matt Shore performs an example of Japanese Rakugo Theater