SEPTEMBER 24 - 27, 2020

Busu at the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival


by Yukio Mishima

Temptation gets the better of two panicked shop assistants in Mishima’s madcap physical comedy, performed on a double bill with a traditional Japanese version of the same story.
directed by Daniel Irizarry and Laurence Kominz
translated by Donald Keene and Laurence Kominz

One-Eighth Theater and Portland State University Kyogen

New York, NY | Portland, OR


This event was presented Sept 26-29, 2019
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Busu means delicious poison, and it’s the title of a 400-year-old madcap Japanese farce. Mishima wrote his own version in 1957, set in an antique shop in Greenwich Village. As a double dose of delicious poison, we will present Mishima’s concoction and the traditional recipe, each performed by a different ensemble.

The story unfolds the same way in Manhattan as in medieval Japan: two hapless flunkies are spellbound by the reputation of the busu. Their boss has just left, with a warning never to touch this mysterious object. It’s such a deadly poison, he says, that if a breeze blowing over it should reach their nostrils they would die. Greed leads to disaster and disaster to a stroke of genius. Bursting with physical gags, our double dose of Busu pulls a roomful of laughs from one magic little package.

Busu is the only play that Mishima wrote to be performed in English. Donald Keene’s witty translation will be directed and performed by New York’s Daniel Irizarry, whose most recent performance off-Broadway earned him praise in The New Yorker for his “acrobatic abandon.” Mishima’s Busu in Provincetown will be its first-ever professional production.

Busu, in a traditional kyogen staging, will be presented in English by the acclaimed translator and kyogen performer Laurence Kominz, who has been an ambassador for kyogen performances in America for decades.


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