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John Kinzer
IU Department of Theatre and Drama

Last modified: Monday, March 7, 2011

IU Theatre presents 'Language of Angels,' drawing upon ancient traditions of Japanese Noh Theater

WHAT: Language of Angels, by Naomi Iizuka, directed by Adam Noble
WHEN: Opens Friday, March 25 7:30 p.m. Additional performances run March 26, and March 29 through April 2 at 7:30 p.m. with a matinee performance on Saturday, April 2, at 2 p.m.
WHERE: All performances take place at the Wells-Metz, Lee Norvelle Theatre & Drama Center at 275 N. Jordan Ave. No photography or recording of any kind is permitted during performances.
TICKETS: Regular admission is $22 for adults, $15 for students, $16 for senior citizens; Student Rush Tickets: $10 with cash and a valid IU Bloomington student ID on the day of each performance.

March 7, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Theatre continues its 2010-2011 season of award-winning plays with Language of Angels, Naomi Iizuka's stirring cycle of ghost stories, opening March 25. This upcoming production will take place at the Lee Norvelle Theatre & Drama Center under the direction of IU faculty member Adam Noble in his debut as a director for the university.

Language of Angels

Iizuka's body of award-winning work frequently fuses the cultural theater practices from her Half Latin-American and half- Japanese background.

Language of Angels draws upon the ancient traditions of Japanese Noh theater, transporting a time-honored Japanese ghost story into the caves and surrounding country of North Carolina. After Celie, the central, evocative voice of the play, disappears in a cave on the edge of town, the play focuses on the lives of her surviving friends and their quest to reconcile their guilt over the tragedy of their collective past. "The angels in the play are nothing like Christian archetypes," Noble said. "These characters are flawed figures, with dirt under their fingernails."

Noble is the Department of Theatre and Drama's professor of movement. He said his training in a Suzuki style movement created by Japanese theater director Tadashi Suzuki allows him to feel close to Japanese theatre traditions. Noble said he is excited by the challenge of physicalizing the poetic on stage. "What pleases me most is the ability to elucidate to my students just how the skills that they are learning in the classroom can translate onto the stage," he said. Noble said his eagerness for this project has to do with the indefinable quality of Iizuka's script. He describes the play as a "strange mélange of contemporary American realism, Japanese Noh ghost story tradition and startling poetic language. When I first read the play, I was hooked."

Performing in the cast is a group of talented undergraduates including Colin Van Wye (Rent), Anna Rose Heyman (How I Learned to Drive), Courtney Lucien (Hay Fever), Adrian Burks (Take Me Out), Kurt Semmler (Rent), Stephanie Mieko Cohen (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), Kyle Hendricks (Take Me Out), and Katie Groneman in her IU Theatre debut.

Because Noble has spent years working as an actor and continues to perform, cast members consider him "an actor's director."

"Working with him has really been an experience unlike any other," Van Wye said of Noble. "I think I can speak for the whole cast when I say that the movement work we do in rehearsal has helped us to connect to our characters in a unique and honest way," Hendricks said.

Scenic Design is by second-year M.F.A. Nicholas Graves with costume design by second-year M.F.A. student Colleen Metzger. First-year M.F.A. lighting design students Juliana Jones and Amanda Wray are co-designing the lights for the show, and undergraduate John Allerheiligen is designing sound. Technical direction is by third-year M.F.A. student Steven Workman. This will be Workman's M.F.A. thesis project.

This production includes strong language, (herbal) cigarette smoke, haze and strobe effects, and a simulated gunshot.

To see information about the entire cast and production team, and the rest of the 2010-2011 IU Theatre season, visit