from The Cycle Plays
Theatre of Yugen, San Francisco, USA

Written and directed by Erik Ehn with Theatre of Yugen

C a s t:
POLLY: Sheila Berotti         
FATHER: Norman Munoz
MAN: Lluis Valls                  
CHORUS, SINGER: Jubilith Moore           

Yugen Orchestra:
Liz Albee, percussion, electronics
Ava Mendoza, guitar, percussion, electronics
Moe! Staiano, percussion

The show lasts 50 minutes.

A young girl is abducted from her bedroom and eventually murdered, leaving her father not only to grieve for her memory but to see her transfigured in the limelight of the press. She is violated—neither her home, nor her body, nor her mind is safe from intrusion--but is too powerful simply to subside after death; she must first learn to be dead, and turns the tables on her captor. “An old woman with a cane, she commands angels,” who strip and bind him as he sleeps. Later, she confronts him in hell; later still, she will go to heaven.
A demon play is traditionally hectic, and Pretty is no exception: it narrates both the act of violence and the process by which a crime, and especially the public response to it, morphs its participants into symbols. An innocent girl who played games and had sleepovers with friends is “complicated into a fouled net of natural signifiers,” and the world of this play is likewise dense with signs to be decoded or absorbed. A bee rides the perpetrator and his victim, a worm is a snake, birds hatch yellow jackets, and a rat does a drunken dance with beetles.
At long last, what started as a nightmare comes to feel more like a dream, and as the father says at the beginning of the play, “Dreaming is dressing a wound.” The beloved is saved, and the witnesses, too, are healed.
(Synopsis by Edith Reisner Newton)


Theatre of Yugen is an experimental ensemble dedicated to the pursuit of the intangible essence of yugen. With our foundation in Japanese Noh drama and Kyogen comedy, we create works of world theater by crafting original material and exploring dramatic and literary classics. By presenting and collaborating we continue the evolution of live performance and foster intercultural understanding. And by training and educating we keep the legacy of theatrical discipline vital.

Yu - deep, quiet, other worldly
gen - subtle, profound, dark

Founded in 1978 by Yuriko Doi to bring traditional Japanese aesthetics to American audiences. In the fall of 2001 Yuriko handed off the Artisitc Directorship to three long-time company members Jubilith Moore, Lluis Valls and Libby Zilber. Ms. Doi continues to direct as an Artistic Associate.
Currently, the ensemble headed by Jubilith Moore and Lluis Valls as they celebrate their 30th Anniversary Season with an original Kyogen-style adaptation of Voltaire’s Candide, and has been commissioned by Yerba Buena Center for the Arts to develop a new work about child soldiers with Serbian director Dijana Milošević slated for Fall 2010.
The company celebrated its 25th Anniversary season in 2003-04 with the publication of Theatre of Yugen 25 Years – A Retrospective, andreceived a Special Award from the Bay Area Critic’s Circle as well as a Commendation from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This distinguished award was granted to those “who have exhibited excellence in the pursuit of and promotion of a more improved understanding of Japan, its culture and its people.”
Throughout the year Theatre of Yugen offers training opportunities in the traditional forms and other related workshops with guest instructors. In addition, Theatre of Yugen has presented visiting artists from Japan many times, working in collaboration with the Asian Art Museum, the Consul General of Japan, and The Japan Societies of Northern CA, New York and Boston.
Many programs of Theatre of Yugen reach over 5,000 people per year. Audiences include fans of experimental and movement-based theater, the Japanese traditional arts community, and other educators/students of Theater and Asian performing arts.