Text by Allan Marett
Music by Richard Emmert
70 years after the bombing of Hiroshima, Oppenheimer explores universal themes of suffering and remorse through the story of the ‘father’ of the atomic bomb, Robert J Oppenheimer.
Using the conventions of a traditional Japanese noh play, it is an allegory about the tragedy of Hiroshima and how it affects us all. Oppenheimer appears first as a ghost, tormented by the consequences of his actions and then later as an agent of liberation. Following an encounter with Buddhist Wisdom King, Fudô Myô-ô within the fires of Hiroshima, Oppenheimer vows to dance forever amidst the flames to free all beings from suffering.
Oppenheimer is Allan Marett’s second Noh play, which—like his first play Eliza—he wrote in collaboration with Richard Emmert and Akira Matsui. Oppenheimer was developed at Theatre Nohgaku writers’ workshops in 2004 and 2010, and received its first performances at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in late 2015. This production received strong support from Theatre Nohgaku. The shite role was played by John Oglevee, the waki role by David Crandell. and Richard Emmert was the Musical Director and leader of the chorus. Akira Matsui directed the performance, which featured a new mask by Hideta Kitazawa. The hayashi musicians were Narumi Takizawa, Kayu Omura, Eitaro Okura and Kiyoshi Yoshitani. Sadamu Omura assisted with the production.