Zahdi Dates and Poppies

Text by Carrie Preston
Music by David Crandall

Zahdi Dates and Poppies is styled after a second-category warrior piece.


Zahdi Dates and Poppies is a contemporary, masked, lyric, dance piece written by Carrie Preston and scored by David Crandall. This moving work adapts the poetic, musical, and performance styles of the ancient Japanese noh theater to explore a timeless concern: the impact of war on those who do the killing and their families. A US Marine fighter pilot is haunted by an insurgent he killed on a bombing raid in Zaidon, Iraq—a raid that also saved the life of a fellow Marine marksman. The pilot’s wife, despite her own deep antipathy to war, tries to support him as he struggles with the nightmares of combat trauma. Appearing in the pilot’s dreams, the ghost of the Iraqi insurgent mourns the loss of his life and the companionship of his own wife before achieving the release of forgiveness. While based on noh performance techniques, Zahdi Dates and Poppies expands the traditional idiom with flexible structure, innovative mask and costume design, with modified music and choreography that create a one-of-a-kind theatrical experience.


Theatre Nohgaku extends our grateful thanks to the KO Festival of Performance for their gracious assistance in the development of Zahdi Dates and Poppies.

"The KO Festival on the Amherst College campus in Amherst MA fosters creativity & innovation in the theater by providing alternative production structures for new work, encourages and supports innovative collaborations within and across disciplines, develops international and intercultural collaborations and is formative in establishing a training & research program for theater artists wishing to create new work collaboratively."