Puppet Theatre

Basil Twist unfolds an intimate, abstract, contemporary journey of images and emotions influenced by the rarefied tradition of Japanese dogugaeshi stage mechanism technique and his own encounters with the remaining rural caretakers of this once popular art form. This hour-long performance features original shamisen compositions created and performed live by authorized master musician Yumiko Tanaka.

Dogugaeshi was originally commissioned by The Japan Society in 2003. The World Premiere was presented at The Japan Society in New York in 2004. Dogugaeshi received a 2005 Bessie Award and an UNIMA Award for Excellence in Puppetry. 

"A will come to you as far as you let it in." - The New York Times


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  • 2023-01-26 00:00:00 2023-01-29 00:00:00 - Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, Chicago - USA



Design team included Video projection design by Peter Flaherty, lighting design by Andrew Hill and sound design by Greg Duffin.

Dogugaeshi is performed by Basil Twist, Jessica Scott, Kate Brehm, Oliver Dalzell, David Ojala and Phillippe Rodrigues- Jorda.

Dogugaeshi was originally commissioned by The Japan Society of New York in 2004 with support from Creative Capital, The MAP Fund, Doris Duke Charitable Trust and The Jim Henson Foundation. This award-winning multidisciplinary gem has been presented at: Theatre Vidy Lausanne (2014), Hamilton College, New York (2013), Radar LA/RedCat, Los Angeles (2013), Cal Performances, Berkeley (2013), The Japan Society's 60th Performing Arts Season NYC (2013), Studio Theatre, DC (2012) Spoleto Festival USA, Charleston (2009), Cleveland Public Theatre, Ohio (2009), The La Jolla Playhouse, San Diego, CA (2009), EMPAC/Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy, New York, (2009), The Japan Society's Centennial Season (2007), Yokohama Arts Foundation (2007), Tokushima, Cultural & International Affairs Division (2007), Kyoto Performing Arts Center Kyoto University of Art & Design (2007), Kanazawa 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art (2007) and The Japan Society's 100th Centennial Season (2007).

In 2007 a Japan Tour was organized with support from The Japan Society in New York and with funding by The U.S. Japan Friendship Commission, American Express, The Kyoto Arts Center, and The Yokohama Arts Foundation.

A 2014 domestic tour of Dogugaeshi was supported by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation through USArtists International in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Presenting Partners included Japan Society, RedCat Theater, Hamilton College, Cal. Performance and Vidy Lausanne Theatre. This work was further made possible in part by the Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards program.

In 2015 Twist and the Dogugaeshi team collaborated with Mujah Maraini Melehi in Rome on her film “Haiku on a Plum Tree”. Melehi’s film explores her Italian family’s imprisonment in a Japanese war camp during WWII, blending documentary, puppetry and family history. Dogugaeshi serves as a storytelling partner for this documentary film.