Play 'Gettysburg' to be performed in traditional Japanese style at Abington

The performance is open to the public
Abington play

The cast of "Gettysburg" will perform the play in the Japanese noh style.

Credit: Penn State

Penn State Abington will host Theatre Nohgaku for a single performance of the play “Gettysburg” on Wednesday, Sept. 18.

Playwright Elizabeth Dowd and composer David Crandall have re-imagined the conflict at the center of American history as noh, a traditional form of Japanese drama. In the process, they created something unprecedented: an intertwining of voices from our country’s painful past with noh’s poetic forms, a synthesis of the extraordinary music of noh with choral concert music, accompanied by violin, harmonica and the drums of noh. Through this synthesis, "Gettysburg" gives audiences an opportunity to consider the larger and lasting significance of America’s war against itself.

The play opens with a veteran of the war in Afghanistan who travels to the battlefields of Gettysburg in search of the place where Confederate Gen. Lewis Armistead fell. The veteran, a descendant of Union Gen. Winfield Hancock, has inherited a watch entrusted to Hancock by the dying Armistead in recognition of their pre-Civil War friendship.

A groundskeeper tells the young veteran: “Wait till twilight. When the sun slants across the fields, you can feel the past. You can hear it … .” The ghost of Armistead appears.

The chorus sings the story of the pre-war friendship between the two generals. The ghost does a dance of anguish. The two veterans speak across time of their shared experiences of war, loss, and duty above all.

Learn more about “Gettysburg” and see an interview with the playwright here

Date: Wednesday, Sept. 18

Time: 8 p.m.

Location: Sutherland Auditorium at Penn State Abington, 1600 Woodland Road, Abington, Pa.19001

Tickets: $10. Free for Penn State Abington students, faculty, and staff with ID.

Questions? [email protected]

Abington play

The playwright and composer have re-imagined the conflict at the center of American history as noh, a form of traditional Japanese theater.

Credit: Penn State

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