Kathy 4 years ago

I just found this page because I was asked to write up something on Jim and his work for a new journal at University of Malaya where Ghulam Sawar (one of Jim's PhD students) is the editor. I will send Reiko a copy when it comes out and want to remind people that there is a write up that was done on his work in Asian Theatre Journal in 2011 (by David Jortner and myself). It tried to chronicle the breadth of his work and note the kinds of impact that all these tributes present. He was our sensei. There is a legacy in the traditional performing arts of much of Asia that a teacher is much more than the self-made person. The teacher is a link in a project of art and meaning making which is coming from somewhere (previous teachers) and going somewhere as it carries the work and ideas of prior teaching and past teachers into the future. The honour to the teacher is also an honouring of an art, a lineage, a way of being that is beyond just our ego or our time. Jim was dedicated to the work which was bigger than him or any of us. He made us each a link in that larger idea that extended beyond our particular dissertation topic or the production we experienced. There was discipline, vision, and the sense of being part of something big. He took emoting Stanislavski actors and turned them into ethereal lovers on a michiyuki or samurai who could wait years to restore a fallen clan. I remember watching as an assistant director the scene in Chushingura where Enya Hangen whispers "remember me" when Yuranosuke arrives a minute before the master will die. Jim through his writing and teaching has created a band of more than 47 that will work through the future to carry out his vision. Some of us are in academic positions, others are stage managers, directors, actors, other translate or make films or do a hundred other things. But the work he established—of making the west aware that theatrical genius and complexity goes beyond Europe and often reaches heights that those Elizabethans didn't even dream of—will continue. Though we feel like ronin for now and all wish we had been there to say goodbye, in our many different places we continue to carry out the mission. He made us to be what now are 'a treasury of loyal retainers.'