ENVY
(an adaptation of the Noh play, Lady Aoi)
Première: Arts Court Theatre, Ottawa, April 1999

Choreography, concept: Anjali
Performer: Anjali
Photography: Tony and Anne-Marie Gaston
Music: Dan Sauvé, incorporating original recordings of percussion made in India
Mask: Andrée Pouliot
Costumes: Carol Millett, Anjali
Images: Tony and Anne-Marie Gaston
Outside Eye: Randi Cherry
Costumes and design: Anjali, Pat Nuell
Choreography Coach: Patricia Beatty

The Lady Aoi is the new favourite of Prince Genji. Due to the envy and hatred of a former mistress, she is stricken by a mysterious illness. Her affliction, caused by the other's uncontrollable jealousy, manifests itself as a malevolent spirit which possesses and finally paralyses the Lady Aoi. Through the intercession of sacred music, the demon is driven out and Lady Aoi miraculously recovers, unaware that she had been attacked.

The beauty of the Japanese Noh tradition lies in its simplicity. But what happens when you use Indian dance technique to project a Noh theme? Using the language of Indian dance and traditional Japanese motifs, Anjali creates the innocence of the new favourite, Lady Aoi, and her terror at the onset of a mysterious illness, induced by the extreme envy of her rival. The uncontrollable energy of this malevolence is personified in a demonic mask and danced in the strong military style of Kathakali. There is no conflict: the mere sound of sacred music forces Envy to flee and the Lady Aoi is aroused, as if from a dream.

Envy is set to an original score by Dan Sauvé, which uses the traditional tuning of the koto, and the haunting sounds of the shakuhatchi. This evocative music also incorporates South Indian Kathakali drumming (chenda and mardalla) for the dance of the demon Envy. Costuming includes kimonos from Japan and rich silks from the East. A mask, created by Andrée Pouliot, transforms the dancer into a demon that personifies all the elements of envy and extreme jealousy.