17 SE 8th
Portland, OR 97214




The Lady Aoi header










An erotic thriller
by Yukio Mishima

Previews – Mar 11 to 17
Opens and Plays – Mar 18 to 27

Show times are Thurs, Fri and Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2:00

Tickets can be purchased at the door, or ticketswest.com, or by calling: Imago Theatre 503.231.9581 TicketsWest 503.224.8499


$15 to $25 pay what you can
For mature audiences, adult content, nudity


Download a press release (pdf)


Hi Rez Photos

Jerry Mouawad returns to the stage after an 18-month hiatus (last production: Pinter’s “The Homecoming” Oct 2014). Mouawad is staging a Japanese fusion work by Yukio Mishima entitled “The Lady Aoi” that opens at Imago Mar 11. Yukio Mishima is considered one of the most important Japanese authors of the 20th century; he was nominated three times for the Nobel Prize for Literature. For the erotic ghost tale “The Lady Aoi,” Mishima modernized a 15th century Noh play, setting it in a 1956 hospital. Mouawad promises a highly- stylized production accompanied by percussionist Blade Rogers, with sound design by John Berendzen (Liminal) and Greg Ives, lighting by Jeff Forbes and costumes by Sarah Mainsfield, with influences from experimental icon writer/director Richard Foreman (a landmark presentation in 1997 “Pearls for Pigs”in Portland)and riffs from Belgian director Ivo Van Hove (current innovative NY staging of Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge).

Three primary mentors have influenced Mouawad's staging of “The Lady Aoi” - the late Jacques Lecoq who has been instrumental in all things at Imago, the kinetic and charged world of Richard Foreman, and the freshness of innovative psychological realism of Ivo Van Hove.

Mouawad’s last Mishima production The Black Lizard in 2012 brought a pulp fiction/Japanese world to Portland boards ("dazzling … brilliant…. There’s the Portland theater scene. And there's Imago.  -Brett Campbell, Oregon Arts Watch). Returning again to Mishima, Mouawad will recreate a sense of what he calls “chamber theatre,” a hushed, subconscious auditory theatre enhanced by sound loops, live percussion, kinetic movement and miked actors.

“The Lady Aoi” tells the story of a living ghost. Mouawad: “I didn’t know what a living ghost was until I read this work. In Japanese culture, someone who is out of control with jealousy will unintentionally, in their sleep, bring to life their own living ghost. This ghost will walk the earth and inflict danger on the cause of the jealousy.” The living ghost Lady Rokujo (Jeannie Rogers) haunts Lady Aoi (Gwendolyn Duffy) who is being treated for sex complexes at a strange hospital run by a peculiar nurse (Emily Welsh). On the night of this play, Lady Rokujo encounters Lady Aoi’s husband. The original story has its roots in one of Japan's most legendary collection of stories, “The Tale of Gengi,” written by Murasaki Shikibu in 1005 (on this site – considered “a badass chick of Japanese History”). The first ever novel serial was so popular with the Japanese that by the 15th century the Japanese Noh Drama of the same name had become and remains one of the most popular Noh Dramas to date.








Part of Third Rail's Wild Card Series



This is a tale woven from the nether regions of the mind…

… dimensions of sight and sound, where nothing is real and everything is possible….I, and my artistic friend, Deanna, were both somewhat speechless after the performance…. In this production, the stimuli is not just the story, but the beats and rhythm…. [of] the music…. like memories or dreams …lighting …flows from one “reality” to another…[a] modulation of the voices… it is an organic, visceral experience.


Mouawad’s plays are always stimulating and invade the senses in very unique ways.  I guarantee you will not walk away from one of his productions…. without being touched.  His actors … move voices and bodies to a secret rhythm.  The environment… has a life of its own, pulsating with primal chants and images from deep within.

Dennis Sparks

Read Full Review


A tight, nuanced production involving ancient roots and modern sensibility ….Few theater artists are as adept at creating surprising, self contained worlds through minimal means (movement, light, sound) as Mouawad. Here, every element of production — from acting to lighting to sound — contributes, with everyone involved hitting the dozens of cues bristling throughout the hour-long performance. … evocative lighting design …. it’s almost cinematic….… portentous sound design, with music ranging from exquisitely subtle and atmospheric sound loops to over-the-top drum pounding … expertly heightens and underlines or undermines moods, The two antagonists wore vocal mikes…[an] extremely effective expressive device.


The four actors fully embody … .. they share a tightly controlled gestural language, and it has a Japanese accent: mannered, ritualistic, a little exaggerated, almost but not quite cartoonish, and just right for this thin, noir-ish tale…..Such exquisitely subtle and evocative details makeLady Aoi’s diverse elements add up to much more than their sum, or their source.


Brett Campbell, Oregon Arts Watch

Read Full Review


A… playground for an artist who likes to pull out all the stops!

Enid Spitz, Willamette Week