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Transcript of Noh Theatre
By Kyle MacNaughton-Wright
Noh Theatre is the traditional theatre of Japan.
To this day Noh Theatre has barely changed.
Typically, Noh Plays are short and lack dialogue. A programme tends to include three of the five ‘types’:
Noh is performed on a square stage with a roof that is supported at its four corners by pillars.
Noh performers typically wear silk robes known as shozuko.
The main actor in a play also wears a mask carved from cypress.
There are five roles in a Noh play.
"The best night of my life was watching the Japanese Noh theater. I've only seen it once, but even saying it now, I think, 'How can I ever have this experience again?' It was so mesmerizing, so complicated and so primordial; I could not believe it."
- Vivienne Westwood
Two of the most famous practitioners of Noh Theatre were Kan'ami Kiyotsugu and Zeami Motokiyo.
Noh, or ‘No’ Theatre- comes from the Japanese nō, meaning ‘Talent/Skill’.
Noh was developed in parallel with a style of theatre known as Kyogen. Noh and Kyogen are known together as Nogaku.
Kan’ami Kiyotsugu taught his son Zeami and went on to found the Kanze School where they taught the Noh practice. After his father’s death, Zeami directed the school.
Zeami said the actor must master three basic roles: the warrior, the woman, and the old person.
He wrote that the two main elements in Noh acting were monomane and yūgen.
Shite - The Leading Actor
Waki - The Supporting Actor
Hayashi - The Musicians
Jiutai - The Chorus
Koken/Kuroko - Stage Hands
The Famous Itsukushima Theatre
Kan'ami statue in Nabari
The main story of a Noh play is delivered through song like an opera.
The shite delivers most of the narration and will sometimes sing from the perspective of different people.