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Theatre 100: Bunraku

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Tahaiya Sohail

on 2 October 2012

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Transcript of Theatre 100: Bunraku

Bunraku Melissa Quigley
Tahaiya Sohail
Ryan Stevenson Three Types of
Performers What is
Bunraku? Puppets Shamisen Players Tayu
[Chanters] Ningyozukai
[Puppeteers] Video History The Stage Historical Demise & Resurrection Literary Content Plebian end •Japanese puppet theater developed in the Tokugawa, or Edo, period (1600-1868)

•Puppet theater originally from religious ceremony involving Dionysian figure

•Closely related to Kabuki

•Goal of puppetry is to imitate reality

•Musical components A Brief Overview • The narrator of the story

• Text (maruhon) contains words
and intonation information

• The tayuū provides first person
dialogue, as well as the ji, a part
similar to the Greek choros
* All contain a beginning, dramatic climax, and resolution Historical jidai joruri portrays fantasy-like stories of the aristocracy and heroes
Divided into subcategories that include imperial court and family dramas
Draws mostly on adaptations of older existing literature
Main characters were famous or prominent in history
5-part plays Sewa joruri shows the life of the common folk
Depicts actual current events
Bloody, violent, “people’s” theater
3-part plays * Literary content (joruri) was created to reflect Edo society * Two types: historical and common

Instrument is similar to a guitar or banjo
The ancestor of the Shamisen was developed in the 16th century
"We are first drawn into the plot by the stirring sounds of the shamisen. Listening to this three-string instrument - the heaviest of all lutes - the soul is deeply stirred in anticipation of the drama's unfolding. The listener must therefore fully immerse himself in the shamisen's music and let himself be transported by this peculiar energy that reveals destiny's tragedy as it calls forth all the components of the tale."
The shamisen helps to tie the puppets, chanter, and the story together The word
in Japanese
literally means
"three strings" The instrument
is literally a three-string instrument Three Parts: -1-
Yuka The musicians stage
Where the music of the stage is performed
Thrusts out into the audience -2-
Tesuri & Funazoko There are 3 partitions (tesuri) and have pits (funazoko) in the stage
Pit is where puppeteers stay
They are cut in the stage so that the puppets appear to be walking -3-
Komaku & Misuuchi Small curtains (komaku) help the actors leave discreetly
Screened-off rooms on the sides of the stage (misuuchi) help musicians prepare for the sounds of the show After WWII, the General MacArthur wanted to get rid of many Japanese cultural staples
This included Bunraku
Today less than 30 troupes; most performing actively but during festival season
The man credited with saving Bunraku is Oklahoman man named Faubion Bowers who was Gen. MacArthur's personal translator and claimed it to be a "world culture"
Today we see Bunraku's influence in Western theater performances like The Lion King Ningyo-joruri, literally puppets and storytelling
1684-Osaka, Japan: name of Takemoto Gidayu's theater
Narrator, famous for storytelling Chikamatsu Monzaemon Kept fantasy of old-style storytelling, but added human elements
Dramas about loyalty to feudal lord, family, etc. over personal feelings
tragedy of blindly following law
Sewamono-plays about merchant class
shinju-"love suicides"
Sonezaki Shinju inspired people to actually commit double suicide so that love lives on forever
tragedy of blindly following personal feelings
100+ plays; "Shakespeare of Japan" Takeda Izumo Financial support and experience
Family of successful producers
Made puppets more life-like and plays more lavish, large-scale Bunraku=name of art itself
around end of Meiji Era (1868-1912)

Today, Bunraku is the official name
of puppet theatre 3 puppeteers to operate each puppet
omo-zukai: main; face, right arm, right hand
hidari-zukai: left arm, left hand, props
ashi-zukai: feet
Can take 30 years to become skilled omo-zukai!
Wear black costumes and hoods to appear invisible to audience
except omo-zukai, sometimes
Highly complex with sophisticated facial features Life-like, seem to move freely 2 1/2 - 4 feet tall depending on age and gender
Heads (kashira)
male & female
classified by age, rank, social class, personality
names reflect characteristics
Wigs also indicate position
Costumes consist of inner robe, kimono, outer jacket, outer robe, and obi sash Mechanism Heads carved of wood
Attached to stick, manipulated by main puppeteer
Cord moves head, handles move eyes, mouth, eyebrows, wrists, and fingers
Stick for left hand
Females feet-less, move by manipulating hem
Full transcript