2008年6月27日金曜日

佐野町場ろうそく能


Noh report
Selena Panchoo

Shortly after I arrived in Japan, I was asked if I’d be interested in going to a Noh play with a few other Momoyama Gakuin University exchange students. I was incredibly excited since performance art is an integral part of my major at my home University. There was no way I could pass up the opportunity so, on Saturday May 3rd 2008, I headed off to Izumi-sano with three other students.

We met at Izumi-chuo station at 5:10 p.m., thinking we would arrive with plenty of time to spare but, even though we got there half an hour early, we barely found seats in the last few rows. By the time the play began, it was standing room only.

The first part of the performance consisted of explanations and demonstrations with audience participation. Although I was unable to understand everything, it was still fun and when audience members were brought on stage, it was almost always resulted in a lot of laughter and applause. After a short intermission, the play began.

One of the things that interested me about Noh is that none of the actors or musicians rehearse together ahead of time, instead working on their parts alone until the time of the performance. I didn’t know much more about it than that so I had no idea what to expect, but the play turned out to be fantastic.

The scene we saw depicted the meeting between a tengu and a young boy, Yoshitsune, the younger brother of Minamoto no Yoritomo, founder of the Kamakura shogunate, who was killed by the Taira clan.

One particularly surprising aspect of the performance for me was the child actor, playing the role of Yoshitsune, who recited many lines without the typical cues that most actors rely on from rehearsed interaction with other actors and music. The whole performance was also incredibly fluid. It was as if the cast and musicians had practiced together for years. Not to mention, the actors were so graceful, it sometimes appeared as if they were floating across the stage.

The costumes were also quite ornate and the setting was very beautiful. We were seated on benches covered with pastel coloured cushions and the stage was surrounded by candles, creating a comfortable atmosphere for the viewer.

As one of my first experiences in Japan, the play was a wonderful introduction to Japanese culture and traditional performance art. I would highly recommend it to anyone visiting Japan.
(写真提供:YUI企画)

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