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Noh Theater The Art of Theater spreads across the planet. Japan is one of the many places where theatre is a predominant art in culture. An art of great.

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Presentation on theme: "Noh Theater The Art of Theater spreads across the planet. Japan is one of the many places where theatre is a predominant art in culture. An art of great."— Presentation transcript:

1 Noh Theater The Art of Theater spreads across the planet. Japan is one of the many places where theatre is a predominant art in culture. An art of great beauty!! SIMON HARDING GRADE 11, DRAMA COURSE

2 A Basis of Noh Theatre Noh Theatre began in 1375, when a powerful lord of Japan, The Shogun, developed a passionate interest for Noh, which he then was able to expand due to his influence in the country. His name was Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, he had a friend and his son who helped him Kanami Kiyotsugu, Zeami Motokiyo The very first forms of Noh were very primitive, and concentrated on rituals and tribe gatherings. Sarugaku, which was connected to Shinto rituals, Dengaku, a kind of acrobatics with juggling, which later developed into a type of song-and-dance. In the fourteenth century, these various sources seem to have been merged into a form of theater recognizable to modern audiences as Noh, although just what those early plays were like is hard to say. Zeami is the prime figure in Noh, having written a wide quantity of plays for his troupe to act, many of which are still regularly performed to this day. He also wrote a very famous treatise in 1423 on the skills and methods necessary for a Noh actor, and that document is still valid study for young actors.

3 Beauty of Noh One reason for this is that there is a grandeur and beauty in the plays not to be found elsewhere. The word yuugen, meaning that which lies below the surface, with connotations of nobility, reserved elegance and classical refinement is often used about Noh, and it especially applies to several plays about the Heian period poetess and great beauty Ono no Komachi in ancient times, when she has lost her looks and her court position, but still appears dressed in silks and satins of restrained hue. There is also a kind of abstraction in Noh which was centuries more advanced than in the west, and indeed it is discouraged to appear to imitate the outside forms of people and objects too near, concentrating rather on the character or soul which the actor will attempt to recreate. For nearly a millennium, Noh did not change, it is a very traditional practice, the bauty of it is an essential part of the actual practice.

4 Importance of Masks in Noh In Noh theatre it is usually custom to where a mask. The only exception would be if the main character plays an adult male. Kokata, or boy actors, never wear masks, nor do waki, the secondary characters who appear first on stage to set the scene, and meet the main actor. Masks are carved from wood, often cedar, which is then gessoed and painted, and include some of the most moving works of sculptural art in Japan, and, since there are so many different types, it takes a certain familiarity with them to recognize specific types.

5 Stage in Noh Theatre The play is performed on a stage open on three sides, and with a painted backboard representing a pine tree behind. A sort of walkway, called the hashigakari,leads onto the stage right position from an entrance doorway at right angles to the backboard. Along the hashigakari are three small pine trees, and these define areas where the actor may pause to deliver lines, before arriving on the main roofed stage, which is about six metres square. In front of the blackboard the musicians are all raised and perform there. The instruments present are include a flute, a shoulder drum, a hip drum and sometimes a stick drum. The musicians are responsible for the otherworldly, strange music which accompanies dance and recitation alike. At extreme stage left, there is the chorus of eight to twelve chanters arranged in two rows and it is their job to take over the narration of the story, or the lines of the main character if he is engaged in a dance. These elements all contribute to a cohesive whole which creates a richly textured background against which the play is enacted, and since no scenery, few props and only a small cast appears, the imagination of the audience is left to roam freely.

6 Noh- The Theatre Mission In general, Japanese Noh plays are not very dramatic, they are beautiful, because the text is full of poetical allusions and the dances, though slow, are extremely elegant. It is beauty which makes Noh a living art form still, over six hundred years after it developed, and which has caused all subsequent Japanese theatrical forms to draw on aspects of Noh. Kabuki, for example, has lifted complete Noh plays into its vernacular, as well as deriving many of its technical aspects of performance from Noh. The Japanese Noh also antedates many developments in contemporary theater, such as no scenery, symbolic use of props and the appearance of non-actors on the stage. They incourage the audience to take part. The Noh theater still speaks to audiences today, as evinced by the crowds which still rush to buy tickets for performances at the National Noh Theater, and at the five theaters belonging to the five troupes of Noh. It is a timeless art-form, which is loved by modern audiences as did to the noblemen and women of the Muromachi period.

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