Monday, May 13, 2013

Invitation to Noh Performances

by Keiko P.
One of the most prominent young Noh Performer, TAKEDA Munenori is coming to this area from Japan. His performing schedule is listed at the end. At these performances, they plan to explain noh and translate the story of the play in English .

Noh is Japanese traditional play. The actors' movements are slow and full of rituals; they are  symbolical and spiritual. Traditionally, the players were all males. Dinah Birch describes noh in The Oxford Companion to English Literature (7 ed.) as below. 

Nōh plays 
A form of ceremonial, ritualistic drama peculiar to Japan, slow, symbolical, and spiritual in character. The style originated in the 14th century, was perfected in the 15th, and flourished during the Edo or Tokugawa period (1603–1868). It has since been revived. The plays are short (one or two acts), in prose and verse, and a chorus contributes comments. The scenery and props are minimal, though the masks and costumes are often lavish. They were formerly acted only at the shōgun's court, five or six in succession, presenting a complete life drama, beginning with a play of the divine age, then a battle piece, a ‘play of women’, a psychological piece (dealing with the sins and struggles of mortals), a morality, and finally a congratulatory piece, praising the shōgun's lords and reign. The text was complemented by symbolic gestures, chanting, and music. About 200 Nōh plays are extant. Of these the most interesting are the psychological pieces, in which some type of human character or some intense emotion is taken as the subject. In various respects the Nōh plays are comparable with the early Greek drama. Both Ezra *Pound and W. B. *Yeats were much influenced by the Nōh theatre: in ‘Certain Noble Plays of Japan’ (1916), Yeats describes the impact of its ritual, simplicity, and stylization on his own plays.

The dates and locations of local noh play are as below. Please visit to purchase your tickets. 

(1) Wednesday, June 26th at Jewel Box Theatre, Poulsbo, WA
(Exhibit 7:00 - 8:30pm)
(2) Friday, June 28th at Nikkei place, Vancouver, BC, Canada
(Exhibit 6:00 - 7:30pm)
(3) Saturday June 29th at Act Theatre, Seattle, WA
(Exhibit  2:00 - 3:30pm)
(4) Sunday, June 30th at Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, Bainbridge
Island, WA (Exhibit 6:00 - 7:30pm)

For those of you curious to see what noh-play looks like, here is one example of Youtube video I found on noh. 

Reference: Birch, Dinah. "Noh Plays." The Oxford Companion to English Literature. 7th ed. Oxford University Press, 2009. Web. 

1 comment:

  1. the most amazing video of the japanese opera, filled with poetry and dance - thank you for finding and posting it, Keiko! i never heard of Noh, and now my curiosity is up and i'm SO open to it after reading your lovely post.

    in a few days i'll be writing Joan L. asking her to notify all SJG volunteers about the 'tale of Genjii' screening in SAAM june 13, i hope you don't mind that i add info about this production, as well?

    perhaps we can make another guides' field trip to see it? it sounds like an extraordinary luck that we can actually see Noh so very soon here in Seattle - many thanks for having your eyes open and alerting us to it!