No and Kyogen Theatre

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Nō and Kyōgen Theatre

Nō is a theatrical performance traced back from medieval times. Unlike most narrative dramas, the actors duel in visual presentations such as masking while telling a story. This is a classical Japanese cultural performance whereby in most instances men are staged to act women roles as their women counterparts play men roles. Currently, Noh performance is structured by ‘iemoto system’ which emphasizes on traditional cultural themes and not modernity.

Origins of Nō

Nō performance originated from the medieval aristocratic art and folks. It was then Muromachi period, (1336 to 1573), whereby it was recognized as an influential drama.

Particularly, Ashikaga clan played a critical role in developing Noh into a powerful play similar to other developments such as Kabuki and Buto.

In order to build a unique drama setup, Ashikaga Yoshimitsu ,the then military dictator, devised an acting style whereby Noh actors rehearsal before the actual performance was done only once.

In the years of Tokugawa, (1603–1867), Noh registered continuous transformations that made it socially significant to be used in most Japanese festival functions.

Noh evolved from ancient dances to modified festival dramas and then later a ceremonial drama used especially in peace campaigns

Conventions and Important Artists

Nō is convened in an ancient form of drama performance distinctive to a particular audience.

Currently, most of the dramas are distinctively transformed to fit different occasions.

On the stage, characters are professionally selected and in most cases, men act women roles as women mask themselves to conduct the roles of men.

Performance and Important Artists

In its full arrangement, Noh performances are always very long in order to show the talent and skills of every actor.

The main character of the play puts on a different costume outfit different to other actors. In most instances, he/she is the very last to enter the stage with a combination of masks to capture the attention of the audience.

Noh plays are categorized into five types mainly kami, shura mono, katsura mono, gendai mono and kyojo mono which is also known as ‘madwoman’ play.

The hall of fame includes names like Zeami, Komparu Zenchiku, Bertolt Brecht, Peter Brook, Jacques Lecoq, Jacques Copeau, Eugenio Barba, Jerzy Grotowski, Heiner Müller, Eugene O’Neill, and Osvobozené Divadlo among others.

Notably, performances in Kyōgen theatre highly simulate those of Nō to a significant extent. This is because it gets mainly identified as a category under the Nō performance art and traditions.

Work Cited

Brandon, James R, and Martin Banham. The Cambridge Guide to Asian Theatre. Cambridge England: Cambridge University Press, 1993: 142-179. Print.

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