RU  UK  EN
Статьи  >  Imagine  >  Kabuki: thorny path of flower

Kabuki: thorny path of flower

Автор: 22.10.2019 | Japan, art, traditions
Traditional Japanese kabuki theatre has always been a mystery to the European mentality: only an expert on the culture of the Land of the Rising Sun can understand a play without guide’s tips. The word kabuki is sometimes translated as "the art of singing and dancing". Why not an operetta? The essence of performance is not confined to musical presentation only...

...the same as an experienced actor rips off his kimono at rapid-fire pace, revealing a new attire under a pile of hand-painted silk, a sentimental drama of the Edo period reveals the deep layers of the Japanese philosophy, making a viewer feel involved into the national history.1967_1_kabuki.jpg
Photo yabai.com

Dipping into he atmosphere of the play begins with a procession of actors on a wooden walkway hanamichi running from the left edge of the stage through the hall. During the performance hanamiti serves as a projection, and in some theatres hanamichi pathways are built on the right side, thus surprising the audience with brilliantly synchronized three-level performance. After the play, the grateful fans adorn hanamichi with flowers, so the name of this stage in Japanese means "path of flowers".

Theatre audience is appealed directly through a delicate art of "face play", providing an actor with an opportunity for self-expressions within unchanging canon. Each kabuki image is a static mask created by a multi-layer kumadori stage makeup. White colour of foundations symbolizes youth, and yellow-brown colours are associated with maturity and withering. The nature of male character is revealed through colour pattern painted on cheeks and forehead: red colour represents courage and nobility, black accompanies magic and divine providence, and blue paint is used to label cowards, spiteful critics and demons in human likeness.tumblr_inline_oubg8k0pfg1ul4wcc_1280.jpg
Photo wearejapan.com

At first glance, mask completely subjugates personality of an actor assigning a strict order of gestures, intonations and poses to the role, thus creating an easily recognizable line of character. The choice of protagonists is limited to three types widespread in folklore: aragoto – a strongman endowed with supernatural power; wagoto – a refined gentleman and ladies' man; jitsugoto – a wise man defeating a formidable enemy with his fortitude. Companion of a protagonist is usually a comic figure: a funny fool dôkegata or koyaku – a little boy who is played by a son of some troupe’s member.

According to the logic of the play’s plot, sooner or later there will be a scoundrel poisoning life of good characters. The images of villains are more dynamic, but they are quite predictable: jitsuaku is an evil conspirator or a big-time cruel villain seeking for wealth and power; iroaku is a handsome, young and crafty seducer; kugeaku is a misguided off-spring of a noble family.

Favourites of the public usually are onnagata, performers of female roles. Young shy girl musumegata, high-ranking courtesan keisei, virtuous wife of a merchant sewa nyôbô, vicious aristocrat akahime and cruel femme fatal akuba. The female nature has thousands of faces, like the Kannon Bodhisattva, and each of them is perfectly played by a male actor. Older generation of theatre-goers often complain about the sharpness and directness of modern emancipated Japanese women, in their opinion, only onnagata retained the elegant manners and grace of a noble lady.mgm-grand-2016-events-kabuki-lion-admat-no-text-2880x1800.jpg.image_.260.169.high_.jpg
Photo blog.vegas.com

Ironically, theatre forbidden to the fair sex, was founded by a female dancer Izumo no Okuni from Edo who was a skilful dancer at the Grand Shrine of Izumo. Trying to ease the perception of a complex ritual symbolism of temple dances for ordinary citizens, a priestess accompanied her performances with recitation of folk tales, and in between choreographic pieces, the prima amused people with comic songs with erotic overtones.

Thanks to the patronage of the youngest son of the shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu, Izumo no Okuni was given a stage in the Kitamo temple and assembled around her a troupe of wandering female performers who danced and acted in knockabout comedies and sketches. Okuni and her entourage were directed by rhythms of shamisen and beats of mallets, and the singer-narrator told what was happening on stage, so that even completely uneducated citizens could follow the plot of the play. The revolving stage facilitates and rapid replacement of the scenery allowed to keep a high tempo of play. Theatre of Okuni-san was rapidly gaining popularity, but the price for success was fights and scandals because of jealousy, as many of the actresses did not hesitate to provide sexual services to their fans.

After the battle in the theatre in 1629, shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu banned women from performing, replacing female actors by men, but among the noble samurai there were many supporters of same-sex love. The epic battle for morality resulted in decision to allow only mature men to go on stage, and to force all the theatres out of the city limits. The descendants of samurai birth were strictly forbidden to appear in the artistic quarter of Asakusa and bring actors home, but aristocrats still made their way to the performances, dressed up like artisans and traders.04-min.jpg
Photo englishonlycafe.com

Due to the constant pressure of censorship, kabuki artistic means gained strictly formal expression. No play was complete without classic techniques of tachimawari (fighting scenes with swords), mie (holding a picturesque pose to establish a character), danmari (a silent pantomime, with actors moving slowly in the dark) and roppo (a stylised, exaggerated way of walking to signify the exit of an important character). It may seem that extremely regulated play is unbearably boring, but in fact conditional action, multiplied by the outstanding talents, drew vehement force on the artistic temperament to exquisite psychological nuances that escape the attention of the viewer in the heat of passion. Spectacular art of pantomime of the Japanese bourgeois theatre has been realized in soulful close-ups of Akira Kurosawa and Sergei Eisenstein. Of course, it is still too early to send kabuki to the antiques shop: who knows what other wonders are hiding behind the stage curtain…

Cover photo independent.co.uk

Вам это будет интересно:
Divine mugham: the music of Azerbaijan
There is music which brings us back to life. It happens even if the tears are falling when one listens to it. The musical genre mugham talks to the audience using the right language. Everyone has lived out unhappy love, loss of a close person or ruin of ideals. These topics became the source of inspiration for the musicians of Azerbaijan movement mugham. OUTLOOK will tell about this unique style of music.
National drinks: Zero degrees and lots of energy
Everyone knows that being in Scotland you should try whiskey, in France you should taste wine, and in Japan t is all about sake. But few people think about national soft drinks. They were created by peoples with far more practical intentions - refreshing and burning, repelling from the climate features, possessing nourishing properties.
Everything on sale: Worlds's best markets and bazaars
In this day and age, it is difficult to surprise anyone, especially an urban resident, with some large department store or market, since nowadays one can buy everything from a humble convenience store next door. However, the iconic bazaars and flea markets are still operating across the globe, they are famous in legends and described with delight.
Sacred animals of the Incas
Our "Peruvian cycle" is replenished with the story of the most revered animals in Peru. Being the link between the present and the past, they play an important role in the life of this nation. Wise ancestors of the modern Peruvians, the ancient Incas, were living in harmony with all life that surrounded them.
Serpent Charmers: How to make a snake dance?
Magic dance of a snake in time with flute’s melody often described in Eastern fairy tales and depicted in movies is no fiction but a true symbol of those countries. In Egypt, India, African countries and some other states slithering tribe are tamed to make a spectacular entertainment out of it. Profession of reptile charmers exists there; it is believed to be as nearly as the most amazing on Earth.
Hanging Out In Pakistan
OUTLOOK studied the brightest Pakistani holidays, because the saying goes for a reason: people live same way they hang out. An amazing game of history. Pakistan appeared on political map relatively short time ago yet one doesn’t have the heart to call it ‘young’ for it is inhabited with heirs of one of the most ancient civilization.
The way they dance
What is it that characterizes any nation without much words and long explanations? Dances, of course, because it is these movements, refined over centuries, that can tell a foreigner about other peoples much more than thick history books. If you carefully watch and feel the way people dance in different countries, their mind set will become much more comprehensible. And these aren’t mere words.
A Spot on the Map: Ilana Goor Museum
Elaborating an itinerary for a modern tourist has long ago gone beyond a simple classic conception of a trip abroad. Globetrotters of today are so demanding that travel agencies will soon run out of clients to whom to offer a standard set of historic places and souvenir shops because demand is increasing for emotions instead of traditional sightseeing tours.
Twelve guises of South Korea
Only dancing and wearing mask, Korean peasants were able to express their disgust towards rudeness or greed of the hosts or apply to some deity with extraordinary request. Keeping anonymity, the people played out the scenes from life, cried, and laughed. At the end of the performance the destiny awarded the good characters and punished villains.
World ghettos: Samurai on the Carnival
Today in our already traditional column we talk about national ghettos – a story about one of the most exotic districts in São Paulo – about Liberdade. It is there where the world’s largest Japanese diaspora lives. Immigration from the Land of the Rising Sun began in 1908 when 165 families arrived on Brazilian land ...
Let’s talk in Japan or how to understand a Japanese
Despite the title, in this article we won’t talk about peculiarities of Japanese hieroglyphs and pronunciation. First of all, because there is a whole bunch of specialized literature and secondly, if you don’t study Japanese such knowledge may widen your horizons but will be of no use in practice whatsoever.
Crafts of Uzbekistan. Straw Items
OUTLOOK was lucky to visit hospitable Uzbekistan and get better acquainted with crafts of this amazing country. Today we tell you about art of straw work, about materials that craftsmen use and what secrets and unique features of this craft are. Feel the world with us!
Eastern music of Sufi: Qawali
‘Love evolves when one looks in the eyes of the person beloved seeing there God’, in such a way the lines of some Arabian song called Qawali is translated. The authorship of this chant is ascribed to Eastern strangers Sufi who tending to find the sense of existence strolled around the half an Earth bare-footed. In the travels they composed songs where they told narration describing what they had to endure.
Forgotten art: Chinese ceremony in South Korea
After the walking along the boisterous streets of Seoul one wants to take it easy in a café drinking a cup of flavored tea, however, it never happens like that. Good teahouses are found out only near Buddhist monasteries or at the bohemian pedestrian street Insadon. Chinese ceremony in Korea that is incomparable with the rough schedule of offices and remaining the joy of wise people and privilege of the masters.
Malanka and Vasyl winter fun: Carnival in Ukrainian style
The New Year in Ukraine did not always start with a Christmas tree, and instead of Santa Claus and Snow Maiden, guests were waiting fora minx girl - Malanka and motor-boy Vasyl accompanied by the retinue. All the follies were out of hand: the ridiculed riddles carried a sacred content, dictated by the logic of the myth of the duel of spring and winter.
Mulled wine: Yummy way to keep warm
Vitamins, development of resistance to cold, correct day regimen... That's all good and useful, especially when the winter weather swirls in, but sometimes we all have to pamper ourselves and at the same time to be protected against germs and colds. And the best way to do it is to sip some mulled wine.
New Year in offbeat way: Traditions around the world
In anticipation of the holiday rush, we took a sleigh, harnessed reindeer and enjoyed a ride across the planet to find out unique customs for welcoming New Year worldwide.
Maculele: dance to make the sparks fly
When the first emigrants from Africa came to Brazil, they brought rousing actions in the country that had been living upon the principle ‘Life is a carnival’. As the citizens of Africa explained, dance maculele appeared in the environment where slaves had to protect themselves from the encroachment of their owners.
Super-chilled: Best festivals of ice and snow art
Ice and snow has long been used by artists to create different figures and objects, and only 1960, this age-old skill became a new trend of a land art! The largest number of winter artworks is created during special festivals about which we will tell our readers.
Eskimo igloo: It is easy as a pie to build castles in ...snow
A little son came to his father and suggested to run away from mom and granny to the North Pole? Now, do not indulge into tragic speeches of severe frosts, pitch darkness of the polar night and hungry polar bears! Give a conspiracy wink to a little brave one, and give him a real man's job for his school winter holidays that is to learn how to build an igloo, night shelter in ever-frost lands.
Закрыть
Outlook facebook page