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:
Kamasan: Village of masterpieces in Bali
Bali is one of the most popular places to spend winter. Ocean, volcanoes, amazing nature and exotic fruits... But there is also one more reason that not many people know of, yet it definitely deserves attention: Kamasan, a unique art village where namesake Balinese picture art was conceived – as ancient as the island itself. We are going to tell about it today on the pages of the OUTLOOK.
Handicraft: persian carpets
In those days when the Persian soldiers were second to none, and both the Roman Empire and the Arabian Peninsula were conquered by their power, skilful fingers of winner nation craftswomen created their first masterpiece. The carpet called The Springtime passed into history as the most precious of all time. It symbolized powerful rule of the Persians, and its beauty told about the divine origin of the king Khosrow I.
Mehndi – instead of a thousand tattoos
Every other person has considered having a tattoo, maybe not permanent but at least a temporary one. Absolutely painless application of drawings that can be altered in a couple of weeks is offered by Mehndi art – henna painting.
Pablo Picasso: Poet for his era
About Picasso as a distinctive artist, graphic artist and sculptor, we know to some extent everything. Meanwhile, his other incarnations are pushed into the background. Ilya Ehrenburgh once very concisely described Pablo Picasso’s relations with his era: “20th century found in him its own dynamite expert, its own philosopher and its own poet”.
On the Move. Street food from around the world. Part 2
Do you happen to get hungry? That is great as we go on with our story about the most popular street food from around the world. It’s freshly cooked - fall to, you guys! Let's start with the South Asian countries, namely Singapore - seafood-rich in vitamins and minerals occupy a key place in the diet of residents ...
Yodel - Music of the Austrian mountains
Austrian tour operators launched an unusual touristic tourdesigned for fans of singing style called yodel. Hikers wander through the Ziller Valley, a broad trail narrows opening the way for only the most avid travellers, then track leads upwards. Tourists look into the interactive station shaped as a giantsonorous walk-in cowbell, then they go around thelargest alpine horn and head to place...
Blood. Money. Feather
This entertainment is strictly forbidden in almost all countries of the world. But lovers of cockfights do not stop. Partly illegal competitions always gather full halls or courtyards, depending on the fact where the deadly bird fights are. Spectators literally savor the way the birds tear each other to shreds, without showing pity for themselves and their rivals.
Boat instead of shopping basket: Famous floating markets
Stores, shopping malls, markets - all these places are an integral part of daily goings-on of almost every person on our planet. It would seem there is nothing special about them: they are all alike, just goods and prices vary depending on country or city. In fact, it is not quite true since some markets are only accessible via waterways. Our today’s story is about them.
White gold of Tianxia. Chinese porcelain
The civilization of ancient China was one of the first to discover porcelain. It is established that back in II millennium BC the firing temperature of pottery found in the Yellow River was close to 1200 ° C. According to some researchers, the invention of porcelain was dictated by the desire to find a replacement for greenstone and jade.
Visa is useless: Where tourists are not allowed
Perhaps, everyone who is going to plunge into fun holiday has already planned spectacular routes and scenic spots. In order not to spoil your trip and not to see gates to the desired gateway closing right in front of your nose, we encourage you to read our selection of locations forbidden for visits.
Desperate Futurism: Japan. Part 4
So, to wash your hands, you have to leave indoor slippers before bathroom threshold, step into the bathroom, slip into the special footwear, wash hands, remove those special bathroom slippers, and switch for indoor slippers when re-entering the living area. Earlier, probably in jest, Oba-san warned me that if I step onto the living area in the toilet slippers, he will tell me about hara-kiri rules.
On the Move. Street food from around the world
Experienced tourists believe that one of the best sure-fire ways to quickly tune into the beat of another culture is to try local food. In order not to be at a loss when choosing dishes and save precious time for spiritual food, Outlook gives you selective advice on street gastronomy from seven spots of the globe.
This is a real service! Japanese taxi
The first thing every tourist shall learn in a country is a transport system. Very often it seems to be complicated and confusing, and it takes weeks or even months to make head or tail of it. OUTLOOK reader Natalia Usenko visited Japan and is sharing her impressions about the most comfortable and safest transport in the world.
Desperate Futurism: Japan. Part 3. “Samurai Spirit”
If what they show in cinematograph is true than a typical samurai appears to be austere, taciturn and even slightly unsociable person. But this image in actual fact doesn’t get in line with reality... You don’t believe it? Our journalist Elena Rasenko suggests you make sure of it for yourself.
Mandala Therapy
Yesterday I created a Universe. I took some peas, rice, buckwheat, millet, black and white pepper seeds and cardamom. Grabbed a handful of coffee and aniseeds. Then it all acquired a centre. It kept growing and calming my thoughts. When the last seed landed in the circle, I felt forgotten harmony again, heard birds singing through the noise of cars on the avenue...
Rice fields: Grains of unbelievable beauty
- Do you want to try some rice? - such a question is greeted by guests in China. And if the owners are also farmers, they can invite you on an unusual excursion and show you the masterpiece of natural art. The grass which we often eat without thinking about its aesthetics, at the time of growing resembles a blanket woven from multi-colored rags ...
Desperate Futurism: Japan. Part 2 “Fish Day”
It is just as hard to imagine a Japanese who doesn’t eat fish as to picture a Scott who doesn’t drink whiskey. OUTLOOK journalist Elena Rasenko will tell you about a unique place where successors of samurai purchase fine seafood for their tables.
Bregenz. To the Theatre in a Tuxedo And on a Catamaran
Especially for those who believe theatre and opera music to be vestige of the past, we tell about an amazing Austrian theatre where traditional art meets technical and engineering novelties and also a great view of the Alps.
Desperate Futurism: Japan. Part 1
OUTLOOK journalist Elena Rasenko came back from Japan and launches a special series of articles devoted to this country. Warning for very sensitive readers: Beware! After reading, you will get a keen desire to break away, buy a ticket and fly to such a marvelous and fascinating Land of the Rising Sun!
Thailand handcraft: From silk to pearls
Have you ever thought how many grains of history are stored in each item sold at little booths in Thailand? Yet, strolling along those souvenir stalls you are browsing craft records of the whole nation, briefly looking through notes survived from a thousand years ago to the present day. Some pages have thinned to transparency, but marks did preserve their former accuracy.
Закрыть
Outlook facebook page