Sunday, October 14, 2012

Noh and Kyogen at Kongo Nohgakudo

Seeing Noh performance at Kongo Nohgakudo theater was one of the main highlights of my stay in Kyoto. Images above show the theater building and the stage. Photography during the performance was prohibited. Getting tickets was easy. The programme was in Japanese, so I asked the box office lady to write down the play name in romaji. This allowed me to google it. The name of the Noh play was Ataka, and to my surprise, I was familiar with the story and its background. The play was about one of the incidents in a tragic conflict between two brothers Yoshitsune and Yoritomo in the 12th century Japan. One thing about the performance surprised me. The part of Yoshitsune, a seasoned military commander and an accomplished swordsman, was played by a boy of about thirteen. I knew that Noh can be a bit abstract, but didn’t expect adult parts to be played by children. The Noh performance was preceded by a Kyogen skit titled Inaba-do, which was truly funny. I immensely enjoyed both Noh and Kyogen.

So far, I have seen a few traditional Japanese performing arts. They are Noh, Bunraku (, Kabuki (, Kyogen and Kamishibai ( I can draw parallels between them and I must say that Noh and Bunraku are my favorites.

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