• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Noh Theatre

Extracts from this document...


Title: History Of The Theatre Word Count: 1117 Tutor: Pat Thorns Abstract In an age of digital cinema, exquisite computer animation and giant talking robots, it is a small wonder that theatre has even survived this far. And yet it consistently receives high reviews, people still flock to the curtained stage in eager anticipation to see centuries-old stories performed before them. But is there a place in modern society for one of the most ancient, revered and deeply traditional forms of Japanese Theatre? This essay will look at the origins, content and possible modern connotations of Noh Theatre. Noh, meaning "talent" or "skill", began in the 14th Century in Japan. It is very much unlike western theatre in that the actors use expressive movements and physical appearance to imply the meaning of their story, rather than act it out. To the untrained eye, it would seem that not much actually happens in a Noh play, but well-informed observers of Noh theatre who are knowledgeable about the story's plot would appreciate the performance and the understated references to Japan's cultural history. ...read more.


and waki (subordinate). These are speciality roles and have their own acting "place" on the stage. The kyogen acting roles are also considered to be major, and one is usually involved in narrating a Noh play. The minor roles in Noh theatre consist of the attendant (tsure), the boy (kokata) and the walk-on (tomo)-though this last one is actually a non-speaking part. Like in Shakespearian times, Noh theatre consisted solely of male actors, and performed as female characters when it was necessary. The entire performance has very strict rules. Each segment has to be performed in a very precise and exact way, with each type of dialogue and song having their own particular name. Zeami Motokiyo, who is considered to be the most important playwright in Noh theatre and most of the plays performed today were written by him, practically created the fundamentals of Noh that have directed its actors for centuries. Each play has a detailed composition; from the way the dialogue is spoken to the dance of the performers. ...read more.


The hannya mask was used to represent a vengeful woman, so consumed with anger that she turns into a demon. Japanese artwork, hannya masks in particular, have become extremely popular amongst tattoo artists, some even specializing in Japanese design, "tattooing takes full advantage of these fanciful and engaging images, often using them in larger pieces of Japanese work or sometimes juxtaposing masks of good and evil characters. Often a Noh mask will also appear in isolation, as a work of art unto itself, not unlike the actual masks which are highly prized and very collectible". Noh is steeped in tradition, with its specific guidelines for performance and dedication of its performers. But it is also considered to be a beautiful and unique form of visual entertainment, perhaps calling on the audiences' own imagination to interpret what they see before them. Older than Shakespeare, Noh could have been a forgotten art form, but the very essence of what made it so popular amongst the social elite in the 14th century is the reason it has survived today, "not simply for its status as 'classic theatre' or because of innovations but as a perfected and refined contemporary stage art". ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Theatre Studies section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Theatre Studies essays

  1. elizabethan times theatre history

    These sources differ in explaining the link between theatre-going and the plague because Source E is a logical/rational reason whereas Source G is a religious reason. Source E explains that theatre going and the plague are linked because the theatre was a place where lots of people came together therefore the plague could be easily spread between them.

  2. theatre Studies portfolio

    This is shown clearly in the play in the Puck-like character- Natalie, manipulating Sophie and arranging her boss's blind date, which creates only confusion. Another theme was taken from "Chatroom", which interested us in the way in which it differentiates people's behaviour in chatrooms and in real life.

  1. A2 theatre studies portfolio

    that the lead protagonists of the play, Hansel and Gretel, undoubtedly were the bigger parts and the other roles were merely supporting parts. This was something we did not want as it would have been unfair on those without the lead roles and so we wanted an ensemble piece that

  2. How Far Did Historical Influences Affect The Development Of The Theatre Royal Bath In ...

    This prompted change to the theatre for a short one off period, and not lots of change over an elongated period of time. Other short-term causes were the appearance of a 'star' actor prompting change in a dressing room for example.

  1. AS Theatre Studies Portfolio

    improvisation we work with very little than the stage and ourselves and anything that happens on stage we do and the audience see it. Moreover, though, seeing a productions of 'Our Country's Good' and 'Mother Courage' influenced and guided us in the Brechtian style of theatre, which we adopted as the style for our piece.

  2. Musical Theatre Report

    Mystery plays and Miracle plays are among the earliest formally developed plays in medieval Europe. Medieval mystery plays focused on the representation of Bible stories in churches as tableaux with accompanying antiphonal song. They developed from the 10th to the 16th century, reaching the height of their popularity in the

  1. 20th century innovators of theatre

    Gardzienice also used site specific work within their company, but what made their use of site-specific work different to Peter Brook's form was the way in which they executed it. Firstly they would interconnect their form of site-specific work and interculterallism.

  2. The Woman in black - The Fortune theatre, London.

    the dolls was a golliwog, which also shows period as they would probably be banned if brought put now. The Music box played Swanlake. There was an even bigger shock in act two when we saw it in disarray after Jennet had vented her anger at not being able to kill Spider, Kipps' canine companion in the marshes.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work