Thursday, 6 October 2011

"Sagi Musume"

Kabuki, Japanese traditional "art of singing and dancing" started in the 1600s. Back then the performers were women who played both male and female roles. Unfortunately, with time, the all female ensamble started to supplement their income with prostitution. This resulted in the shogunate banning actresses from performing in these performances. The roles of men were taken over by adult men and female roles were replaced by young male actors. Unfortunately, again, the boys also became involved in prostitution, so finally all roles were replaced by adult males. This seemed to have reduced the instances of prostitution associated with Kabuki performances, although it did not completely eradicated it. However, the lack of feminine characters suddenly required the adult males to acquire tremendous subtlety and grace in order to depict female characters. This resulted in properly the most beautiful, tasteful, and graceful "drag performance".

I hope to have the opportunity to see a live kabuki performance one day. I'm particularly interested in the depiction of "animals" in these performance. As an example, look at the beautiful "Heron Maiden" dance in the video's below, in which the actor depicts the spirit of a young woman who was reborn as a heron because of bad karma. Instead of merely acting like an animal, these animal performances requires the most subtle gestures to enact the animal's character--the slightest twitch of a foot, or cocking of the head evokes the essence of a heron.


BoerinBallingskap said...

Wou so graag gaan kyk het toe ek in Japan was, maar nooit daarby uitgekom nie.

Skryfblok said...

Ek oorweeg om weer bietjie in Desember 'n draai in Japan te maak indien my begroting en tyd dit toelaat. Hoop ek kry dan die self ook die geleentheid.