Day Three – What would Zeami wear?

Friday’s lecture centered on the history of noh costuming, and how it has changed inexorably over the years as the craft gained legitimacy (and money.)

We opened the class with a review of homework. Participants had been asked to read the noh plays Hyakuman and Aoinoue, and to suggest how they might proceed if they were faced with the choice of selecting costumes. To foreshadow or not? How subtle or overt to be? What season is it, and how should the color and motifs reflect this? As one might expect there was overlap and divergence in the choices. The primary costume elements didn’t seem to be in debate, but the color choices varied widely.

The Kita-ryu utaibon (chant book) indicated that no red was to be used for Aoinoue, but we looked at a number of photos of performances and red was a predominant choice. This led to an overall discussion about costume style and choice, and an examination of how it had changed over the years.

Also, field trips to Yano-san’s conservation workshop and to Koyo Kida’s embroidery workshop were held. Please have a look at Mr. Mathews comments in the proceeding entry for some insight into those trips.

Saturday – travel from Kyoto to Fukuyama.

Nozomi 101 Shinkansen arriving at Kyoto Station –
bound for Fukuyama.

Editor’s Note: both Yano-san and Koyo Kida asked that we not share any of the images of their work in progress. If you’d like to see some of this amazing artistry – please plan on attending one of our future workshops.


About Theatre Nohgaku

Noh, one of the oldest continuing stage arts, combines highly stylized dance, chant, music, mask and costume with intense inner concentration and physical discipline, creating a uniquely powerful theatrical experience. Theatre Nohgaku’s mission is to share noh’s beauty and power with English speaking audiences and performers. We have found that this traditional form retains its dramatic effectiveness in languages other than Japanese. We believe noh techniques hold a powerful means of expression in the context of contemporary English language theatre.
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