Crazy Jane (Pt. IV)

(Editor’s note: the below is the final entry of David Crandall’s English-language noh “Crazy Jane.” Jane causes the Young Man to dance, and a question is raised about who is real and who is not, who is mad and who is sane.)

Didn’t I warn you? She’ll go on like that all night if you let her. But don’t be upset with her-she can’t help being what she is.

And yet she makes me feel uneasy, the way she looks through me, as if I had no substance, no flesh on my bones. She stirs something deep.

The sound of the sea, the changing light–
There is a strangeness here, as the night closes in. Patterns upon patterns, bringing fragments together, bringing me to the church to find you here. Something in your voice…

I’d be careful not to let her go on too long, if I were you. She has a way of twisting your thoughts like a string around her finger.

And you? What thoughts are yours to be twisted? Look about you! Do you see nothing there in the shadows?

Ah, and now I’ve set her off again. I knew I shouldn’t have let you stay here.

And I should have believed your warning. She’s insane.

Something is moving
A pattern is gathering
Here, inside, and in you
Something is moving
The air is moving
Do not tell me you cannot feel it
It is already shining in your eyes.

Enough, Jane-leave me in peace! There is nothing.

So a man denies the truth in his bones
For the sake of false comfort
But you cannot hold it-
The sound swells like the tide
And now I understand
Where the movement comes from
Now I understand
The hidden note in your voice
It has come again, it has come again
Sweeping us into the dance
Do not tell me you cannot hear it
Already it flows like laughter from your throat
This night will see a dance

I will not dance. Not for the sake of another’s delusions.

You do not will it, yet dance you will
It is in you as in me
Felt like a dream to believe in

I will not dance.

You dance already. Listen. The music has begun.


Where is she? Where has she gone? Did you see her? Do you know where she has gone?

Pitiful man! Each night he comes, whispering to himself, and asking the same impossible questions. I give him food, and shelter when the rains come, or when it’s cold; but it’ll take more than simple kindness, I think, to cure this madness… Ah, and there the bell’s ringing the morning prayer-it’s time I got to work. What I wouldn’t give for a good night’s sleep!

Morning slipping through curtained glass
Gently strokes the eiderdown
Of those whose heavy-lidded dreams
Protect them from the sea

The sky too wide to hold in his hands
But dawn is caught by moving wave
And thrown in pieces at his feet–
The fragments of a dance.


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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