Posts Tagged ‘Kabuki’

I’ve long liked this curious Japanese art form. Played entirely by men with extravagant costumes and heavy make-up, exaggerated movement & facial expressions on picture-book kitsch sets, it’s almost like a cartoon coming alive before your very eyes.

Despite the helpful simultaneous translation (& commentary) through individual earpieces, I can’t say I followed the story. Part of the reason is that you’re glued to the visual imagery, so much detail is put into every costume, movement and expression.

They mostly enter along a catwalk running half the length of the stalls on one side, which is very effective (if you’re sitting on the other side, as I was!) and on one occasion enables them to distract you to facilitate a surprise entrance. There’s much quick-change stuff and dramatic entrances from the star, Ebizo Ichikawa XI, in the second half.

I’m not sure the story matters anyway, as gasping at the skills of the performers, admiring the extraordinary costumes and smiling at the kitschness of it all is enough.

It may sometimes seem like a museum or a tourist attraction, but it has to be seen!

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