CHIKAMATSU's Horikawa Nami no Tsuzumi is a play dramatizing the story of ÔKURA Hikohachirô, a feudal retainer of the Tottori Clan, who on June 7,1706 avenged himself in Kyôto Horikawa against the tsuzumi (hand drum in Nô plays) master who had committed adultery with his wife.
This paper reveals how CHIKAMATSU dramatized Otane, the heroine in the story, and what kind of message he put in his work.
At first I point out that he uses three Nô songs. In the beginning of the play, he projects the image of the heroine depicted in Matsukaze onto Otane. And he manipulates her by using the phrases and the plots of Rashômon and Ominaeshi that the tsuzumi master sang while beating his tsuzumi. In this way, he consigns her to a terrible fate and enhances the tragedy which happened to a couple bound by a strong love. In addition, this analysis reveals that the theme of this drama is “tsuzumi wo utsu” (slaying the tsuzumi master who beat the tsuzumi).
Secondly, CHIKAMATSU sets the actions “Otane ga utsu” (Otane taps Yukaemon's back, Otane beats her sister) in the important scenes of this drama and gives the audience an impression of the ignorance of these acts. Furthermore, CHIKAMATSU projects the “horses” onto Otane. Then he stimulates the image of those horses which was subconsciously given to audiences from pictures of hell, —and leads the audience to realize the retribution for the crimes of adultery and feticide that Otane committed.
Using such metaphorical techniques undoubtedly enabled CHIKAMATSU to stage this play dramatizing a scandal that actually happened in samurai society, soon after the scandal occurred.
Since 1948, female Nô performers have been admitted to the Nô Association, and women can now perform at Nô theatres. In few of these performances, however, do women play all the roles. This report considers the remarkable case of the “Awaji Women's Nô,” when a group of some sixty Ôsaka amateur women Nô students traveled to Awaji Island to perform together on a private stage on May 7, 1922.
Awaji Women's Nô was a landmark in breaking down a long taboo against females on the Nô stage. Three factors made this unique event possible. First was the sponsorship of MASAOKA Kasaburô (1867-1950), a Nô aficionado from a wealthy Ôsaka family who built a private Nô stage at his estate on Awaji. Second was the active support of professional male Nô instructors of female pupils in the Ôsaka area. Third was the contribution of NAKAYAMA Mitsue, wife of the editor of an Ôsaka Nô journal (Kansai Nôgaku) who was herself a member of the Awaji group and helped promote the event, emphasizing the ways in which the study of Nô could help women promote family values.
Awaji Women's Nô was widely reported in the press, and although the precedent was not to be repeated, it helped pave the way for the later reforms that would enable women to perform on the Nô stage.
Based on the true story of kabuki actor ONOE Kikunosuke II, MURAMATSU Shôfû's novel The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum (1937) became more publically known after being made into a film by director MIZOGUCHI Kenji, as well as a play in the New School style. During the few years around 1935, stories about performers and others involved in classical theater and their devotion to “the way of art (geidô),” were reproduced in many dramas and films. In this article, I examine The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum as a representative of these “works of art (geidômono).”
In its acceptance in plays and films, “art” was transformed into a world with values more important than any other thing. The stories came to be controlled by a value system that made devotion and sacrifice of oneself to “the way of art” as an act of nobility. The concept of “the way of art” had existed in Japan for a long time, but had not always required such a strong spirit of self-sacrificial dedication. This view towards “the way of art” was characteristic of the period, and in it one can find a certain type of complicity with emperorcentric nationalism.
Shakespeare the Year Tenpô 12 by INOUE Hisashi (1934-2010) was first staged in 1974. The play attracted attention because of the novel idea of using all of Shakespeare's works in the script, but the evaluation of the premiere was low and the author himself declared the play a failure. However, in 2005, the drama was revised by INOUE himself and directed by NINAGAWA Yukio, and this performance gave Shakespeare the Year Tenpô 12 the opportunity of reappraisal.
Usually, criticism on Shakespeare the Year Tenpô 12 is focused on the points of Shakespearean parody. However, though scholars point out the necessity for different interpretations of the play, no concrete thesis of evaluation has been published to date.
In this paper, I aim at showing the possibility of a new reading and comprehension from the viewpoint of the sexuality in this drama. The transformation of the sex scenes in Shakespeare the Year Tenpô 12 corresponds with the life of the protagonist Sado no Miyoji and the state of affairs at the location where the plot enfolds, the postal station of Kiyotaki on the road towards Narita. Thus it can be considered that the sexuality forms the base of the theatrical world in this drama.
First, I pay attention to the love scenes as sexual representation and consider their part in the plot. Further, I will analyze the murder scenes and finally conclude by clarifying the process where the sexuality moves from the realm of the living to the land of the dead by explaining the relationship between the love scenes and the murder scenes.
This essay explores the matter of the body in Caryl Churchill's Fen by focusing on the use of character doubling. Six actors played twenty-two characters in the first production of Fen. Owing to consecutive short scenes and the frequent change of characters for each actor, the impression created by each character is not very strong. These vague images of characters exhibit the state of their oppressed bodies, exploited and possessed by others in severe labor conditions in capitalistic society. In the last scene, Val, who is the main character killed by her lover, reappears on stage and narrates episodes of the dead. Her narration seems as if she actually sees and penetrates other's pasts and their dreams, which are usually repressed and invisible. Val shows a different state of the body, which unites closely with others and is in opposition to the oppressed body depicted in the scenes before Val's death. At the same time, the theatrical system, in which the character inevitably dominates the actors' body, is reconsidered in the scene as the relationship between the signifier and the signified is disrupted. Thus, the character doubling functions as a theatrical device to represent the state of the oppressed body and simultaneously the different state of the body by figuring the new relationship between the characters and actors.