Classic works from Noh, Kyogen, and Kabuki theaters
Nothing reflects the beauty of life as much as Japanese theater. It is here that reality is held suspended and the mind is filled with words, music, dance, and mysticism. In this groundbreaking book, Professor A.L. Sadler's translations come alive, bringing the mysteries of Noh, Kyogen, and Kabuki to modern readers worldwide. This influential classic provides a cross-section of Japanese theater that gives the reader a sampler of its beauty and power.
Sadler includes 40 plays spanning the following three genres:
Noh—As the oldest form of Japanese drama, Noh is remarkable for its unique staging. It has a powerful ability to create a world that represents the iconic attributes that the Japanese hold in the highest esteem: family, patriotism, and honor.
Kyogen—Kyogen plays provide comic relief and typically center around the inversion of social hierarchies. Oftentimes, they are performed between the serious and stoic Noh plays. Similarly, Sadler's translated Kyogen pieces are layered between the Noh and the Kabuki plays in this book.
Kabuki — The Kabuki plays were the theater of the common people of Japan and are characterized by visual spectacle. The course of time has given them the patina of folk art, making them precious cultural relics of Japan. Sadler selected these pieces for translation because of their lighter subject matter and relatively upbeat endings. These plays are more linear in their telling and pedestrian in the lessons learned, and show the difficulties of being in love when a society is bent on conformity and paternal rule.
The end result found in Japanese Plays is a wonderful selection of classic Japanese dramatic literature sure to enlighten and delight.
About the Author: A.L. Sadler (1882-1970) was Professor of Oriental Studies at the University of Sydney for 26 years, as well as Professor of Japanese at the Royal Military College of Australia. Among his other works are Shogun: The life of Tokugawa Ieyasu, Japanese Tea Ceremony: Cha-no-ya, and Japanese Architecture: A Short History.
Paul S. Atkins is Associate Professor of Japanese at the University of Washington, Seattle. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, he was educated at Stanford University, where he completed a Ph.D. in Japanese. His field of expertise is premodern Japanese literature, drama, and culture. Professor Atkins is the author of Revealed Identity: The Noh Plays of Komparu Zenchiku and numerous articles on medieval Japanese theatre, fiction, poetry, poetics, and literary history.