Matsukaze Pining Wind is kind of amazing Plus it bears the bizarre linguistic distinction of a pun that actually straddles the translative fence pine carries the same double meaning in the Japanese that it does in English Whoa is what I say to that No or Noh theatre is one of the three traditional forms of Japanese theatre No is easily recognized by the use of stunning masks The footnotes are excellent as is the general introduction This is not only an excellent translation but also a good selection which above all contains very detailed and interesting introductions and notes with cultural background information to the 24 plays included The plays have been arranged in alphabetical order It still seems to be available as a back list item so if ou want to read only one book with translations of No plays it should be this one The only negative point is that as usual with Penguin books low grade paper has been used so that my copy published in 1992 now is deep brown in color Five stars for the playsFive stars for the information that is included lengthy introduction before each play stage directions during and copious amounts Pretty good read Much better than seeing Noh drama live Noh performances go on for ever dancing and singing that is unfathomable but for those closest to the genre The plays in this collection 24 in all can be read in about 15 minutes And if Oops I should ve updated this as finished ages ago A nice little collection of noh plays easy to dip into the introduction is really useful DANCER She whose strangeness so perplexed me I was unable to think her realSurely now will keep her word ATTENDANT AND SERVANTSFor wind through the pines joins flutes blowing limpid notesAll along the streamWhere hands detain the drifting cupsMoonlit music pure across deep
rangesMoonlit music pure across deep rangesto issei music enter the Mountain Cronewho music pure across deep rangesto issei music enter the Mountain Cronewho be wearing a frightening mask and huge bushy ghost hair probably white as well as a sumptuous costumeCRONEAwesome they are the plunging chasmsAwesome they are the plunging chasmschasms where the Buddhist demons are in relation to Enlightened ones on the mountain topIn charnel grounds demon phantomsScourge their own bones weeping weepingRaging at their past lives deeds In graveyards thankful angel beingsOffer flowers suffused with gladnessAt the bliss of truth attainedNo good and evil are not twoWhy then feel anger
why rejoiceAll is if this world before our eyesuick rivers stretch awayMighty scarps soar sheerFrom the third rejoiceAll is if this world before our eyesuick rivers stretch awayMighty scarps soar sheerFrom the third of the Noh play YamambaThis passage exemplifies several of the tools and themes or perhaps atmospheres that repeat through these plays One is paired opposite without duality Another is Buddhist frustration with being unable to let go of the emotions and senses that tie one to appearances The audience should experience a feeling of gen which Royall Tyler says could be translated as graceful elegance or subtle mystery And running throughout be translated as graceful elegance or subtle mystery And running throughout be uotations or references to classic Japanese and Chinese poetry and other literatureHow could anyone sit through a performance form frozen in time for the last several hundred ears where it could take two hours to get through ten pages of text A mass comes to mind and indeed Noh arose from ritual performances at shrines Before reading this book I would have passed any invitation to listen to what sounded like a screeching flute and watch glacial action But after going through these play texts and reading a book on Noh history and current performance practices and watching some Youtube clips I m fascinated I love opera too and the combination of so many art forms in one is common to Noh and opera The two books I read both said that Noh is not really able to be studied from the texts that Noh only exists in performance with the dance music singing costumes and stage united Since most opera librettos are pretty pathetic as literature the similarity is still Japanese no theatre or the drama of perfected art' flourished in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries largely through the genius of the dramatist Zeami An intricate fusion of music dance mask costume and language the dramas address many subjects but. .
Here Perhaps Noh is best described as a cross between opera and Greek theater I am going to sketch a bit about what I learned although it should be taken with a grain of salt as one would have to study for Doctor Who years to attain even rudiments of understanding and I will necessarily have to simplify even what I learned A Noh play typically consists of three parts which start very slowly and gradually speed up Very often there is a ghost who wandering a landscape specific to a folk tale or historical event because its attachment to sensual life or honor or some other unfinished business prevents it from attaining Buddhist enlightenment In parts one and three there is one main character a shite who is masked and has studied forears to become part of this most elite acting category There is an unmasked waki who interacts with the shite and they may each have subsidiary characters who attend them The shite characters are different in the two parts although these two shites may be different manifestations of the same person or god There is also an ai character generally a villager who in an interlude between the two main acts serves to explicate some background andor provide comic relief One of the most unusual aspects of Noh to me was the
sharing of the text among the characters A speech by anyone may be shared by theof the text among the characters A speech by anyone may be shared by the the waki their secondary characters or the chorus shifting from one to the next line by line or after the waki their secondary characters or the chorus shifting from one to the next line by line or after linesSeveral of the plays are taken from the monagatari books of tales that were published in the Japanese medieval period in particular the Heike Monagatari about the wars between the Heike and Genji clans Two in this book deal with battles between the Taira clan being driven from power by the incoming Minamoto forces 1183 1185 Many plays are by Zeami the son of the first major Noh author and actor Zeami is the acknowledged greatest Noh playwright and he wrote a lot of prose works on Noh and Noh practice I definitely enjoyed his plays the most including the Yamamba excerpted here the Matzukaze or Pining Wind with its beautiful nature poetry and YashimaThere are about 240 Noh plays although many are not part of the current repertory just as perhaps 75 100 of hundreds of western operas are actually performed on a regular basis They fall into five groups such as plays about warriors or plays about women The introduction to this Penguin Classics translation of 24 plays gives a good overview of the development of Noh as well as the poetic and prose components the standard form character types costume staging conventions etc But it uickly becomes obvious that ou need a lot help than the introduction and the notes can provide I had picked up Noh The Classical Theater by Yasuo Nakamura introduction by Earle Ernst at a library sale and checked there first I am reviewing it separately It would be good for someone who already knows a fair amount about Noh because it assumes ou already know the basics So I am still looking for an introductory book to the art I also checked Youtube for performance videos and watched one of the play Adachi ga Hara also known as Kurozuka It provides an example of the mask and costume of a ghost or demon shite in part two a comic ai interlude the spare scenery and props a woman shite character and mask inpart one and the changing pace of the performance The end also shows the Buddhist monks chasing away the demon by rasping their prayer beads together during their very the demon by rasping their prayer beads together during their very dancing There are lots of Youtube other videos to choose fromhttpsmyoutubecomwatchvI5j87foYou also need a map of medieval Japan Each play is set in a specific real location and usually makes reference to a journey through real places I have several historical atlases and find that most of them don t worry too much about any part of the world until Europeans arrived However Barnes and Noble s Atlas of World History edited by John Haywood has a good two page spread on this. The idea of form is central than meaning and their structure is always ritualized Selected for their literary merit the twenty four plays in this volume dramatize such ideas as the relationship between men and the gods brother and sister parent and chi.