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BlackCross
6th May 2007, 15:29
http://www.torrentsmd.com/imagestorage/185187_003.jpg
The Kabukiza in Ginza is one of Tokyo's leading kabuki theaters.

Kabuki (歌舞伎, kabuki) is a form of traditional Japanese theatre. Kabuki theatre is known for the stylization of its drama and for the elaborate make-up worn by its performers.

The individual kanji characters, from left to right, mean sing (歌), dance (舞), and skill (伎). Kabuki is therefore sometimes translated as "the art of singing and dancing." These are, however, ateji, characters that do not reflect actual etymology. The word kabuki is believed to derive from the verb kabuku, meaning "to lean" or "to be out of the ordinary", so kabuki can be interpreted to mean "avant-garde" or "bizarre" theatre. The expression kabukimono (歌舞伎者) referred originally to wild urban gangs of young eccentrics who dressed outrageously and had strange hairstyles.

http://www.torrentsmd.com/imagestorage/185189_076.jpg
Scene of a kabuki performance. The screen on the right hides the musicians.


Elements of kabuki

Stage design
Scene of a kabuki performance.
The screen on the right hides the musicians.The kabuki stage features a projection called a hanamichi (花道; literally, flower path), a walkway which extends into the audience and via which dramatic entrances and exits are made. Kabuki stages and theaters have steadily become more technologically sophisticated, and innovations including revolving stages and trap doors, introduced during the 18th century, added greatly to the staging of kabuki plays. A driving force has been the desire to make manifest one frequent theme of kabuki theater, that of the sudden, dramatic revelation or transformation. A number of stage tricks, including rapid appearances and disappearances of actors, have evolved using these innovations. The term keren (外連), often translated playing to the gallery, is sometimes used as a catch-all term for these tricks.
Mawari-butai (revolving stage) developed in the Kyōhō era (1716-1735). Originally accomplished by the on-stage pushing of a round, wheeled platform this technique evolved into a circle being cut into the stage floor with wheels beneath it facilitating movement. When the stage lights are lowered during this transition it is known as kuraten (“darkened revolve”). More commonly the lights are left on for akaten (“lighted revolve”), sometimes with the transitioning scenes being performed simultaneously for dramatic effect.
Seri refers to the stage traps that have been commonly employed in kabuki since the middle of the eighteenth century. These traps raise and lower actors or sets to the stage. Seridashi or seriage refers to the traps moving upward and serisage or serioroshi when they are being lowered. This technique is often used for dramatic effect of having an entire scene rise up to appear onstage.
Chūnori (riding in mid-air) is a technique, which appeared toward the middle of the nineteenth century, by which an actor’s costume is attached to wires and he is made to “fly” over the stage and/or certain parts of the auditorium. This is similar to wire fu of modern cinema. As these “trick” (keren) devices have fallen out of favor many stages are no longer equipped to handle them.
A woodblock print of an actor in keshō with red kumadori lines, signifying heroic passion. Print by Torii Kiyotada, 1896.In kabuki, as in some other Japanese performing arts, scenery changes are sometimes made mid-scene, while the actors remain on stage and the curtain stays open. This is sometimes accomplished by using a Hiki Dōgu, or small wagon stage. This technique originated at the beginning of the 18th century, where scenery or actors are moved on or off stage by means of a wheeled platform. Also common are stage hands rushing onto the stage adding and removing props, backdrops and other scenery; these stage hands, known as kuroko (黒子), are always dressed entirely in black and are traditionally considered invisible. These stage hands also assist in a variety of quick costume changes known as hayagawari (quick change technique). In plays, when a character's true nature is suddenly revealed, the devices of hikinuki or bukkaeri are often used. Hikinuki or bukkaeri is accomplished by having costumes layered one over another and having a stage assistant pull the outer one off in front of the audience.

Performance
There are three main categories of kabuki play: jidai-mono (時代物, historical, or pre-Sengoku period stories), sewa-mono (世話物, domestic, or post-Sengoku stories), and shosagoto (所作事, dance pieces).
Important characteristics of Kabuki theater include the mie (見得), in which the actor holds a picturesque pose to establish his character.
At this point his house name (yagō, 屋号) is sometimes heard in loud shout (kakegoe,掛け声) from an expert audience member, serving both to express and enhance the audience's appreciation of the actor's achievement. Keshō, kabuki makeup, provides an element of style easily recognizable even by those unfamiliar with the art form. Rice powder is used to create the white oshiroi base, and kumadori enhances or exaggerates facial lines to produce dramatic animal or supernatural masks for the actors. The color of the kumadori is an expression of the character's nature: red lines are used to indicate passion, heroism, righteousness, and other positive traits; blue or black, villainy, jealousy, and other negative traits; green, the supernatural; and purple, nobility.

Play structure
Kabuki, like other traditional forms of drama in Japan as well as in other cultures around the world, was (and sometimes still is) performed in full-day programs. Rather than attending a single play for 2-5 hours, as one might do in a modern Western-style theater, one would "escape" from the day-to-day world, devoting a full day to entertainment in the theater district. Though some plays, particularly the historical jidaimono, might go on for an entire day, most plays were shorter and would be arranged, in full or in part, alongside other plays in order to produce a full-day program.
The structure of the full-day program, like the structure of the plays themselves, was derived largely from the conventions of bunraku and Noh, conventions which also appear in countless other traditional Japanese arts. Chief among these is the concept of jo-ha-kyū (序破急), which states that all things should be done at a certain pace, one which starts out slow, speeds up, and ends quickly. The concept, elaborated on at length by master Noh playwright Zeami, governs not only the actions of the actors, but also the structure of the play as well as the structure of scenes and plays within a day-long program.
Nearly every full-length play would be performed in five acts, the first one corresponding to jo, an auspicious and slow opening which introduces the audience to the characters and the plot. The next three acts would correspond to ha, speeding events up, culminating almost always in a great moment of drama or tragedy in the third act and possibly a battle in the second and/or fourth acts. The final act, corresponding to kyu, is almost always very short, providing a quick and satisfying conclusion.
While many plays were written for kabuki, many others were taken from jōruri plays, Noh plays, folklore, or other performing traditions such as the oral tradition of the Tale of the Heike. While plays taken from jōruri tend to have serious, emotionally dramatic, and organized plots, those plays written specifically for kabuki generally have far looser, sillier plots. One of the crucial differences in the philosophy of the two forms is that jōruri focuses primarily on the story and on the chanter who recites it, while kabuki focuses more on the actors. Thus, it is not unknown in a jōruri play to sacrifice the details of sets, puppets, or onstage action in favor of directing attention to the chanter, while by contrast kabuki is known to sacrifice drama and even the plot itself in favor of showing off an actor's talents. It was not uncommon in kabuki to insert or remove individual scenes from a day's schedule in order to cater to the talents or desires of an individual actor — scenes he was famed for, or better at showing off in, would be inserted into a day's program where it made no sense in terms of plot continuity.
Another crucial stylistic element of kabuki is the difference between traditions in Edo and in Kamigata (the Kyoto-Osaka region). Through most of the Edo period, kabuki in Edo was defined by extravagance and bombast, as exemplified by stark makeup patterns, flashy costumes, fancy keren (stage tricks), and bold mie (poses). Kamigata kabuki, meanwhile, was much calmer in tone and focused on naturalism and realism in acting. Only towards the end of the Edo period in the 19th century did the two regions begin to adopt one another's styles to any significant degree. For a long time, actors from one region often failed to adjust to the styles of the other region and were unsuccessful in their performance tours of that region.


Major theatres in operation
Kyoto
Minami-za

Osaka
Shin-Kabuki-za

Tokyo
Kabuki-za
National Theater

DESOUL
6th May 2007, 16:03
BlackCross sensei :please:

Roth
23rd May 2007, 20:56
Here some nice pictures http://torrentsmd.com/details.php?id=94319