Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Kyogen: Traditional Comic Theater

Three hundred years before Jonathan Swift, satire thrived in the form of kyogen, the Japanese comedic theater. Kyogen, literally “mad words,” originated during the samurai era and features humorous stories of daily life laced with biting social satire directed against the samurai class that was the main audience for the plays. Led by Yamamoto Noritoshi—designated as an Intangible Cultural Asset by the Japanese government—Yamamoto Kyogen will offer Japan Society two kyogen comedies:

Shido Hogaku (Stop in Your Tracks): The classic kyogen tale of a master-servant relationship turned on its head. A servant is sent by his callous master on a shameful errand, and, in his spite, the servant vows to get his revenge. Hijinks ensue as the two engage in a riotous reversal of station, with the servant getting the last laugh.

Tsukimi Zato (Moon-viewing Blind Man): A farce in which a blind man meets a passerby on the road while enjoying a full moon and quickly becomes the object of a cruel trick perpetrated by the stranger.

You can watch a performance of Shido Hogaku here. Like in the video, Yamamoto Kyogen will be in Japanese at Japan Society, but English subtitles will be provided!

Friday, March 26, 7:30 PM   |   Saturday, March 27, 7:30 PM    |   Sunday, March 28, 2 PM

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