Last week, I was very busy. I always am towards the end of a month, but there were a few extra things that needed attention last week. For example, out of the blue, I received a ticket for a kyogen performance in Otsu, and I had to go the very next day, despite my already busy schedule.
Why did I HAVE to go? Well, nobody forced me, of course, but for some strange reason I like Noh, and kyogen are short and funny plays that are usually staged between the more serious and much longer Noh performances. And since I had never before seen a kyogen, I simply had to go and give it a try.
And this was a special kyogen to boot, because it was not a traditional Japanese one, but it had been written by W. B. Yeats in 1924, who was inspired by Noh and kyogen to write his own version of it. Kyogen are less stylised than Noh plays, and even though I only understood bits and pieces of the Japanese words, I could get the gist of the overall intentions of the play “The Cat and the Moon”. It is about an interesting symbiosis of a blind and a lame man, which is destroyed the moment the blind man is miraculously healed… Anyway, it was fun to watch, I am glad I took the time to go, and this has strengthened my resolve to learn a bit more about Noh and kyogen.
Fun fact on the side: It was my first time to go to the Biwako Hall, and I had to take trains I had never taken before, so I was a bit insecure. However, there was a nice elderly man in the train with me who happened to also go to the kyogen and so I trailed alongside him to the theatre. After the performance, when the audience was leaving, I saw him again, and he asked me if I wanted to meet the actors (who were lining up in the corridors outside the hall). I was a bit reluctant but he said “Don’t worry, they are my friends!” It turned out that this unassuming man in the train was a Noh actor himself, one who plays waki (supporting) roles. I was so thrilled! I do have his email address, so… who knows where this is going!