Entry by Klea Hazizaj: Interior of a Kabuki theatre while a performance is in progress

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This is a depiction of the performance of the play Shibaraku which is translated loosely to “Wait A Moment”. The title of this is Interior of a Kabuki theatre while a performance is in progress, and the artist is Utagawa Toyoknui. This work was made in 1858 on a woodcut. Kabuki theatre began in the early 1600s by a troupe of women, it quickly grew but caught the government’s eye. The government frowned upon kabuki theatre saying that it undermined public morals. In addition, they banned women from performing in 1629 saying that women should not be on the stage and frowned upon them in kabuki calling them prostitues. Kabuki theatre is known for its use of glamorous costumes as well as stylized performances. Also, Kabuki theatre used makeup instead of masks like in Noh theatre In this type of theatre there are many gadgets such as trapdoors, revolving stages as well as a footbridge. The play depicted here “Wait A moment”, is about a hero Kamakura no Gongoro Kagemasa who saves people from Kiyohkara Takehjra a power -hungry villain who has just taken over the eastern province. In the science shown here Takehira has just given out the orders to kill anyone who does not agree with him, and Kamakura no Gongoro Kagemasa has appeared to save everyone yelling Shibarku. Here we see the hallmarks of Kabuki theater from the elaborate costumes and props, We see the hero standing stoically swearing very bright colors with green, blue and red in one outfit as well as the actor standing on a raised platform. Also, below the stage we see the crowd intently watching sitting in little rows divided into boxes for individual seating. In the crowd we some people dressed very ornately most likely nobility while other were not, showing how Kabuki attracted people of all social classes. This play is one of the most well known and famous Kabuki theatre plays. Also this play has only been performed over the years by the same family the Danjūrō family and can still only be performed by members of this family.

Author: Klea Hazizaj

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    Utagawa, Toyoknui
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    Creative Commons CC-BY