Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"Yeats Noh Plays"

This is a record that Frank's APA pal David A. Simpson sent me… it looks old so I think he may have found it in a charity shop, It seems to have a short play by Yeats on each side – At the Hawk's Well and The Dreaming of the Bones. For a long time I have enjoyed it primarily as an artefact, but Rory Carr (another Frank's APA colleague) insisted that I listen to and review it.

Noh is this Japanese theatre style thing. While I have heard recordings of Japanese Noh plays, I am still not entirely clear on what the difference is between it and Kabuki, or indeed what its defining features are. I do now that W.B. Yeats was very interested in the form, and wrote a number of plays which are meant to be performed in the Noh style.

I listened to this record while writing about other things for Frank's APA, so the words being said by the actors largely washed over me. From the sound, it seemed like there was less music here than on the Japanese Noh recordings I have heard, but what music there was did sound kind of Japanese (in a flutey kind of way). The acting was funny, though – the actors sounded very actor-y, giving the kind of over-enunciated performances that I associate with slightly hammy stage actors. That might, however, be true to the way Noh is meant to work. Can anyone advise?

1 comment:

Ammonite said...

Yes, Noh is very stylised (both physically and orally) and I can well see it translating to what you described.