Noh 能 (Japanese classic drama)


‘Noh’ is a Japanese word and its literal meaning is "skill" or "talent". It is a unique Japanese form of theater very different from the western theater in style, story and presentation. There are no directors, producers or designers, as the play is performed according to already set outlines. It is a blend of dance, drama, music and poetry into one highly artistic stage art. The hero is often a supernatural being who takes on human form to narrate a story. He covers his face with specially designed masks for the roles of gods, ghosts, evil spirits and women etc. ‘Noh’ actors do not show any dramatic actions as in other theaters. They do not speak, rather tell the story through their artistic movements, singing, musical accompaniment and dance. Unlike Western theater, ‘Noh’ performers are simply storytellers who use their visual appearances by wearing masks and costumes and their movements to suggest the tale rather than to enact it. The language of ‘Noh’ plays is beautiful and poetic, and the singing style is very distinctive.

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