Noh TriviaQuestion and Answer

Question12 Where can I find the best position in the auditorium?

Auditoriums in Noh theatres are divided into three sections: "shōmen" (the front), "waki-shōmen" (the side front), and "naka-shōmen" (the middle front). Shōmen is the section in front of the stage, waki-shōmen is at the left side of the stage, and naka-shōmen is located between the other two. The three sections are often associated with different ticket price bands - the highest is for the front seats, the lowest for the middle-front seats - but we cannot necessarily say the front seats are the best for watching Noh plays.

Although a Noh stage is basically designed so the audience can watch from the any direction, when you have a seat close to the edge of the front section, the view is sometimes restricted by a pillar.

If you have a seat near to the stage, you can get close-up views of the costumes and the masks; but if you are a bit away from the stage, you can have a general view of the performance. Meanwhile, in the side-front section, you can watch the performers on the bridgeway or get side views of them.

Different perspectives reveal alternative aspects of the same piece. Please do not consider only the front section; enjoy watching Noh plays from a variety of viewpoints.

(Apr 10, 2008)


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