Noh TriviaQuestion and Answer

Question54 Who is in charge of dressing the leading actors?


Noh leading actors, or shite, never dress themselves. They are dressed by kōken, who supervises the entire performance while sitting upstage, before and during the performance in their dressing rooms. Besides dressing, kōken is also in charge of some detailed preparations such as checking props.

The job of kōken is performed by the leading actors who are not in the cast. They are also responsible for jiutai (reciters). In other words, the jobs of shite, shite-tsure (actors supporting the leading part), kōken, and jiutai are all performed by leading actors in concert. Leading actors are always trained to carry out various parts including dance and chanting all right, and to deal with every aspect of the stage.

A piece of Noh is never completed by a leading actor alone. It is a composite art that is not completed until all of the performers are all in concert, not only the first leading actors, but also the others in charge of tsure, kōken and jiutai, as well as supporting actors, musicians and kyōgen actors. The performance is brought up by the strict but warm eyes from all around.

(Mar 16, 2009)

illustration : Hiroko Sakaki

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