Noh TriviaQuestion and Answer

Question74 Do actors always change their costumes at the same moment?


If actors are to wear different costumes in the second half, they normally change clothes during the interval when they are off the stage behind the entrance curtain. Sometimes, however, changes of costume happen on stage. This is considered a kind of stage performance and called monogi (wearing clothes). There are several variations: actors may put on small items such as caps or head bands, or they may wear larger clothes such as jackets. Monogi is normally done upstage in front of the kōken, but sometimes it is performed on stage in particular plays, such as "Matsukaze".

While the kōken is in charge of dressing, actors may be assisted by their deputies and assistants when performing monogi onstage. Because monogi is performed in front of the audience with time and space limited, it should be done smoothly and with consideration for the atmosphere. Monogi is sometimes done without assistants. "Dōjōji" is one example, but it is very difficult because the leading actor changes his costume in the dark inside a large bell after a strenuous dance. Monogi is a skilled act that is woven into the progress of the story rather than interfering in it.

(Jan. 8, 2010)

illustration : Hiroko Sakaki

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