Sunday, May 21, 2006

Two Ks

K is for kabuki. Many compare kabuki to opera and ballet – its stylized vocalizations and movements are torturous boredom to some, the peak of live theater to others.K is for kabuki I've never seen a full performance, which lasts all day, but two summers ago I was fortunate to be given tickets to a short program of six scenes from Natsu Matsuri Naniwa Kagami [The Summer Festival: A Mirror of Osaka] in Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center (program pictured). With the tickets came a cryptic advisory: "Please be aware you are seated in the mud section. Raincoats provided." (???) This was extremely puzzling as Damrosch Park is a tiled plaza with no lawn... and surely we'd be sitting in chairs... and why raincoats? We were obsessing about the performance before we ever got there.

When we arrived, sure enough, the usher murmured "Mud section" and handed us programs and pouches containing disposable rain ponchos. It turned out the mud section was the prime location, in front of the stage with seating on tatami mats and cushions. Some people already had their ponchos on, but DH and I opted for hurried scanning of the program (fortunately in English) to try to identify the mud scene. In due course we put on our ponchos and put up the hoods (much to the amusement of the people sitting in the section behind us), but a man sitting next to us scoffed at the whole nonsense and declined his poncho. Well, then the mud began to fly, off the stage and into the mud section, to no little reaction from the audience! The scoffer got soaked. Everyone loved it, perhaps the scoffer most of all, who was a good sport about it. Amazing to relate, the hilarious mayhem offstage was directly related to the action onstage, and the emotional energy later served to heighten one of the most intense scenes I've ever seen on stage.

I wonder if groundlings ever had so much fun.

And K is for kid mohair and kenaf, another cordage fiber getting attention for a bunch of uses.

See the rest of my ABCs.


bethanie said...

I adore Kabuki!

--Deb said...

It sounds like you had a great time . . . messy, but fun!!