Dojoji is one of the most massive piece of work among every Noh program.
For Noh actors, performing in Dojoji is a great honor.
Fortunately, I got a chance to appreciate it at a Noh Theatre in Tokyo.
In addition, I got a front-row seat.
Though I have seen Dojoji on video and TV, it was the first time for me to see it in a Noh theatre.
There is so much to see in Dojoji.
The ”Ranbyoshi” section is one of them, and it is my favorite section.
I’ll write my impression of it this time.
Dojoji is the name of the temple.
In the story, at the celebration to mark the installation of the new temple bell of Dojoji, a female entertainer performs a dance.
She gradually gets closer to the temple bell while dancing.
That dancing section is called, the Ranbyoshi.
That female entertainer has a beautiful appearance, but she is actually a horrible demon.
She holds a grudge against the temple bell of Dojoji. Her purpose is to invoke a curse on the temple bell.
She watches for that chance quietly without anyone noticing.
The Noh actor who plays the female role hardly moves in the Ranbyoshi section.
The performer is the only one who is on the stage in that section.
The Noh actor does nothing more than that, and then he raises his toes and lowers his feet in coordination with the cries and strikes of the small drum player.
Other than that, the quiescent state continues for a while, and the stage is covered in silence.
The Ranbyoshi section takes about 20 minutes.
The Ranbyoshi section may be extremely boring for those who are not interested in Noh.
But, that tense atmosphere in the Ranayoshi section is very exciting for me.
When I saw Dojoji on the stage live, I could feel the Noh actor’s liveliness and spirit.
Though the Noh actor looked very quiet, his strong emotion could not be hidden even with the Noh mask.
In the story, the female entertainer had a deep animosity against the temple bell of Dojoji.
The unusual stillness of the Ranbyoshi section highlighted an aspect of her deep animosity or her dark side.
I thought that it was a high psychological expression.
So ancient Japanese people must have realized that the language is not a panacea.
At first glance, the Noh actor always looks emotionless, but actually, they are emotionally expressive.
That shows the true worth of a Noh play.