Noh and Kyogen are both performed upon a very
special type of stage known simply as a "Noh stage."
Looking like a shrine or temple building, it
has three sides open around a main stage (hon
butai) that is about 5.5 m on each side. There
are four pillars supporting the roof over the
main stage area, each of which has a special name.
Among them, the "sighting pillar" (metsuke-bashira)
performs an especially important role in helping
the actor to position himself upon the stage.
The wall at the back of the stage is called the
"mirror board" (kagami ita), and on it is painted
an ancient pine tree. There is upstage (ato-za)
area, where the musicians and stage assistant(s)
sit, and the eaves from the roof overhangs the
main stage on three sides. The "chorus seat" (jiutai-za)
is where the members of the chorus sit in two
rows facing the main stage. The "bridgeway" (hashi-gakari)
serves as the place of entrance and exit for the
characters, and also plays an important role as
part of the performing space, and at the far end
of it, the multicolored curtain (agemaku) is raised
and lowered. The green room, or, literally, the
"mirror room" (kagami no ma) is an important space,
because it is there that the performers, when
fully dressed, gaze into a mirror to concentrate
on their role\there they don their mask and wait
to enter the stage. In front of the "bridgeway,"
three small pines trees are planted, evenly spaced.
In order for the stage floor to be as appropriate
as possible for the "sliding foot" walk of the
Noh actors or for the dramatic dancing, it is
constructed with thick boards of hinoki cypress
that are polished to a smooth, glassy finish.
There is no stage equipment whatsoever, and there
is no curtain separating the stage from the audience.