Stage and PerformanceFlow of Plays


Like Noh, there is no bell or anything that serves as a cue for the audience in a Kyogen performance. Still, because Kyogen dramas have few characters and simple compositions, very few first-time viewers will likely find themselves at a loss watching Kyogen. Let’s take a look at how performances generally unfold in a Kyogen play whose main character is primarily Taro Kaja, a servant.

Flow of a play whose main character is Taro Kaja

Example: “Bo Shibari (Tied to a Stick)”

0Empty stage

There is no one and no objects placed on the stage.

1Performers appear

The agemaku (curtain) opens. Performers, including the main actor known as “shite” and the opposite role to the main actor “ado,” appear and proceed to the stage on the hashigakari (bridgeway).

2The characters identify themselves

The characters face the audience and introduce themselves, and then begin talking to each other.

3Koken (stage assistant) appears

Koken” who brings out props and assists with the performance appears from the rear right of the stage. (He may appear before the shite or ado to set up props on the stage.)

4The play carries on, and the performers exit the stage

The play proceeds through exchanges of spoken words, various gestures, etc. Performers then travel across the bridgeway and exit behind the curtain.

5Koken exits the stage

Koken exits the stage carrying the props.

6Empty stage

The stage becomes an empty space again.

July 28, 2006 at 4 p.m.
National Noh Theatre
“Bo Shibari (Tied to a Stick),” Izumi School

Characters and Performers

Taro Kaja (shite): Nomura Mansai II
Master (ado): Nomura Mansaku
Jiro Kaja (koado): Ishida Yukio