Category Archives: This Lingering Life

Varieties of Influence, or What Is This Thing Called Noh

On an airplane this past weekend, I found myself reading several of the “modern Noh plays” of Yukio Mishima.  Each of these short works is based on a particular classic Noh play, transposed into a modern setting and augmented to … Continue reading

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Translating Noh into Now:  Mikiko Uesugi’s Set for This Lingering Life

Scenic designer Mikiko Uesugi was familiar with most of the stories in This Lingering Life long before she started working on the project.  In Japan, her maternal grandmother had studied Noh with Umewaka Rokurou-sensei and began taking her to performances … Continue reading

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Nine Noh Play Synopses in One English-Language Blog Post

This Lingering Life is not a difficult play to follow on its own terms, but some audience members will be intrigued to know that this modern play, in which restless spirits and human beings occupy the same space, transforms and … Continue reading

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Gender Crossings: Women in Noh

The Noh repertoire includes two groups of plays centered on women: Woman plays constitute the third category of Noh plays and are often cited as the finest examples of the aesthetic of yugen.  In almost all cases, these plays portray … Continue reading

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Four Ways of Looking at an Angel

Stories from Noh in Colloquial English The language in which classic Noh plays are performed is an archaic form of Japanese.  In addition, the poetry of Noh is paratactical and allusive, and lines are chanted or delivered in stylized speech, … Continue reading

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Where’s Atsumori

“It was only last night that we sang and danced to bid farewell to this life.” (From This Lingering Life) It is common practice for a Noh play to extract one character or focus on one scene from Japanese history … Continue reading

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From Life to Life

In many a Noh play, a traveler—often but not always a priest—encounters a mysterious person who, in the course of the play, is revealed to be the manifestation of a restless spirit.  This spirit, commonly that of a prominent literary … Continue reading

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