Kanta Nakamori x Mansai Nomura "It's fun to know! The world of Noh and Kyogen" ~Part 1~
Mr. Kanta Nakamori puts up a special monitor on the Noh stage and performs Noh with Japanese and English subtitles. Mansai Nomura is active in cross-genre expressions, such as performing Shakespeare in the style of Kyogen and dancing contemporary music. The other day, after co-starring at the Yokohama Noh Theater's "Meeting to Know Noh," we asked them to talk about the appeal of traditional Japanese performing arts, Noh and Kyogen, and their future activities.
In the first part, we will ask about his thoughts on new attempts to appeal to modern audiences while preserving the traditions of Noh and Kyogen.
The Nakamori Kamakura Noh Stage uses subtitles because we want first-time viewers and visitors from overseas to enjoy Noh even more.
Today, very few people know the stories and conventions of Noh, so they need some help to enjoy the stage. However, if everything, such as the meaning of the movements and the dialogue, are subtitled, the audience will be so busy reading the subtitles that they won't have time to watch the stage. We want the audience to be able to use their imagination while enjoying the world that unfolds on stage, so the subtitles are only supplementary. Although it is still in the experimental stage, we would like to exchange opinions with the team that is researching earphone guides and provide even better products.
The lines of Nomura Kyogen are written in a colloquial style, so even if they are ancient words, they are easy to understand. However, there are some words that cannot be understood just by listening to them, so we added a dictionary function to the pamphlets for our sponsored performances. For example, "Bumo". It's literally "parents", so if you check it in advance, you can understand it without reading the subtitles. I would like to be able to choose the method that is easy for the viewer to enjoy.
NakamoriIn modern Japan, I think that many people are imprinted with the impression that Noh is “difficult” and “uninteresting.” We also visit schools, but most of the teachers and students' parents have never seen a Noh performance before. In such a situation, the first thing is to get people interested in Noh. I will continue to actively visit schools in the future, and I think it is necessary to provide support for viewing, such as subtitles.
However, if you change the stage to make it easier to understand, it will no longer be Noh. I'm looking for a way to make it accessible to everyone while keeping the traditional form.
If you change the recipe of Nomura cuisine, it will become completely different, and the same is true of Noh and Kyogen. While cherishing the traditional Noh theater, he sometimes goes to facilities such as schools and open-air spaces such as Takigi Noh. Even in such cases, it is important that you follow the recipe and enjoy the food.
However, there is a dilemma that even though the words used in the world of classics are Japanese, they are as difficult to understand as foreign languages. In this respect, the world of Noh and Kyogen is experimenting with trial and error, such as adding subtitles and changing the presentation method.
NomuraI am also trying to collaborate with different genres, but that is only possible if I can find a point of contact with the world of Kyogen.
For example, I once danced to the music of John Cage, a contemporary musician, and his music is based on natural phenomena such as the sound of the wind and the color of the sky, which is exactly the world of Noh and Kyogen. Also, when performing Shakespeare in the style of Kyogen, the "medieval" is the common denominator. Existences beyond human comprehension, awe-inspiring great power, fear of gods, etc. are also themes of Kyogen, so they can be performed without difficulty.
Then, if asked, "Are you going to dance with a disco sound?" I'm not saying that it can't be done, but I think it's okay if we don't dance to the rhythm of the digital world. I don't think there's anything I can't do, but that would lose the goodness of Kyogen. I think the point is whether or not there is something that is connected to Kyogen at its root.
I have performed with the Nakamori Orchestra, but I felt that it would be a compromise between us dancing to the orchestra and the orchestra playing Noh background music. It would be nice if you could put a lot of time and budget into writing an original song, but easy collaboration is difficult.
I also choreographed Nomura Ballet's "Bolero", which was possible because of the commonality with the Kyogen dance called "Sanbaso". The important thing is to find commonalities between the two and connect them together. If the connection is not convincing to the customer, it will be called "weird".
Nomura Kyogen often begins with the line, "I'm from around here." They don't even give their names, and whether they're emperors or anyone else, they're all "people around here" regardless of rank. I think it's the complete opposite of Noh.
Nakamori That's right. Since Noh was developed as a religious drama, the basic idea is to respect the gods, the Buddha, and the emperor.
Nomura Kyogen portrays a reversal phenomenon. The master who should be great fails, and the servant Taro Kaja is smarter. Even in marital relationships, men are slovenly and women are more dependable.
In the world of kyogen, criticism is gained by recognizing that "if you look at the world from a bird's-eye view, even those who pretend to be arrogant are 'people around here'." When you look at human life critically, you can laugh it off, saying, "What humans are doing is trivial," and you can feel the catharsis there. In a world that isn't good, you may be a person who isn't good, but you can think, "Well, that's how it is." I believe that this is where Kyogen plays the detoxifying effect.
*Kyogen “Invisible Tanuki” Photographed by Shinji Masakawa
NakamoriI don't think there's a single way to perform even one song. Depending on the way of thinking, there are various productions, and there are various ways of expression, so it is fun to choose it yourself. For example, just by choosing a Noh mask, you can become a young woman or an old woman, so you can freely direct while imagining yourself. It may be close to the feeling of shooting a movie. Cooking songs so that customers can enjoy them freely is one of my joys.
Also, it is our job to nurture customers who can say "interesting". You don't feel like you've learned a lesson just by watching it once, so you can enjoy going to the Noh theater over and over again and seeing how different people perform, thinking 'that person was like this' and 'this person is like this'. direction. I think it is important to nurture customers who can enjoy the same ingredients in various flavors.