Kabuki Theater Analysis

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“Kabuki is well known for its exaggerated acting, flamboyant costumes and makeup, and unnatural storylines. The onnagata, usually male actors who perform the roles of women, have been an important aspect of kabuki since its beginnings in the 17th century. In a "labyrinth" of gendering, the practice of men playing women 's roles has affected the manifestations of femininity in Japanese society.” (Wu, Guanda, Onnagata: “A Labyrinth of Gendering in Kabuki Theater,” Academic OneFile) Kabuki theater is an amazing art that takes ordinary ways to do things and makes them extravagant. Kabuki plays are very structured and mainly focus on topics such as: ethical conflicts, romances, and historical events. Another interesting fact is that in most Kabuki…show more content…
The biggest impact on the audience is probably the makeup and face paint. The makeup is thick and is there to help the characters express what they represented and help the actors play the full role of the character and what that character represents. A few features that are traditional are: red stripes around the characters cheeks and also around their eyes to represent that they are youthful and powerful and along with that they also out indigo blue to represent a flaw or negative attribute to the character or the actor. The main reason such makeup is used is because in most plays or theater performances, actions and words are used to get the audience 's attention and to keep the audience involved and entertained, well in Kabuki, makeup is what does that. Makeup shows the emotions and the actions are a byproduct of the physical attraction. It makes it much easier to not be confused in a performance if the answers are literally on the actors face. The actors become the characters muse. The story is being presented through the…show more content…
But, the most major aspect to the Kabuki theater performances, is the actors. There are many techniques and traditions that are put into a performance. “Acting in the kabuki theatre was largely a family tradition and subsequent generations were virtually raised in the theatre. Fathers trained their sons, and if they had no biological sons, they would often adopt a son into the family. Some families have an acting tradition that covers many centuries.”(“Kabuki Acting: Traditions & Techniques - Narukami - The Thunder God.”) Onnagata is the word defining a male actor who is portraying a female part in the traditional Kabuki. Considering all roles are played by men, it takes long periods of time of perfect this type of acting and to maintain the skill needed to perform on stage. For this to take place, they needed to maintain their roles outside the theater as well. Maintaining good beauty, upkeep on skin, emphasizing female gestures and styles, and just total enrapturing their role on the stage. So there is no hiding of one 's work when involved with Kabuki theater. Everything involving Kabuki theater is “larger than life” and that is how the actors need to perform on and off the stage. It becomes a lifestyle. One example of this is when an actor does the pose “mie”. This pose is a fierce pose that is adapted to show emotional intensity coming from the character. “Announced by the beating of wooden clappers, the actor freezes in a statuesque pose and crosses one or both eyes.

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