Dojoji Play Analysis

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Midterm Assignment – Dojoji (Noh)
For my assignment I have chosen to analyse the second act of the Noh play Dojoji, author unknown, translated by Donald Keane. The common and recurring themes of Noh, gender and religion, are hugely prevalent in this piece, and my selected section of the play illustrates this well.
Noh, derived from the Sino-Japanese word for “skill” or “talent” is the oldest form of major theatre art still regularly performed today. Popular performance modes of the 10th and 11th centuries, Dengaku-no and Sarugaku-no, led to the development of Noh in the 14th century. Noh was performed almost exclusively for samurai class, and it focuses on the Buddhist concept of zen, contemplation, and the withdrawal from worldly desire and distraction. Noh is a combination of Shinto performance elements (demon-quelling dances, stamping feet, ritual purification, presence of spirits and ghosts) and Buddhist tales. This form of theatre is designed to evoke a particular emotion known as ‘yugen’, which is ‘a deep, quiet, mysterious beauty tinged with sadness. Zeami expands its meaning to both text and performance, emphasizing the fleeting, melancholy nature of human existence. The greatest yugen appears in plays about aged,
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The shite strikes cymbals and shakes the bell from inside and is then revealed kneeling with her face to the floor and she has a robe covering her head. She then rises and is revealed to be in a different costume and mask than she had been wearing in the first act of the play. Dojoji is considered to be a very difficult play for the shite because it entails this very technical costume change inside the dark interior of the bell without any help at all from the stage attendants. It is therefore considered to be a role that actors aspire to and the costume change inside the bell is almost a test of the ability and talent of the

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