A breathtaking Noh play comes to the George Town Festival. Don’t miss it.
The head turns. The gaze is unerring, immovable yet expressive. And in its turn the audience offers back its gaze, transfixed by a gesture, a precise movement, waiting for the declamatory words. But it is not a man’s face we see. The lights glint on a golden mask worn by a Noh actor. The expression appears implacably fierce, almost sinister, demonic even. The mask is called yakan (野干), named after the field fox, representing a malevolent spirit residing inside a rock, cautious and cunning.
And then the actor (shite) speaks, introducing himself as a character. He is, to all appearances, a product of the imagination, written in a distilled script. Yet, at the same time, he speaks directly of the man behind the mask, to the self:
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