Zeami (1363-1443), Japan's most celebrated actor and playwright,
composed more than thirty of the finest plays of no drama. He also
wrote a variety of texts on theater and performance that have,
until now, been only partially available in English.
"Zeami: Performance Notes" presents the full range of Zeami's
critical thought on this subject, which focused on the aesthetic
values of no and its antecedents, the techniques of playwriting,
the place of allusion, the training of actors, the importance of
patronage, and the relationship between performance and broader
intellectual and critical concerns. Spanning over four decades, the
texts reflect the essence of Zeami's instruction under his famous
father, the actor Kannami, and the value of his long and
challenging career in medieval Japanese theater.
Tom Hare, who has conducted extensive studies of no academically
and on stage, begins with a comprehensive introduction that
discusses Zeami's critical importance in Japanese culture. He then
incorporates essays on the performance of no in medieval Japan and
the remarkable story of the transmission and reproduction of
Zeami's manuscripts over the past six centuries. His eloquent
translation is fully annotated and includes Zeami's diverse and
exquisite anthology of dramatic songs, "Five Sorts of Singing,"
presented both in English and in the original Japanese.
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