Book Review: The Nō Plays of Japan

When confronted with art from a strange culture, the similarities with yours are as interesting as the differences. These one-act Nō plays, written by various authors in Japan's middle ages and translated by one Arthur Waley, feel both familiar and alien.
They're highly ritualized and condensed. Even with a description of the stage setup, the Spartan set decoration and the costumes and masks, much is lost in cultural and linguistic translation.
What's missing is realism; plot is minimal; so is character development. What's left is purer theater than any other. It takes getting used to, as would watching a performance.

Posted by cronopio at 01:50 AM, January 15, 2003