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The male lady on the edge of tears : yūgen, non-duality, and cross-gendering in Noh

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Item Summary

Title:The male lady on the edge of tears : yūgen, non-duality, and cross-gendering in Noh
Authors:Suan, Stevie Tong Shun
Legend of Wushan
Date Issued:Aug 2012
Publisher:[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [August 2012]
Abstract:The primary goal of this study is to analyze the dynamics of cross-gendered performances in Noh by utilizing yūgen theory. I will be focusing on the plays and treatises of Zeami Motokiyo (1363-1443) and Zenchiku Komparu (1405-1468) to explore cross-gendered performances with the aesthetic theories they created.1 As creative theorists, affluent playwrights, and renowned actors, Zeami and Zenchiku produced the foundation for the aesthetics of the performing art of sarugaku, which later evolved into Noh theater. Zeami's and Zenchiku's plays are regularly performed in Noh, where many of the aesthetics delineated in their treatises are still evident. While both Zeami's and Zenchiku's treatises were pedagogical in nature, Zeami was often explicitly pragmatic, intent on supporting a successful troupe, whereas Zenchiku was often spiritual. Zeami tends to deal more directly with gendered performances than Zenchiku, who builds on Zeami's work, but both produced aesthetic and performance theories that can be utilized to better understand the gender dynamics of Noh/sarugaku performance. If we can look at gender through the theoretical lenses of Bahktin, Brecht, Freud, Lacan, Kristeva, Butler, or Connell, why not Zeami and Zenchiku? Would it not be the most beneficial to understand it within its original framework, especially when we are looking at Noh and sarugaku as a performing art? With this in mind, I will be examining how Zeami and Zenchiku's yūgen theories can help decipher the gender dynamics occurring when the character is not the same sex/gender as the actor in Noh performance (e.g., when a female actor plays a male character, or a male actor plays a female character). Here I will be specifically dealing with the instance of the male actor playing a female character, as that was the standard practice during Zeami and Zenchiku's time. To analyze Noh's gender dynamics I will be examining Zeami and Zenchiku's treatises and plays on four levels: 1) the narrative focus of the plays, 2) the character type, 3) the performer, and 4) the effect on the audience.
Description:M.A. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2012.
Includes bibliographical references.
Appears in Collections: M.A. - Asian Studies

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