Japanese theatre at the Theatre Olympics

Noh theatre is a genre of Japanese classical theatre. The word Noh means skill, talent and art. Noh is a poetic, musical theatre whose classical form emerged in the 14th century. The key role in the shaping of the genre was played by the actor, dramatist and theorist Zeami. The main axis of Noh performances is the transformation of the protagonist, played by the shite, the principal actor. On stage there is also the second actor, waki. The actors are accompanied by musicians playing the ōtsuzumi, kotsuzumi and taiko drums, and the nōkan flute, as well as by a choir. The actor’s craft includes dance, singing, melodeclamation and mask expression. In Poland, Noh has been the most popular form of classical Japanese theatre since its first presentation in 1980.

For all those who are interested in the art of Noh, Tessankai Theatre will stage a work demonstration on 5 November. Admission is free, but advance registration is required.

Tessekai will perform two Noh plays. One ticket allows admission to both plays. The piece Kiyotsune is a traditional Noh play, written by Zeami (1336–1444), a masterpiece of the genre of Noh warrior drama. By bringing it to the stage, Tessenkai invites audiences to discover the techniques of Noh presentation within the classic model of warrior play. There is a powerful message in this drama, about the dreadful reality of war and a hopeless human condition in it, which at times leads the most sensitive individuals to commit suicide.

Chinkon: The Repose of Souls, the second play performed on the same night, is built around the experience of two disasters which people have to overcome in their lives at certain times. The first one is of natural kind: an earthquake or tsunami, the other is man-made – a war, genocide or nuclear accident. Both of them bring about bitterness and anguish.  The drama takes place in the present, at the Auschwitz-Birkenau (German Nazi Concentration Camp) Memorial and Museum, where a Japanese visitor arrives, a survivor of the Tohoku disaster in 2011. There, unexpectedly, he meets a young victim of the camp. Chinkon is a modern Noh play by Jadwiga Rodowicz-Czechowska, who will introduce it before the performance.

Both pieces will be performed on 4 and 5 November. Tickets are still available.

Work demonstration

Noh Actor’s Craft

Tetsunojō IX Kanze, Teatr Tessenkai
Tessenkai - work demonstration, photo Jakub Karpoluk


Tessenkai Theatre

Kiyotsune, photo Studio Maejima

Chinkon: The Repose of Souls

Tessenkai Theatre

Chinkon, photo Jakub Karpoluk


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