Friday, March 03, 2006

The Awa Village Stage: Tokushima

From the Edo Period and through the Meiji period, villagers participated in performances working together to make things up as the play progressed. A village stage was maintained in all the villages. In the grove of the compound of the village shrine the stage was built to be well concealed. With its simple appearance the village stage reveals an atmosphere that can’t be found in modern urban theatre. The annual events that were held would be compromised of the puppet show and the ballad drama singing and dancing. This would smooth the way for an amateur dramatic performance, along with these events everyone would congregate in a banquet hall for a feast and thus allowing different people to fulfill various roles in the social life of the village. This was the tradition of the village. But is it what we term a Theatre tradition? Are there a set of rules handed down?

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