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Kyogen started in the same period in Japan. Kyogen plays could come between the first and second part of a Noh playor sometimes In a whole evening after two Noh plays. It is more comic, more stories of daily life than Noh. But still formal. After all it used the same stage as the Noh. For the Birdcatcher played by John Bottoms I did a long slow dance, using a pole. It should be slow because it is the dance of someone between two worlds, because he has left the earth and Is coming to hell, so the dance has to have something of the universal in it. Bob exaggerated the movements for the audience, but Kyogen in Japan is not done that way. We don't want to say to the audience: laugh. But this kind of story is funny anyhow, because the Birdcatcher plays a trick on King Yama. He thinks Alcestis is very heavy and serious, so for the Epilogue he wants to be very funny. MARK OSHIMA, KYOGEN TRANSLATOR How does the Kyogen epilogue fit into the piece? I like to think of the three parts-the Prologue by Heiner Muller, Alcestis, and the Epilogue-as the same narrative repeated three times. Each is a story of death and resurrection with the constant image of birds somehow connected to death, and they are arranged in the traditional Japanese manner of Jo-Ha-Kyu. Jo means slow introduction, Ha is a longer, faster and much more complex development section, and Kyu is the fastest section, a short conclusion that usually ends with a moment of stillness. In traditional Japanese theatre, nearly everything can be seen in terms of Jo-Ha-Kyu: the sections of a play, programs of several Noh plays alternated with Kyogen, even individual gestures are shaped in terms of it. The key point is that Jo-Ha-Kyu has nothing to do with thematic variation, it is mostly related to speed, and in fact, thematic unity tends to be discouraged. Now, I doubt whether Bob was thinking of any of these Japanese technical terms in putting together one piece. But it shows how similar his sense of movement and timing is to the Japanese even without conscious borrowing. 94 ...


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