The day finally came.
I lost it.
I had it coming though.
I had heard legendary stories about it, saw gaudy photos explicitly detailing every aspect of it and read ad nauseum about the exhilarating effects of actually experiencing it.
And I, Jenson Jonathan Deokiesingh, finally lost my kabuki at the not so tender age of twenty one (Okay, so I am in denial about my age. Bite me!)
In Kyoto, irrefutably the most romantic city in Japan, I witnessed my very first kabuki or classical Japanese theater.
I once read that, “Kabuki is to the Japanese as perhaps Shakespearian theater is to the English or traditional opera is to Italians.” Kabuki is indeed one of the great theatrical art forms.
On the last day of a pleasurable Golden Week, my friend and I walked the stairs of the famed Kyoto Shijo Minamiza Theater, entered its grandiose doors, paced along the dark red velvety carpet, positioned ourselves in comfortable cushioned seats, the curtains called and, it began- we entered the magical world of Kabuki.
In the theatrical masterpiece “Ogasawara Sodo”, a tale of the trouble of the Ogasawara family, I instantly became mesmerised by the fusion of vibrant colours, highly stylised dance, interjections of humour and hauntingly moving songs in this four and a half hour extravaganza.
The cast, all male performers, born into this revered tradition showed meticulous discipline as they executed their beautiful repertoire of song and dance.
As they performed the actors seemed possessed as if by a divine force, hypnotising the audience in with each word they uttered and every elegant move they made.
Performed in traditional Japanese dialect, I understood nothing that was being said, however, through a captivating portrayal (and an English synopsis booklet) I was able to vicariously live through the bad omen that plagued this troubled family.
Finding it genesis in the 17th century, kabuki is not a performance, it is a transcending experience.
The curtains called once more, this time indicating the end. I stood, clasped my hands and applauded for what seemed like an eternity.
Almost two weeks have gone since I lost my kabuki. As with most first experiences, this one is now forever etched in my mind.
Jenson recommends: Discover of the joys of kabuki, and relive the happiness of some of your first experiences.
Written: May 19, 2009