Monday, March 25, 2013

Behind the mystery . . .

One usually doesn't meet these two in the broad light of day. They were outdoors in the daytime as a special treat for cherry blossom visitors at Matsuyama castle. See yesterday's post for the portrait of the Bunraku lady only. In the only performance I have seen (and it was only part of a smorgasbord of Japanese arts for tourists) you couldn't see the the lesser two puppetmasters at all. This video might give you some idea
of what it looks like on the stage, except that I don't think the manipulators (usually three, the least experienced for the feet, the longer apprenticed for the left arm and the senior puppetmaster for the right arm, head and face) are usually illuminated in this way.  I imagine they filmed it in this way to give an understanding of the process. The puppeteers dress in black, with faces (except for the chief) covered as in the photo above, and are hardly noticeable. The puppet's movements are very stylized and may be quite subtle and small in size, or, as I the video linked to above, the puppet may throw itself about the demonstrate strong emotion, In the performance I saw the lady was reading a letter with sad news. Her subtle movements clearly showed how unhappy she was and I got tears in my eyes. (Even though I am not usually an overly sympathetic person.) It was very moving.

On the English Lit front: In the biography,  I am now up to the part of Eliot's life where she is still known as Marian Evans, and is working as a co-editor of a prestigious periodical in London. As for Middlemarch, I only have the final 10 percent to read and am rushing along because the plot has thickened and I wonder what will happen to some of my favorites. I might read Daniel Deronda next, and will doubtless report on it here. And now back to Middlemarch, a very conservative town. Sleep tight!
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