Introduction to Kabuki (70 minutes)


Students will gain a basic understanding of Kabuki as an art form by creating a Kabuki mie.



Materials Needed:

Youtube clips (3:30-4:50) (watch whole thing)



Hook: (5 minutes)

Watch first clip—this is Kabuki. Kabuki originated from Noh theatre, however, there are some distinct differences. The idea of spectacle became very significant in Kabuki. It was the first pop culture theatre to come out of Japan. People had favorite actors and came to see shows with big dance numbers. While it is still very traditional and codified, there is a more relaxed nature in Kabuki versus Noh.



Instruction: (15 minutes)

Watch second video clip. When clip has finished, explain to students that we will be discussing Kabuki makeup next class period. Aside from makeup, what are other things you learned?
Things to mention:
– kanji (sing, dance, skill)
– originally very avant garde—done by women, taken over by men
– elements of mie
– storytelling techniques (interaction with audience)
– only lit by candle



Instructions: (10 minutes)

We are going to create a mie for each of us to do practice on today. Each person needs to pick a cartoon or animated character. This cannot be a real person. Animated. Okay?

We are going to split up into groups of three. Try and pick partners that you haven’t been with before. In your groups of three, you are all going to make sure you haven’t different characters. Then, following the three steps of mie, you are going to create mies for each of your characters. When we come back together, each group is going to write their three characters on the board, perform their mies, and we are going to guess which character belongs to which mie.



Practice: (10 minutes)

Students only have 10 minutes to go and create their mies. Students need to run back to their seats when the 10 minutes are up. Select one spokesperson to write all three characters on the board when you group is called.



Performance: (15 minutes)

Ask for volunteers of who would like to go first, then start picking people if there are no volunteers. Instruct students to wait until all three people have finished performing their mies before you guess their character.



Discussion: (15 minutes)

How easy/difficult was it to guess the characters?
What parts of the mie most helped us realize who the character was?
What do we know about each of these characters that was manifested in the physical nature of the mie?
What are other ideas of things people could have used to accentuate the characters?
How does this apply to the characters you are choosing for your monologue?



Final Note: Added to your final performance from today:

– Performance Element: Kabuki mie. It needs to include all three parts of the mie and the pause afterwards for dramatic effect. Remember, while you are using an American Realism monologue, your performance is not realism based!!!! Don’t try and make a mie realistic. It should be exaggerated.