Saturday, March 26, 2005

I'm just back from Kabuki Lady Macbeth at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Ok, I see those incredulous looks on your faces. What, just because I like to say fuck a lot, you think I'm not cultured, is it? WRONG! I am very cultured, ok! In fact, I'm a bona fide culture vulture! Don't play play!

Yeah, so I saw the picture; I like Japanese stuff, I had nothing better to do, it was 15 bucks, so I thought, yeah, why not. From the picture, I seriously thought it was going to be something like Kurosawa's Throne of Blood; you know, lots of awesome samurai action and whatnot, or maybe kabuki action. Whatever. I mean, just compare the posters:

See the striking resemblance? I was all ready for lots of Japanese, and maybe some funny singing and whatnot. That would've been awesome. However, I was shocked to discover that the actors in the play were all ... ang mohs! Yes, that's right, despite the black hair and painted faces, it seems that none of the actors spoke a word of Japanese, other than perhaps 'shogun', which they said about a billion times. That's right, every other name in the play (ok, they use titles like Kurokawa and Tikitikitiki or something that sounded like that) was the same, but nonetheless, they felt obliged to call Duncan the shogun. Retarded, I know.

On top of this, Macbeth had a hairy chest. And a pot belly. How do I know? Well, in the duel to the death with Duncan (yes, they felt compelled to have the two characters duel to the death; it was bizarre), Duncan somehow manages to take off Macbeth's cape. I was almost expecting a pool of mud. And some wrestling. I mean, what the hell? I don't want to see a tubby guy with red underpants! I wasn't paying for Sumo Lady Macbeth, damnit!

Lastly, the fact that they were all speaking in English made the whole affectation of the Kabuki thing fall flat. I mean, I guess they couldn't be expected to speak Japanese, but then, why try right? I guess it's important to bring Kabuki to the Americans, but hey, I guess I wasn't exactly their target audience. I should've just gone to Japan and seen real Kabuki. Seriously.

Naturally, there were a couple of redeeming factors. Shozo Sato did a pretty good job of conveying the feel of a Kabuki production given the limitations of the space he was working with. Given the modestly sized theatre, it would have been kind of unreasonable to expect trap doors and revolving stages (though I still wanted that stuff anyway, because it would have been oh-so-kickass); he put together a real pretty set of screens, lights, feather boa forests and red paper blood baths. It was all very pretty, really. Also, considering it was 15 bucks, I could think of worse ways to spend the evening. I mean, all in all, it was a real great night out; a play, a nice Japanese dinner, great company. I'm surprised I still can write such an irritated sounding rant.

Actually no, I'm not. I can be irritated at anything. Oh, the actors laughed real funny, too. They'd do this stylized, stage laugh that was a 'huh huh huh' instead of a 'hee hee hee'; it sounded like a cross between Fat Albert and Apu from the Simpsons. It was funny, though; it cracked me up every time.

I guess it all boils down to the fact that I'm one of those asians who's always looking at the white man and saying, 'you have no idea; you'll never get it, so why bother trying?'

Maybe I should just be more open.

Then again, maybe white dudes trying Kabuki should first learn some goddamn Japanese.


Blogger Adrian spewed forth...

I'd be irritated too if I watched that shit. :)

26/3/05 06:22  
Blogger CELLE spewed forth...

Uh Uh sounds like hilarious. i'd giggle through out..
looks like the angmohs are reallly turning east.. even britney did the jap school girl trick hehehhe..
would wanna see hairy angmohs doing sumo wrestling thooo

26/3/05 12:44  
Blogger Adalmin spewed forth...

I banged my head on my table while laughing at your blog. I hope you're happy.

26/3/05 20:28  
Blogger suspiciousbastard spewed forth...

How does Kabuki look like? The only contact with Kabuki that I had was in a game that had a Lotus, a Dragon, a Serpent and a Wolf faction. I forgot the name of that game though(it was fun).

27/3/05 16:00  
Blogger J Schnorng spewed forth...

aq: to be fair to the kabuki, I guess it wasn't actually all that bad. It still was pretty good for 15 bucks

celly: maybe i would go and see ang mohs do sumo. it would be even better if the japanese yokozuna sat on them. that might be funny

andalmin: i don't want you to bang table, leh; makes you stupider. unless it makes you easier to entertain, in which case keep banging.

sb: kabuki looks like a bunch of people with painted faces dancing around and saying things. like a play. only japanese. yeah. the real one actually also got trap door and whatnot. damn shiok, sia.

27/3/05 21:17  
Anonymous Illumination spewed forth...

In response:

Dear Bigfuck,

I fully agree with you.
I watched the kabuki lady macbeth and during the interval i told my date that i did not really like what they did. Somehow, english speaking kabuki characters just did not do it for me. The drawn out sighs and grunts and musicality of the voice just does not blend in well with costume. It is quite alienating actually ....

The costumes were quite normal but it just did not have the feel of a real kabuki performances... .
I was disappointed actually


4/4/05 02:19  
Anonymous Anonymous spewed forth...

Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

I have a lady macbeth site. It pretty much covers lady macbethrelated stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

23/10/05 01:11  
Blogger wbrant spewed forth...

Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

I have a the tragedy of macbeth site/blog. It pretty much covers the tragedy of macbeth related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

23/10/05 01:15  
Blogger wbrant spewed forth...

Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

I have a macbeth study guide site/blog. It pretty much covers macbeth study guide related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

23/10/05 01:18  

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