27th Public Lecture

Revival of Oni (Demon) Kyogen

For the 27th Open Seminar held on October 2, 1996, a revival performance of the Oni Kyogen comic play Kumo was given.
All that remains of Kumo is a text from the early Edo Period which provides old instructions regarding the entrance of the demons .
Kyoto Kyogen artist Shigeyama Sennojo and others helped to reproduce these instructions, creating a performance which features a lot of clamor preceding the entrance of demons, and a rhythmical accompaniment to the scene where the demons force the pilgrims into Hell. They also reproduced a popular Muramachi Period song in its original form to accompany the scene where demons and pilgrims get chummy with each other over a few drinks.
The performance represented a revival of the lively comic atmosphere that reigned before Kyogen came to be treated as a classical performing art.

zkoza27-01 The Demon King shakes his stick, tormenting the pilgrims and their pages who have come to pay their respects to Tateyama. At the back of the stage, Hayashi musicians provide rhythmical encouragement to the demons.

Defeated by the pages, the Demon King and his underlings decide to join the pilgrims in drink. Such merry-making is a common element in Kyogen plays.

zkoza27-03 At the party, the Demon King depicts Hell in a dance accompanied by song and Hayashi music.
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