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Revealing MasksExotic Influences and Ritualized Performance in Modernist Music Theater$
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W. Anthony Sheppard

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780520223028

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520223028.001.0001

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The Uses of Noh

The Uses of Noh

(p.72) 6 The Uses of Noh
Revealing Masks

W. Anthony Sheppard

University of California Press

The list of those figures who, to varying degrees, donned the Japanese Noh mask in modernist theater is long. Having borrowed several of the most obvious elements of Noh, particularly the use of masks, symbolic movement, and ritual dramatic structure, modernist figures tended to re-dress these elements in the fashion of their own cultural costume. Euro-American works and productions based on or inspired by Noh were created throughout the twentieth century to serve a variety of political, religious, and didactic functions. Two archetypal cases of this kind, in which Noh was tailored to fit Western purposes in works of modernist music theater, were the “Plays for Dancers” of W. B. Yeats and the Lehrstücke of Bertolt Brecht.

Keywords:   W. B. Yeats, Japanese Noh, Bertolt Brecht, modernist music theater, masks, Lehrstücke

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