Friday, May 22, 2009
Buddhist dances and new photographs.
The V&A recently held a day of rare Buddhist dances, I was able to see some of them and sense some of the power in the forms, particularly the Japanese Theater Noh. This piece was called "Kayoi Komachi" and was based on thestory of a wandering priest who encounters the ghost of a ninth century noblewoman who was one of the "Six Immortal Poets" Ono no Komachi. Because she had been a cruel lover she had been unable to escape the wheel of life and death, the priest
offers prayers for liberation and one of Komachi's lovers appears from hell forbidding her enlightenment unless he too can have justice.
After they have re-lived the experience of their relationship, both find liberation though the prayers of the priest and their own understanding of the nature of impermanence.
The acting is extremely stylized and meditative, and I found myself transported into another dimension by the sounds, music and actors performance. I did a handful of sketches and what I thought was 20 minutes turned out to be over an hour and a half of this play. The aim of the Noh theater is the experience of "hana" or flower, the aesthetic name for the buddhist experience of emptyness. This was the first time it has been performed in the west and the ensamble was lead by Shizuka Mikata who is heir to a heridary line of Buddhist priests who became Noh actors.
The Horse Chestnut trees have come into flower, I love these large clusters of flowers.