The Kabuki Theater

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Although it started out as just another type of dance, Kabuki eventually emerged into an important and fascinating theatre where elaborate makeup and costumes combined to put on entertaining performances for audiences throughout the centuries. Kabuki started out as a style of dance in the early sixteenth century, also known as the Edo period. Kabuki is an exclusive type of theater in which only males can act on stage. For over 400 years, women have only been allowed in the audience and not on stage. But ironically, a woman named Izumo Okuni along with her female troupe originally created the theatre. Okuni, who may have come from the shrine of Izumo, set up a temporary stage in Kyoto around 1603 where she and her troupe acted out slightly…show more content…
The “Demon Queller Glare” makeup is so powerful that supposedly the actor can make a “glaring pose” to scare away any evil spirits. Based on the Samurai pattern, this makeup is accomplished by leaving the eyelids white but framing the eyes above and below with black lines. The makeup emphasizes the actor’s eyes as much as possible, and makes them seem to grow wider and wider as he stares (Agostino 4). Sometimes actors draw in eyes on their closed eyelids to make them look even bigger for the ideal “glaring pose” (Heinrichs 118). In earlier days, the Kabuki actor would apply Kumadori makeup with his fingers so he could follow his bone structure, outlining the right places to make it look even bolder. Kumadori makeup is still very popular today. Expressed through bold and dramatic designs painted with fingers and brushes, it remains the center of attention in Kabuki. Common characters in Kabuki theatre each have basic makeup colors and patterns that they wear often, which each color representing a different emotion (Agostino 5). The colors most commonly used are red, black, pale green, light blue, and indigo, where red stands for anger, black represents fear, pale green stands for calmness, light blue represents sadness, pink indicates youth, and indigo stands for gloominess. Also, in Kumadori makeup different shades of white are used to represent class, age, and even gender of the character (Heinrichs 119). A lot of important costumes in Kabuki
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