Noh has a disorientating history. It emerged from folk rites, developed into the most popular art of its day, and has since been refined out of all recognition. Devotees maintain its accessibility, but modern Japanese are far more likely to head for Tokyo Disneyland than any of the 60-odd principal stages.

So, how wise of the National Noh Theater to hold a short program of instruction and the most lively kyogen and Noh. And how refreshing that it did so without compromising its standards a jot.

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