terça-feira, 28 de setembro de 2010

Notes #12 - Quick Terayamesque Descriptions

(Den-en ni shisu, 1974)

By Carol Fisher Sorgenfrei

Sanctified and demonized, more popular in death than in life, Shuji Terayama (1935–1983) remains the quintessential Japanese avant-garde playwright of the late 1960s and 1970s.
Born in the remote northeastern prefecture of Aomori, Terayama identified with outsiders and outcasts. Criminals, gamblers, prostitutes, dwarfs, hunchbacks, transvestites, magicians, rebellious students, and itinerant actors were characters in his life and his work. Both outrage and acclaim were heaped on Terayama’s intensely poetic, highly theatrical, often shocking plays.
Like outcast shirabyoshi and kusemai dancers (female precursors of male noh), or the prostitute-miko Okuni (creator of gender-bending kabuki), Terayama’s women defy traditional roles. Female representation is informed by fear and longing. Traumatized or raped women give birth to deformed, possessed, or monstrous male infants; mothers (or mother substitutes) become vindictive, suicidal, possessive, or manipulative; weak, alcoholic fathers die or abandon families. Seductive females torment innocent boys, driving them to violence or madness. Madonna-brides are transformed to blood-sucking whores. Loving mothers become suffocating old hags clinging to their son’s backs. Gender confusion intensifies the dilemma.

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