Kabuki is another form of Japanese classical drama. Unlike Noh, which follows strict traditional rules handed down from generation to generation, kabuki tends to be lavish, loud and includes strange characters and plot lines. Instead of masks, the actors wear the white powder make-up and exaggerated black eye and lip-liners.The Japanese expression kabukimono describes people who dress oddly and act in obnoxious ways.
Productions tend to be elaborate, with scenery changes and costume changes in the middle of the action! Like the Noh stage, actors arrive and leave by a walkway (called the hanamichi or "flower bridge") that extends into the audience. The stage rotates for transition between scenes, and trap doors are built right into the floor for dramatic entrances and exits. Characters also "fly" in the air by wires set into the costumes (similar to the wire-work effects in today's martial arts films). All of these stage techniques and tricks are collectively called keren.
For more information about Kabuki, Noh and other forms of Japanese theater, A Guide to the Japanese Stage: From Traditional to Cutting Edge by Ronald Cavave, Paul Griffith, and Akahiko Senda is a good resource to start.
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