Interior Action: The Impact of Noh on Jean-Louis Barrault


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

Jean-Louis Barrault (b.1910) came into contact with Noh almost from the beginning of his career. Indeed, in the early 1920's informed knowledge of Japanese theater, particularly the Noh, was gradually increasing in France. The year 1921 marked the publication of Arthur Waley's signal work The Nō Plays of Japan and the last of Noël Peri's pioneering works on Noh, Cinq Nô: Drames lyriques japonais, as well as the arrival of Paul Claude! in Japan as French ambassador. In 1923 Jacques Copeau and Suzanne Bing, prompted by the work of Waley and Peri, were preparing their students at the Vieux- Colombier to stage the Noh play Kantan. In August of the same year, Camille Poupeye wrote favorably of Noh as an "ensemble of visual and auditory sensations which we would be wrong to deny simply because they escape us."1 In 1925 Franz Toussaint published an adaptation of the Noh play Sumidagawa (The River Sumida), under the title Les Pins chantent. Copeau expressed interest in Toussaint's adaptation, giving it several public readings, and even planned "to perform it in the Japanese way."2 And in 1926 Gaston Renondeau published the first of his flowing, lyrical translations of Noh plays. Of course, Claudel's writings on Noh and adaptation in his own plays of several aspects of Noh dramaturgy provided the greatest impetus to the appreciation of Noh in France.

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