An Actor’s Revenge

I wrote about Kon Ichikawa’s film An Actor’s Revenge in my essay. As it happens this background is a lot like the one I’m developing for my set. Blue on black. Incidentally this film is playing on the screen near the film studios at college.


Some objects that I’ve been looking at and some materials I’ll be using for my Kabuki inspired puppets. The feathers are woodpecker feathers I found in the woods, I’ll be using them for Ariel’s Harpy transformation.


I’ve been busy researching and writing my essay on Kabuki theatre in relation to Shakespeare. I’ve also done a lot of drawings and designs that I want to share. The drawings in this post are from the Frederic Aranda photography exhibition in March that inspired me to look at Kabuki for this brief.

Kabuki actors apply their own make-up, the drawing above is of Ichikawa Kamejiro, a famous onnagata (female role specialist) as he paints a red wax on his eyebrows, to smooth the hair, before painting them black.


When we had our drawing trip to the British Museum last term I discovered Haniwa Japan’s ancient funereal art form. They were made from terracotta and buried with the dead. I’m looking at them again because I think they will be really helpful in the design of my puppet heads. Although Kabuki is the springboard for my ideas I want the aesthetic to be more rustic, not so ornate and elaborate, and even a bit shamanistic.


Traditional Japanese Doll Theatre, that had profound influence on Kabuki during its early development. Celebrated playwrights of the time would often prefer to write stories for the puppet theatre, these would later be adopted by Kabuki theatre. Popular Kabuki actors would study the movements of the puppets and incorporate the mannerisms into their own performance.