Here is the uncanny boatman who agrees to take the monk to the temple. The monk’s questions will lead him to reveal his surprising true identity. I made him and his costume very pale to emphasize his strange ghostliness, and to make him merge and fade into the background to some degree. I’m going to build him a little cardboard boat to ride, in reference both to the strange, rough character of his boat in the story, and to the abstract, minimalist “sets” of Noh.
I’m wondering now about music and sound for this little puppet show. I think theater should have music whenever possible (from Noh to ballet to wayang kulit, my favorite theater idioms are as much musical performances as theater) and music and sound design are one of the things I love best about Kihachiro Kawamoto’s films (referenced below). But on the other hand, I don’t like recorded music or amplification in the theater. I really hate the sound of miked actors, just at an aesthetic level; and besides I kind of think it’s a failure of training, blocking, and/or theater architecture if they need mikes. I’d also much rather have live musicians as part of the show than just recorded music playing. Again, I don’t think it sounds very good when music is coming out of speakers in a theater–they’re not really designed for it.
But generalized theory should never come in conflict with specific needs, right? And this will be, like I said, a kind of theater/cinema hybrid. So perhaps I’ll use some recorded music or sound effects, if I can figure that out.