Letter from London



歌舞伎の「間」はすばらしい!(English)

「間(ま)」とは何でしょうか。とても説明しにくいものですが、「間」を語らずしては歌舞伎の面白さは半減してしまうでしょう。そこで想像してみてください。皆さんもよくご存知の有名なセリフです。

 「生きるべきか、死ぬべきか(To be or not to be?)」
 (劇的小休止)
 「それが問題だ(That is the question.)」

 この小休止は歌舞伎でいう「間」であり、「間」とは演劇、舞踊や演説でも感じられるような緊迫感にあふれた時間の経過です。「間」によって役者は観客の集中を集め、表現しようとしている精神状態を強調し緊迫感を高めます。

 また、「間」は七五調でいえば句と句のあいだの緊張感ともいえるかもしれません。次の例は、劇作家・評論家の川尻清潭の俳句です。

 夜桜や(5) また助六の(7) 喧嘩沙汰(5)

 この俳句では「また助六の」のあとに「間」が入るのではないでしょうか。また、弁天娘女男白浪(べんてんむすめめおのしらなみ)の女装をしていた弁天小僧菊之助が名乗る場では、「弁天小僧」と「菊之助」のあいだに「間」が入ります。「間」の感覚の悪い役者さんであれば、この場での盛り上がりがなくなってしまうでしょう。西洋の韻文に七五調はありませんが(英語と日本語とでの母音と子音の役割は違うため)、句のあいだに「間」が入ることもありますし、歌舞伎ほど形式化されてはいませんが同じように重要な役割を果たします。

「間」の例で一番興味深いのは歌舞伎の「見得」です。おそらく仏教彫像にみられる憤怒の相をもとにした劇的な「見得」は重要な場面を強調し緊迫感を与えます。見得をするとき、俳優は静止し、頭を回転させてからぱっと元の位置にもどし、両の黒目を交差させて相手をにらみつけます。そして見得には通常ツケが伴います。この場合、見得をする役者の演技に合わせてツケを二回打つあいだが「間」になります。

「見得」は歌舞伎特有のものであり、西洋劇にそれに相当するものはありません。ですから西洋劇における劇的小休止は「見得」よりも自然主義的なものになります。このような「自然主義的な間」は歌舞伎にもあります。この自然な「間」のすばらしい例として私が忘れられないのは『伽羅先代萩』の政岡を六代目中村歌右衛門さんが演じられた時です。政岡は花道で栄御前を見送りますが、たった今、目の前で殺されてしまった我が子の遺体の元へ一刻も早く行きたい気持ちでいっぱいです。歌右衛門さんの政岡は、見送るあいだずっと緊張感を保ち、栄御前が見えなくなった途端に泣き崩れます。ベテラン俳優は「間」を効果的に使うことによって、観客さえをも手中にしてしまうのです。

 該当する専門用語はありませんが、「間」は西洋劇だけでなく、西洋音楽でも大事な役割を果たします。私の息子のミシャと、ある有名なアメリカの指揮者によるストラビンスキーの『春の祭典』を聴いていたときのことです。二十世紀を代表する音楽の筆頭に挙げられるこの作品の最終小曲の『生贄の踊り』は劇的小休止で区切られています。指揮者がすべての小休止を短くしすぎてしまったため、作品の劇的効果が失われてしまったのです。

 ミシャは音楽家ではありませんが「この指揮者、良くないよ!」と思わず言ってしまった彼と私は同感でした。日本では(特に歌舞伎の世界)タイミングのセンスが悪いという意味で、この指揮者は「間が悪い」といえます。次回の便りは私が歌舞伎の中で一番関心のある「掛け声」についてです。上手な大向こうさんにとって、どれだけ「間」のセンスが大事であるか考えてみたいと思います。

■ロナルド・カヴァイエ
 コンサートピアニストとしてロンドン、ハノーバー、ブダペストで学んだ後、1979~1986年、武蔵野音大にて教鞭をとる。現在はロンドンに住み、年に数回、コンサート、授業、講演などで来日している。

 最初に歌舞伎を見たのは1979年。1982年には最初の英語イヤホンガイドの解説者になる。音楽教育と歌舞伎に関する著書があり、1993年に「Kabuki - A Pocket Guide」(Charles E. Tuttle)を日米で、2004年には「A Guide to the Japanese Stage」(講談社インターナショナル)をポール・グリフィス、扇田 昭彦との共著として出版した。

 2002年には、鈴ヶ森を「Kabuki Plays on Stage Vol. III - Darkness and Desire」(University of Hawai'i Press)へと翻訳し、昨年は松竹とNHKが制作する歌舞伎DVDの新シリーズの解説、字幕制作をおこなった。


"There is nothing like a ma!"

   What is ma? Well, that's not so easy to explain but without it Kabuki wouldn't be half so interesting as it is. Imagine, for example, this speech that everybody knows -

        "To be or not to be?"
         (Dramatic pause)
        "That is the question."

   In Kabuki that pause would be called a ma, and ma are tension filled moments applicable to acting movements, dance, or speech. The internal psychology of a moment is expressed by the actor, who holds the attention of the audience in a pregnant pause that creates tension and emphasis.

   Similar to the above example, ma may be expressed in speeches as the tension between the lines of shichi-go-chô - the division into lines of seven and five syllables used in much Japanese poetry. Look at the following example: in order to make things clear I have divided this haiku poem by the playwright and critic, Kawajiri Seitan (川尻清潭) into syllables -

Yo-za-ku-ra-ya (5) Evening cherry blossoms
Ma-ta Su-ke-ro-ku no (7) And once again
Ke-n-ka-za-ta (5) Sukeroku fights

   Here one could imagine a dramatic ma pause after Mata Sukeroku no, before completing the poem. Similarly, when the thief Benten Kozō abandons his disguise as a young girl and reveals his name, (Benten musume meo no shiranami - "Benten the Male, Female Bandit") he dramatically lengthens the last syllable of Kozō before speaking the final part of his name - Kikunosuke. An actor with a poor sense of ma might well leave too short a pause and so any feeling of suspense before the completion would be lost. Although Western poetry does not use shichi-go-chô (partly because Western languages do not have the consonant-vowel parings which make up the Japanese language), dramatic pausing between the lines can sometimes be equally important but perhaps less stylised than in Kabuki.

   In movement, mie stop-motion poses demonstrate the most exciting examples of ma. Probably deriving from the fearsome iconography and facial expressions seen on some Buddhist statuary, mie are powerful poses by male characters that serve to emphasize moments of great import or tension. As the action stops, the character assumes a dramatic pose, revolves his head back and to one side and then, snapping the head into position, crosses one eye over the other and glares at his opponent. Mie are usually accompanied by two clear beats of the tsuke wooden blocks. It is the dramatic pause before the winding up and final snap of the head, between the first beat of the block and the second, which is an example of a ma of action.

   Mie are unique to Kabuki and there is certainly nothing like them in Western theatre. Dramatic pauses are, therefore, more naturalistic and we find such pauses in Kabuki too. Let's look at the following fantastic example of ma which I will always remember. It was from Nakamura Utaemon VI's performance of Masaoka from Meiboku Sendai Hagi. Masaoka moves to the hanamichi in order to watch Sakae Gozen depart. Having just watched her son being murdered, Masaoka is desperate to run to his body. Watching her leave, Utaemon held the pose with extraordinary tension until, Sakae now gone, he collapsed in anguish. A master actor holding the audience in his hands!

   Although we may not have a specific name for them, ma pauses are very important not only to Western theatre but in music too. My son, Misha, who is not a musician, was watching a very famous American conductor, conducting Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring," one of the greatest and most influential works of the twentieth century. The final section, the "Sacrificial Dance," is clearly divided into sections by very dramatic pauses. Every one of those fantastic pauses was cut far too short by the conductor, and all the drama was lost as the music flowed along to greatly reduced effect.

   "That conductor is useless!" said Misha, and, judging by this example of very bad ma, I really had to agree. In Japan - particularly in the field of Kabuki - one would say his "ma ga warui" - his "ma is bad," meaning he has no sense of timing. Next month I'd like to write about my favourite Kabuki subject - kakegoe calling - and we'll see how absolutely vital a good sense of ma is if one is to be a successful ō-mukō san caller.

   Ronald Cavaye will be sending another letter next month.


Ronald Cavaye

   Ronald Cavaye is a concert pianist who studied in London, Hannover and Budapest. He was professor of piano at the Musashino Academy of Music in Tokyo between 1979-1986. Now living in London, he returns to Japan several times a year for concerts, teaching and lectures.

   Ronald Cavaye first saw a Kabuki play in 1979 and in 1982 became one of the first narrators (kaisetsusha) of the English Earphone Guide. He has written books on music education and Kabuki - "Kabuki - A Pocket Guide": Charles E. Tuttle, USA and Japan, 1993 and "A Guide to the Japanese Stage": (with Paul Griffith and Akihiko Senda), Kodansha International, Japan, 2004.

   He translated Suzugamori for "Kabuki Plays on Stage Vol. III - Darkness and Desire": University of Hawai'i Press, 2002 and for the past year has been working on the commentaries and subtitles of the new series of Kabuki DVDs being produced by Shochiku and NHK.