bukkaeri


   Both Noh and kabuki theater often stress the transformation of major characters; these transformations can be in emotion or status, or characters can reveal their true or inner selves (in kabuki, this latter transformation is called jitsu wa, or "in reality"). These transformations are visual and involve changing masks, make-up, clothes, or wigs. Because the transformations are visible, they take place offstage in Noh theater; but the art of kabuki is the art of spectacle and a number of dazzling special effects have been developed to visually transform a character onstage in front of the audience.

   The most famous of the transformation techniques involve changing costume onstage, so that a character suddenly, before the eyes of the audience, is wearing an entirely different and more colorful kimono. Somehow actors need to change from one kimono to another without physically removing it themselves. One way of changing kimonos is bukkaeri, or "unexpected" or "sudden change." In bukkaeri , a stage assistant slowly peels back the top kimono and, tucking it in the actor's waist, reveals another kimono beneath it.