Friday, August 23, 2013

Let's play English Rakugo! A lively evening with Mr. Kanariya Eiraku

Rakugo is a form of Japanese verbal entertainment. This form of verbal entertainment is performed by the lone storyteller on the stage. Rakugo artists uses only a paper fan and a small cloth as props, and without standing up from the sitting position he/she depicts a long and complicated comical story. The story always involves the dialogue of two or more characters, the difference between the characters depicted only through change in pitch, tone, and a slight turn of the head.

On 22nd August, 2013 evening Mr. Kanaria Eiraku entertained us with his laughter filled performances. That evening, I had a chance to try it out too. I chose the one below:

The chemical formula
A teacher is talking to a student
Teacher: Ken, what is the chemical formula for water?
Ken:       It's HIJKLMNO.
Teacher: What are you talking about? There can't be such a formula.
Ken:       You said so yesterday.
Teacher: Did I?
Ken:       Yes, yesterday, you said the formula for water is H to O.

I think we can use this same technique to narrate stories to our children. I particularly find it very useful for me just because the change of tone and display of different characters by a single performer is so much fun. If you wish to know more about it or get a feel of how it is performed onstage, please visit this site to watch performances of Mr. Eiraku here - http://school.jorudan.co.jp/eigolike/pc/rakugo/index.php . I'm sure this will inspire you too.

Have a good time!

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