Kabuki or Not Kabuki, That Is the Question

The scene is fairly familiar at first. The lights dim, and an eerie squeal of flutes silences the rustle and buzz of the audience. The first actor enters, attired in full Kabuki dress—and pandemonium erupts in the crowd. Men bellow through cupped hands. To a foreigner the reaction seems a little harsh: the poor man has yet to utter a single line. However, no ushers appear to clear the stalls and soon everyone settles down to listen to the opening speech. Then another actor enters and—kaboom!—the hecklers start again, leaning forward to scream at the newcomer. Strangely, he appears pleased. Evidently...

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