How is the art form Butoh a stretch from the usual conventions of "What makes Theatre, Theatre?"

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appletrees eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Butoh is an unusual form of Japanese theatre performance that is very formal and stylized but that appears to be fairly simple and unstudied. Some conventions of theatre that have to do with aesthetics (beauty, grace, form) are upended with Butoh, which seems to be a celebration of physical ugliness and awkwardness. Facial expressions in theatrical performance are often mere accompaniments to dialogue or action based upon a progressive narrative. But in Butoh, these facial expressions (and the tense, contorted body movements that acompany them) are themselves the content of the story and the only clue of its progression. There is a primal, non-verbal component to Butoh that goes againt the emphasis upon text that is usually dominant in traditional theatre.