Like any other comedy, Rakugo, a Japanese sit-down story- telling comedy, has not changed in style of performance or presentation since inception in 17th century. This comedy was performed in Chennai by Utazo Katsuta, a Rakugo Master, recently inviting audiences intending to teach social knowledge.
In his first act, 'Times Noodle', he narrated a feverish visit to a restaurant to have soup and noodle with his every impeccable expression and action before the gathering, leaving them to sink in a flood of imagination.
Equipped with a traditional Japanese fan and handkerchief to represent them as chopsticks, scissors, pen, books and bills, he performed other two acts 'The Laughing Mushroom' and The story of 'Tree Head Man' and another in DVD- playing mode.
One of the differences from comedy in the western is the style of play. Just as there is stand-up comedy in western countries, this Rakugo is a sit-down comedy of comic story-telling. Wearing traditional, formal Japanese clothes and changing his attire to suit three acts he played for an hour with intervals.
This Rakugo master portrayed himself with distinct characters changing his voice, facial expression, mannerism, speech and many more where the audience was free to imagine the characters and background.
Garnering the attention and sitting on his knees on a cushion in the middle of the stage, Utazo Katsuta dazed everyone with quips throughout his mano-performance. Justifying the sit-down comedy, he said that as Japanese provides entertainment to the world through highly developed technological gadgets, there is no need to go for any stand-up comedy.
This 47- year- old master, after his apprenticeship, took the name 'Utazo Katsuta' in 1996 and has been actively appearing in various venues In Tokyo, enthralling Japanese as well as the foreign audiences in Thailand, USA, Brazil and a few in Sri Lanka for his next performances.
The event was organised by Japan Foundation and ABK-AOTS Dosokai, Tamilnadu centre, at Chateau D Ampa at Aminijikarai in Chennai, as part of Japan-India Friendship year: Japan year in India.