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Formal Structure

Robert Oxnam :: The dramatic form of Noh, which developed in medieval Japan, is replete with Buddhist sensitivities. The playwright Zeami [Zeami or Kanze Motokiyo; c. 1363-c. 1443] is most associated with the development of the formal structure of Noh in these years.

Donald Keene :: The characters in the play — usually no more than three or four actors plus a chorus — and one of the actors — there's a main actor, but the secondary actor is generally a Buddhist priest.

Haruo Shirane :: What happens in the Noh play is that, there's a priest who travels to a particular place, usually in the provinces, and he meets someone—what's called a "person of the place," and as he's speaking to that "person of the place," it turns out that that person is in fact a spirit or ghost of someone long ago, whose spirit still lingers because he or she cannot attain salvation, and who speaks about some traumatic experience of the past.

So, this whole drama is kind of cathartic, in that the protagonist speaks about the past and thereby liberating himself or herself from it.