(waki enters, walks to middle of stage and stands facing front, chants)
Darkness of this age
Light of the sun has been lost Darkness of this age Glow of the moon forgotten
Waki: (stepping forward) I am a priest from Byodoin Temple. I am setting out on a journey to teach the Buddhist scriptures and the promise of Amida’s Paradise.
Cicadas join in chorus
And before me – Kyoto
(circles upstage to waki spot)
Now I have at last reached Kyoto. And what an entryway! A great gate rising as a wall of cloud. Strange, how it seems as if it were trying to hide something…
(shite enters and stands at shite spot)
Here draws someone near - let me about this place and its history.
Evening cloak again draws over
(moves forward, pause)
(turns slowly to move left)
from a great mirror
(point to right, scoop and move forward)
The heavens’ dance is
The color of mystery,
(slowly turns to the left, gathering energy)
I witness the moon’s passing
(moves slightly left and forward, faces front)
Floating by like the
Waki: This old man drawing near, he seems lost in some memory.
Shite: Good evening, worthy priest. Have you also come to view the luminous moon? I hear that Minamoto no Hiromasa used to come here to this Suzaku Gate, too; but unlike him I am not skilled in flutes. I come merely to view the skies.
Waki: It is a wonderful night. I am curious to know more about Minamoto no Hiromasa, the man who came to this gate.
Strings also he played
Waki: Ah, Semimaru I know well. But, please, tell me how Minamoto no Hiromasa came to become his pupil.
Until, at last, he
Waki: He was truly a man dedicated to the learning of the arts!
Shite: Here, though, it was that Hiromasa met with his partner, a spirit, to play flute.
Under glowing moon,
And it is also said:
(takes one step forward, and scoop fan)
Left to wait for golden dawn,
Twin leaves collect dew
(raises fan before face)
Upon their red and green fronds
(shite brings fan overhead and drop to side)
Chorus: A work of art, this
(shite faces front)
When art was a man’s riches
Shite: And all were artists.
Shite: Flute, hichiriki,
Chorus: Lute and koto all sang
Shite: at his thoughtful touch
(shite turns and goes to rear of stage)
Behind bamboo and silk blinds
(short lyrical dance)
Glorified in times
Smoke of change shrouds
(Aikyogen enters and moves to upper stage) Ai: I am a resident of Kyoto, on my way home for the day. I always pass down this way…
(turns to stage left)
But look! There is someone under the gate who appears to be a priest. Good evening, sir!
Waki: Greetings! You wouldn’t happen to be a man familiar with Kyoto, would you?
Ai: Oh, in fact I live here. Did you have something to ask about this city?
Waki: I was curious about the flutist named Minamoto no Hiromasa. Do you know of him?
Ai: Well, I know some of the stories people tell, but it is hardly anything. Still, if you would like to know, I will tell you.
Minamoto no Hiromasa of the Third Rank was the grandson of Emperor Daigo. Hiromasa lived to an old age, mastering all of the traditional instruments –flute, hichiriki, lute, and koto.
There is a story which speaks of how he secretly traveled to Osaka Barrier every night in order to hear Semimaru play the lute. His persistence paid off. One beautiful night, Semimaru was moved to play his songs; and Hiromasa, being unable to keep from speaking, told Semimaru how he had been coming to hear him for three years. Semimaru was overjoyed and taught him the two secret pieces ‘Ryusen’ and ‘Takuboku’.
It’s also told that Hiromasa went as far as Rasho gate, alone, to retrieve Emperor Murakami’s lute when it was taken by a demon. He was a very brave man, faithful and true. They named him the Autumn Lord after the Palace which he guarded so faithfully.
Now, on nights like tonight, Hiromasa, the Autumn Lord, came to Suzaku Gate to play his flute. He was joined by a strange figure who never spoke, but played wonderfully. One evening, they exchanged instruments. The spirit’s flute, which Hiromasa was given, is also known by its name Hafutatsu. It is said that the flute now remains at Byodoin Temple.
Waki: Indeed, I can say that it does. I actually come from there and have seen it myself.
Ai-kyogen: Is that so?
Waki: Yes. It is quite intriguing that I leave Byodoin and find myself in the spot where that flute was passed onto Minamoto no Hiromasa. What kind of karma could that be, I wonder? I think I shall take the time tonight to pray for his soul before moving on.
Ai: It would be kind of you.
Waki: Thank you for the trouble you took in retelling the story.
Ai: It was my pleasure. Let me know if you have further questions.
(waki circles to face front)
(waki turns to stand in waki spot, kneels)
Chorus: Oh, how quickly dreams engulf me
(shite enters and stands in shite spot)
Shite: (moves forward)
Chorus: two flutes and two sho
Shite: a zither, lute, and drum
Chorus: Played celebration
Shite: In return, I offer
(raises folded fan)
Praise with the song of this flute.
(turning to side, lowers fan)
May it please the gods
Who fill Yamato’s vast land
Chorus: The sound of song as
Shite: Sweet as scent the of rich perfume
Chorus: Carried through long halls
Shite: Where robes rustle, strings whisper
(circles back to center rear of stage)
Chorus: Thoughts of those old times
Chorus: Tone of lute and flute
Shite: Tossed by storms, “Blue Ocean Waves”
Autumn may die, but Lord Autumn,
Sing secret chorus
(shite turns to begin to exit)
(shite pauses on bridgeway, slowly turns and looks up)
Music of heaven
(shite turns back and continues exiting)
Wield Amida’s light