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220 CURIOSITIES OF MUSIC
In being otten built upon a permanent site; and in other particulars.
The plays although sometimes quite as minute in details as the Chinese, are much shorter, lasting usually about two hours; and are often much wittier.
There has been a peculiar manner of presenting these plays; if five plays are to be performed in one day, the following mode has sometimes been adopted.*
The performers go through the first act of the first play, then the first act of the second play, and so on until the fixe first acts have been given. They then take the second act of each play in succession, and so on, until all the last acts are given. The object of this custom is to enable spectators to see one act, go away, and come again in time for the next act.
Often, however, the spectators remain throughout the entire day, and in that case refreshments are openly consumed. It is also thought correct for ladies to change their dress as often as possible during the day, so that there is as much change of costume, in front of the stage as upon it. In the Japanese comedies there is generally a large amount of love making. The tragedies deal chiefly with the exploits of the mythological heroes, and are expressed in verse, sometimes declaimed, sometimes sung.f The terrific combat is an acknowledged essential of this order of plays.*
•Wood's Natural History of Man, t. II, p. 849. t La Fage, Hist. Ren. de la musique, t. I, p. 876. X Wood's Nat. Hist, of Man, t. II, p. 860.