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226                  CURIOSITIES OF MUSIC.
the comedians being in least repute. Although the theatre is so well patronized, yet it is only by the middle and lower classes; very few aristocrats even of the lesser nobility ever attending, and these even disguise themselves.
Of course, it was to be imagined that the Jesuits would not (at the time of their mission in Japan) neglect so straight a road to the popular attention, as the drama. In their church at Nagasaki (more than two centuries ago), they represented a play in the style of the mediaeval miracle plays, repre­senting the birth of Christ. The parts were taken by the neophites and native students at the college of the order. Everything passed off in the best possible manner, as well in the appointments of the theatre, as in the ease and smoothness of the acting, and it would have been applauded in any European theatre."*
It may be interesting to the reader to peep into the green room of a Japanese theatre, during performance. It is thus described,—
" In these places none but men are to be seen, excepting from time to time some servants, or the artists' wives who bring refreshments to their husbands, or come to give the last touch to their toilet before they go on the stage in the costume of either sex. In the midst of the general disorder we find some very characteristic groups. Here are musicians occupied in refreshing themselves, and indifferent to everything else until the signal to return to their posts shall reach them; there,
•La Fage, Hist, de la Mug. t. I, p. 876.






E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III