Star Wars (Japanese Opera)

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Dark Vader appears (front, rightish center), with his sidekick The Star of Death (not pictured).

Written for the Japanese stage by the 18th century Japanese author Gorluca, Nōgaku Sen no Rikyu Ichi-go Ichi-e Dengaku Shirabyoshi Gagaku ("War of Stars") was a smash hit with local villagers, spawned five sequels, and is mentioned as the original inspiration to George Lucas for the modern Star Wars franchise. With a minimalist acting crew of two males playing every character and a painted background, the play was relatively cheap to create. In spite of its advantages, the sequels were not as good as the originals, much to the dismay of the young Japanese males who waited in line fourteen hours to see them.

The actors are on stilts and in costume, manipulating puppet hands to simulate action, just like good action movie stars should.

The 3-act play is presented in its entirety below, translated from Japanese to Korean to Chinese, back to Japanese, and finally to English.

Act 1: Evil Emerges

A dark stage.

Suddenly, a bright and cheery voice booms commandingly over the audience.

Voice: ...A long place ago, at a time not near to us!

Orchestra picks up, beginning with the metallic clang and leading into a lute in harmony with drums and those bongo things. Somewhere amidst all this is a gong, repeatedly going off, symbolizing the rising and setting of the Sun. After 25 minutes, the music slowly fades away.

A brightly colored figure runs on stage, its sequins blinding the audience.

Figure: I, Dark Vader, shall conquer all the provinces for the Emperor!

Orchestra picks up loudly, clanging and banging all manner of instruments as Dark Vader runs in circles around the stage, followed by his diminutive maid. His sequined purple robes play in the air as Dark Vader dances. After 35 minutes of running in circles and clapping to loud metallic sounds, another figure joins him on stage.

Hideous Figure: No, Stop! Stop I say! Stop! No! Huh-uh! No!

Dark Vader looks inquisitively at the audience, his delicate hand rising to his petite mouth.

Dark Vader: What manner of man is this that asks me to stop?
Hideous Figure: It is I, your son, Lük!
Dark Vader: No! No, stop! No, it is not even possible!

Lük raises his slender purple hand over his mouth and looks inquisitively at the audience.

Lük: Yes, it is I, your long forgotten son! And I will stop you from conquering the provinces! I shall force you to stop, using force!
Dark Vader: Gasp! Lord and Emperor Pâlipatan, send aid to your pupil!

An incredibly elaborate dance scene ensues, while the orchestra bangs on their traditional Noh instruments. Suddenly, Lük's long purple appendage... no not that one! GET YOUR MIND OUT OF THE GUTTER! ...his long purple appendage falls off unceremoniously. Lead-based red paint squirts on to the audience. The audience applauds.

Lük: Oh no! For I use that hand much time!

Lük weeps and runs off stage. The stage darkens for a 15-minute break.

Act 2: Evil Reemerges

Dark Vader dances for his beautiful master.

Dark Vader is dancing in front of a plump, charismatic and colorful figure in order to demonstrate advanced Karate moves and the like.

Dark Vader: Do I please the Emperor? Shall we now conquer the outlying provinces?
Bright Figure: True, you have defeated Lük, my pupil, but I see he has a sister with double four hundred thousand times the determination!

Dark Vader raises his slender white hand to his mouth and looks inquisitively at the audience.

Dark Vader: Gasp! Emperor Pâlipatan, do tell me it is not so! No, it cannot be true! Tell me that you play a game! Inform me that it is extremely false with the utmost of lies and untruthiness!
Pâlipatan: It is true, my pupil. We are not rid of them. It is very true and not false!

The orchestra begins a lute solo as Dark Vader and Pâlipatan begin praying to their ancestors for strength. Suddenly, a sword colored red descends from the ceiling. The orchestra, at this time, really loses their cool, and starts banging and clangin' all over the damn place.

Pâlipatan: Gasp! Bless the ancestors, for we now have The Star of Death: the blade of a thousand sharpnesses!

The orchestra blasts the audience with a gong, and, as the audience claps wildly, the two figures dance in circles. The bright colors flash and spin around the stage giving at least four audience members seizures. After 20 minutes of dancing, clapping, running in circles, and gleeful giggling, the two characters stop.

Using traditional dance-and-puppet-opera, the gender-confused witch Obi-Wan Kenobi disturbs merriment and dance-making.

A dark figure approaches from stage right.

Dark Figure: It is I, Obi-Wan Kenobi, the sister of Lük, here to repay my brother's humiliation!

Pâlipatan and Dark Vader hold each other in fear.

Dark Vader steps forward with the Star of Death.

Dark Vader: No! Stop! No, no! Do not come! Stop! Huh-uh!

Obi-Wan raises his slender black hand to his mouth and looks inquisitively at the audience.

Obi-Wan: No, it is you who will stop... Anakin Vader!
Dark Vader: Gasp! How did one know my true name?
Obi-Wan: I am not only the sister of Lük the fallen, but I am also your old lute master, from which you have learned much the lute and its ways!
Dark Vader: No! No it isn't true! No, it cannot be true in its falsehood! Obi-Wan, my teacher, come to strike me down with a sword in battle using traditional dance-and-puppet-opera!

The orchestra strikes up again, lutes whistling and metallic instruments clanging, as the two whip around each other, dancing in an eccentric manner, until we see the Star of Death protruding from the back of the witch, Obi-Wan.

Obi-Wan screams in anguish.

Obi-Wan: Oh great injustice, that I am stabbed through the torso in such a fashion! But be aware: for I will come back stronger than you could even imagine! Ha! Haha!

Obi-Wan cackles and runs off stage. Pâlipatan, the fat, multicolored emperor, claps his hands in glee.

Pâlipatan: Yes, defeated him have you! Yes! Good! Yes! Excellent! ...But war is not over yet! The traitor's base still lurks in the cold northern wastes of Hoth!
Dark Vader: Gasp! They lie there jealously in wait as I and my precious emperor dance the days away in our bright costumes!
Pâlipatan: You must defeat them! Rush! Hurry with greatest of hastes! Do not delay! Go! Hurry! Run! Go and rush with the most rushiest of rushes, and the most hurried of hastes! Do not stop to delay! Go! Run and hurry!

Dark Vader daintily dances off stage.

Stage darkens for a 15 minute break.

Act 3: Evil Confronted

The dreary, boring, monochrome Battle of Hoth begins as Dark Vader (leftish center-right) and Lük (not pictured) daintily dance the dance of death.
Voice: Dark Vader traveled many days to the land of cold: Hoth, to battle the evil traitors! Uses he his giant steel horse to trample them!

Dark Vader, now wearing a tiny horse amulet meant to symbolize his horse-riding status, dances on to the stage holding the Star of Death, twirling his now enormously sequined battle garb woven from fine silk.

Lük: Stop! Hold! No! Stay! Hold and desist with the most stoppeningest of stops and holdings!

Dark Vader raises his slender white hand to his mouth and looks inquisitively at the audience.

Dark Vader: Ah, it is Lük, my traitor son, come to kill me with his knowledge of the lute and puppet-opera! But I have the Star of Death, with which to hit personages of whom I may so desire!

The orchestra picks up again, and they have all SORTSA crazy instruments going on. They're banging and clangin' and all sortsa shit.

Dark Vader and Lük dance around each other very quickly for only about 15 minutes this time, when the audience sees Lük trip Dark Vader, the Star of Death clashing to the floor in a huge explosion of fireworks, some of which set audience members in the front row on fire.

Lük laughs triumphantly, but instead of finishing the job, dances off stage. Dark Vader has lost his amulet and lays on the floor. Stagehands come and pour strips of white paper on to the prostrate figure, symbolizing snow.

From the side of the stage, a figure in white emerges, its face rounded completely with white fur.

White Figure: Rarr, I am a ferocious and mighty snow leopard, come to devour you, for I am but a dumb animal, and not wise to the political machinations of human beings, nor to the importance of the figure that I see before me, of which I am about to partake!

Suddenly, there is a flash of light and some smoke, from behind which emerges Pâlipatan wearing a white coat, symbolizing his status as a ghost.

White Figure: Rarr! I am but a woodland creature, and am not so accustomed to ghosts of which I am afraid! Aah! No! Stay back! No! I am scared!

The snow leopard dances off into the distance in fear.

Dark Vader: Master! You have saved my life! Yes! Excellent! Good! Excellent! Yes! But how? Are you not still in the capital city?
Pâlipatan: I am a ghost visiting you!
Dark Vader: Then you are dead? Oh, woe! Shame! Bad! Not good!
Pâlipatan: I am still alive, but my spirit is visiting you to offer you hope, as an ancestor visits the good children of Kyoto on Kyotomas and brings them presents!

Dark Vader, ever so slowly, raises his slender white hand to his petite red mouth and looks inquisitively at the audience.

Dark Vader: ooooooooOOOOOOOOOOHHHH!

The giant puppet-costume-actor thing that plays Dark Vader rises from the ground in a victorious manner.

Dark Vader: Master, you have given me strength and courage and vitality and good thoughts and courage with which to crush the rebellion!

Pâlipatan, looking much like a giant, multi-colored baby, claps his hands and giggles with delight at the prospect.

From stage right, Obi-Wan Kenobi appears, carrying a bowl of feathers representing a witch's brew.

Obi-Wan Kenobi: No! Forsooth! I carry your demise in potion form with which I will destroy your sexual potency!

Dark Vader, not even pausing to acknowledge the figure, inhales a large gulp of air and then exhales rapidly. The stage crew and a dozen actors in silly costumes howl and wail and wave their arms wildly to simulate wind.

Obi-Wan Kenobi: Gasp! That traditional dance-and-puppet opera would be my downfall!

Obi-Wan Kenobi dances off stage, bemoaning her failure.

Buddha (front, leftish center, in gold) blesses the play and all participants.

From stage right, a figure representing Buddha in gold and white sits in the center of the stage, near the figure of Dark Vader.

Buddha: oh HO! Peace and justice have been restored to the provinces!

An overly excited, but not too overly excited, Pâlipatan dances on stage, clapping and giggling, throwing rose petals in the air. The orchestra is going totally nuts at this point, clanging and banging all manner of metallic instruments, and blowing into just as many different types of lutes.

Voice: And so Pâlipatan and Dark Vader controlled the provinces for many years! Happy fun dance time for many generations!

Audience gives a standing ovation, claps, gives another standing ovation, throws roses on stage, claps a third time, and leaves.

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