Noh theater is a traditional Japanese form of musical drama. There is dancing and singing, but it is vastly different from the Broadway show tunes of American musical theater. Noh has been performed sice the 1300s and is dictated by strict rules that are not altered. Special masks identify characters and stylized gestures communicate emotion. Stories from traditional literature form the basis for Noh plots– often a supernatural being in human form narates the story.
Noh masks are worn by actors to identify specific characters. Because their faces are covered, emotions are conveyed through stylized body movements and hand gestures.