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Smashing Plates

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Plate Merchant
Drum Merchant
Mokudai ( Official)

Pilgrims coming to Mibu-dera Temple to view the Spring Equinox plays purchase bisque plates which are presented to the temple as votive offerings. During this kyogen these platters are broken thereby ridding the believers of evil and bringing them good luck.

A new marketplace opens and an official puts up a sigh reading, "The first to open a stall is exempt from taxation." Before dawn a leather drum seller sees the sign and sets up shop. While waiting for his first customer he tires and naps. A plate merchant sees the sign and while she is setting up, she sees the drum merchant asleep. Thinking to gain the tax break she switches goods with the drum merchant. When the drum merchant awakens and notices the ruse, he starts fighting with the plate salesman. The official returns and declares that the winner of a talent competition will be considered the first to arrive. The plate seller wins and sets up his shop. The drum seller returns and with dramatic flare destroys the plates, pushing the many stacks of fragile clay disks off the front of the stage, where they fall many feet the ground with a great crash. Now, the official gives the tax break to the drum seller.

This is THE Mibu kyogen which everyone interested in it knows about, because of its spectacular action, the crashing of hundreds of bisque fired plates.

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