Following up my previous post on the ‘speed of time’, I have resurrected this reflection, which has been sitting in my draft folder for a while… This post originally developed into another reflection on time and objectives, which I have cut as I would like to expand it somewhere else.

What is the value of time in Noh training?

Learning a ‘unit’ of Noh, be it a line or a movement, requires time. Just as much as a grammar rule requires time and practice in order to be absorbed and successfully used. A grammar rule of a second language could be explained and analysed in detail, it could be compared with a similar rule in our native language, but would this be enough to say that we are in command of that rule? The typical mistake of the inexperienced learner is using a piece of grammar, an idiomatic expression, a certain word, in a context that is not suitable for its use. In most cases, there is no way to learn the correct usage of a given expression if not by paying much attention when native speakers use it, and by attempting to use it, and learning from our mistakes. All in all, learning a language requires the necessary time for embodiment, not mere memorisation. Memorising the grammar book will not allow us to speak correctly.

What, then, is the purpose of learning something ‘intensively’ (i. e. concentrating one’s efforts over a short period of time)? What is the ‘intensive’ quality of time? What do we gain by that ‘intensive’ quality? In the case of Noh theatre, I think that time plays a crucial role in the learning process. There is much to say about this.