Why are all the actors in kabuki men?
The original actresses also worked as prositutes, so they switched to men to stop that problem. Apparently, it didn’t stop that problem anyway, but now “onnagata” ladyboy parts are so camped up that it would be impossible for a woman to act it “properly” anyway.
How can the same people whose television provides maximum lowest-common-denominator stimulation also sit through kabuki?
The Japanese have a very clear distinction between things you do in your free time for your relaxation and things you do for the good of yourself, the people around you, your society and the world. Hence they feel quite happy saying “my hobby is sleeping/ drinking” and there isn’t the pressure you get in London to prove that you spend your free time reading the right books and visiting the trendiest bars or countries- and very healthy that is too! Kabuki goes in the “good of society” section, which is why most Japanese only go to kabuki when they are taking a foreign guest or their children.
Why is kabuki theatre acting so stiff and stilted?
It was partly based on the stage directions etc. of puppets in bunraku puppet theatre
Why is kabuki so stuck in the past when the Royal Shakespeare Company is willing to experiment with Shakespeare so much?
Because audiences have not fallen past a certain point there is no particular need to change the management style, which is older actors telling the younger ones exactly what to do and stifling all creativity. Not just a problem in kabuki! My other theory is that kabuki is considered a duty to watch rather than entertainment, and therefore there is not the pressure to make it fun or interesting.