Action had started on the stage. Players appeared, all in courtier's cap and sporting footgear. They shouldered a long palanquin. Another figure blocked them in the middle of the stage. As the palanquin was lowered, a single figure emerged from within. This new figure drew his sword and engaged the other, who'd hindered his passage, in combat. -- Sanshirō had no idea what was going on. Yojirō had, in fact, briefed him on the story, but he'd merely nodded politely while half listening. He'd assumed that the story, once he saw it enacted, would prove self-explanatory. Now, though, he found himself totally lost. The one thing he remembered was the title. It was "Nobleman Iruka." He wondered which figure was Iruka. There was no way to know. All he could do was regard the entirety as Iruka. With that, the courtier's caps, the footgear, the tight-sleeved clothing, even the words of the players, all invoked Iruka. In truth, Sanshirō had no clear notion of Iruka. His history studies were far behind him, and Iruka a forgotten shadow from some ancient past. Had he lived in the times of Empress Suiko? It could well have been the reign of Emperor Kinmei too. Certainly not Emperor Ōjin or Emperor Shōmu. Sanshirō was content to simply drink in the flavor of Iruka. He admired the Chinese-style costumes and surveyed the backdrop. The storyline eluded him completely. By and by, the curtain fell.
Shortly before the curtain fell, the man next to Sanshirō had turned to his neighbor to critique the players. They were thoroughly unpracticed, with weak voices. Like family members conversing in close quarters. The other man, in turn, had complained of how fidgety they looked, tottering about. Both men had thorough knowledge of the players' true identities. No doubt they were gentlemen of some renown. Sanshirō had imagined how vehemently Yojirō, had he heard them, would have objected. Just then, someone in back had yelled, "Bravo! bravo! Wonderful!" The two gentlemen had turned to look and spoken no further. At this point the curtain had fallen.