AUGUST 2008

7 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, National Theatre, Theatre Ginza), 1 in ďsaka (National Bunraku Theatre) and 1 in Toyooka (Eirakukan)!

  • Nakamura Kanzabur˘, Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Fukusuke and Nakamura Senjaku perform at the Kabukiza !
  • The Omodakaya guild performs at the Theatre Ginza !
  • All the others great Kabuki actors are on vacation ...
  • Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 9 ~ 27 August 2008 (Hachigatsu N˘ry˘ Kabuki)
    MatinÚe

    Onna Shibaraku

    Sannin Renjishi

    Rakuda

    Afternoon

    Tsubakuro-ha Kaeru

    ďeyama Shuten D˘ji

    Evening

    Momijigari

    Noda-ban Aida Hime

    Casting

    Nakamura Kanzabur˘, Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Fukusuke, Nakamura Senjaku, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Nakamura Kantar˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Ichimura Kakitsu, Kataoka Kamez˘, Onoe Matsuya, Band˘ Shingo, Nakamura Tsurumatsu, Nakamura Kunio, Band˘ Minosuke, Band˘ Kokichi

    Comments

    19th edition of Nakamura Kanzabur˘'s summer program at the Kabukiza, the Hachigatsu N˘ry˘ Kabuki (literally "the August cool-breeze Kabuki"), which features a group of popular young stars headed by Nakamura Kanzabur˘ in three short programs of Kabuki, perfect to fight the heat of summer. The program is very adventurous; featuring new plays, revivals of rarely performed modern plays and closing with a Kabuki style version of the opera Aida by Noda Hideki, one of Japan's most famous contemporary directors.

  • Onna Shibaraku: more ceremony than play, "Shibaraku" is one of the oldest pieces in Kabuki. Just as an evil villain is about to execute a group of loyal retainers, a voice calls out for him to wait and a hero appears to save the day. This version is a parody, though, as the hero is played by an onnagata female role specialist, who mixes the super-human strength of an aragoto hero with the soft gentleness of a Kabuki heroine. Featuring Nakamura Fukusuke as the heroine and Band˘ Mitsugor˘ as the larger-than-life villain, with Nakamura Kanzabur˘ as a friendly stage attendant who makes sure that everything goes right.
  • Sannin Renjishi: "Renjishi" is one of the most popular dances in Kabuki, but usually, it is a dance with father and son, in this special version, mother and father appear along with the child. In Asian tradition, the shishi is not really a lion, but a kind of mythical creature that guards the mythical stone bridge to heaven. There is also a tradition that the way a parent shishi teaches its child is very severe and in this dance, the father lion throws his son into a valley, hoping that he will have the strength to climb back up on his own. The striving of the young cub, the concern of the parents, their joyous dance when the son returns to the top of the mountain all show the love between father and son. It stars Nakamura Hashinosuke as the father shishi, with Nakamura Senjaku as the mother and Nakamura Kunio, in real life Nakamura Hashinosuke's son, as the child.
  • Rakuda: this is a popular dramatization of a rakugo comic story. A petty gang boss named Rakuda (Kataoka Kamez˘) has died after eating blowfish. Hanji (Band˘ Mitsugor˘), one of his gang members, finds him and hopes to bury him, but has no money. When he tries to get the neighbors to contribute, everyone is overjoyed that such a nuisance is dead, but won't contribute a cent towards his burial. Finally Hanji pulls in a passing waste paper collector named Kyűroku (Nakamura Kanzabur˘) and forces him to carry around Rakuda's body and threaten to make it dance if the neighbors won't pay up. They get a great sum of money and start drinking together. But as he drinks, the hapless Kyűroku becomes surprisingly aggressive.
  • Tsubakuro-ha Kaeru:
    (Yasunosuke's Search for a Home)
    This is a rare performance of a modern play. A carpenter named Bungor˘ (Band˘ Mitsugor˘) is on his way to Ky˘to when he gets a strange request. A little boy named Yasunosuke was left by his mother in a foster home, but was treated so badly that he ran away. He has heard that his mother is in Ky˘to and begs Bungor˘ to take him with him. Reluctantly Bungor˘ agrees, but during the long journey together, he almost becomes a second father to the boy. In Ky˘to, he meets Yasunosuke's mother Kimika (Nakamura Fukusuke), who is a geisha, but she tells him of her own hardships and that she cannot see Yasunosuke. The play shows the heartbreaking dilemma of the little boy caught between a mother that cannot keep him and the stranger who has become a father to him.
  • ďeyama Shuten D˘ji:
    (The Demon of Mt. ďe)
    One of the most famous stories about demons is about Shuten D˘ji, the demon of Mt. ďe, who loved sake and terrorized Ky˘to by kidnapping beautiful women and forcing them to serve him before he ate them. Finally, he is defeated by the famous demon-quelling warrior Minamoto no Raik˘ and his four followers. Starring Nakamura Kanzabur˘ as Shuten D˘ji and Nakamura Senjaku as Raik˘. Based on a classical play, this is a dance that was created by Nakamura Kanzabur˘ XVII and will be presented by his son, the current Nakamura Kanzabur˘ for the first time. Also featuring Nakamura Fukusuke, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Nakamura Kantar˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Band˘ Shingo and Band˘ Minosuke.
  • Momijigari: the general Taira Koremochi (Nakamura Hashinosuke) travels to the mountains to view the autumn leaves when he suddenly encounters a beautiful princess (Nakamura Kantar˘) and her entourage. Aided by the elegant dancing of the princess and a large amount of sake, Koremochi falls asleep, not knowing that she is actually a fierce demon. The god of the mountain (Band˘ Minosuke) dances vigorously to try to wake up Koremochi. But as the demon appears in its true form, Koremochi is saved by the magical power of his sword.
  • Aida Hime: this is a retelling of Verdi's opera "Aida" as a Kabuki history play directed by Noda Hideki, who is famous for his colorful staging and fast and funny movement and dialogue. All the characters of the original have been transformed into Kabuki characters: Aida becomes Princess Aida, Radames becomes Kimura Damesukezaemon, Amneris becomes Princess N˘. It is the age of the warring states and a battle between the Owari and Mino domains has ended in victory for the Mino domain and the defeated lord Oda Nobuhide (Band˘ Mitsugor˘) has been forced to send his beautiful daughter Princess Aida (Nakamura Shichinosuke) as a hostage to victorious Sait˘ D˘san (Band˘ Yajűr˘) and she is forced to become maid to his daughter Princess N˘ (Nakamura Kanzabur˘). D˘san wants his daughter to marry Kimura Damesukezaemon (Nakamura Hashinosuke), the most powerful of his generals, but Damesukezaemon is in love with Aida. When she learns of this, Princess N˘ is filled with jealousy and at the same time, Aidaĺs father Nobuhide plots his revenge on the Mino clan.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Le Theatre Ginza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 18 ~ 31 August 2008 (21 Seki Kabuki Gumi)
    Program

    Shin Suikoden

    Casting

    Ichikawa Ukon, Ichikawa Emiya, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Shun'en, Ichikawa En'ya, Ichikawa K˘tar˘

    Comments

    ???

    Eirakukan (Toyooka)
    Dates 1 ~ 5 August 2008 (Kokera Otoshi ďkabuki)
    Program

    Ayatsuri Sanbas˘

    K˘j˘

    Yakko D˘j˘ji

    Casting

    Kataoka Ainosuke, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Nakamura Kazutar˘

    Comments

    This program is in fact the kokera otoshi of the Eirakukan, a renovated traditional theater built in the city of Toyooka (prefecture of Hy˘go).

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 9 ~ 10 August 2008 (Ne no Kai)
    Program

    Kanda Matsuri

    Gosho Zakura Horikawa no Youchi (Benkei J˘shi)

    Tomo Yakko

    Comments

    10th edition of the summer program of the association Ne no Kai (the Sound Association). The first item feature only the geza musicians and the Nagauta music ensemble. The two others items, a drama and a dance, star disciples of major actors.

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 23 ~ 24 August 2008 (Kamejir˘ no Kai)
    Program

    Heike Nyogo no Shima (Shunkan)

    Ky˘ganoko Musume D˘j˘ji

    Casting

    Ichikawa Kamejir˘, Ichikawa Danshir˘, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Nakamura Kikaku, Onoe Ukon, Band˘ Kamesabur˘

    Comments

    6th edition (for the third times in T˘ky˘) of the program of the association Kamejir˘ no Kai, which stars the young and talented actor Ichikawa Kamejir˘.

  • Shunkan: the priest Shunkan (Ichikawa Kamejir˘) has been exiled to Devil's Island for plotting against the dictator Kiyomori. A pardon is given to his fellow conspirators, but Shunkan is only saved by an additional pardon given by Kiyomori's compassionate son. Even so, he gives up his place on the boat to freedom so his companion's new wife can accompany her husband back to the capital. The boat leaves and Shunkan is left watching is disappear in the distance, knowing he will be left on the island forever. Featuring Ichikawa Kamejir˘'s father Ichikawa Danshir˘ as the evil emissary Senoo and Ichikawa Monnosuke as the merciful envoy Tanzaemon.
  • Musume D˘j˘ji: a beautiful young woman dances under cherry blossoms at a dedication ceremony for a temple bell. She dances the many aspects of a woman in love, but is actually the spirit of a serpent, driven to destroy the bell out of jealousy. In addition to being the most famous of all Kabuki dances, "Musume D˘j˘ji" is considered to be the pinnacle of the art of the onnagata. The role of the shiraby˘shi is played by Ichikawa Kamejir˘.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 21 ~ 26 August 2008 (Chigyokai/Kabukikai)
    Program

    Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami (Kurumabiki)

    Tsuri Onna

    Banch˘ Sarayashiki

    Kioi Jishi

    Comments

    14th edition of the common program for 2 associations, the Chigyokai (the Young Fishes Association) and the Kabukikai (the Kabuki Association), which stars stars' disciples in the leading roles of all the items in the program.

    National Bunraku Theatre (ďsaka)
    Dates 19 ~ 20 August 2008 (Kamigata Kabukikai)
    Program

    Honch˘ Nijűshik˘

  • Jusshuk˘
  • Kitsunebi
  • Kanadehon Chűshingura
    (Gion Ichiriki Jaya)

    Comments

    18th edition of the Kamigata Kabukikai (the Kamigata Kabuki Association), a summer program in ďsaka which stars Kamigata Kabuki stars' disciples in the leading roles of all the items.

     
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