This April program commemorates the 5th anniversary (6th memorial service)
of the death of Nakamura Utaemon VI.
It also celebrates the shűmei of Nakamura Matsue VI
and the first stage appearance of his son, who receives the name of Nakamura Tamatar˘ V.
The new Matsue plays the roles of Minamoto no Yorihira and Imada Manjir˘ in "Kanhasshű Tsunagi Uma" and "Ise Ondo Koi no Netaba";
his son Tamatar˘ plays the role of the child Umematsu in the former play.
Kitsune to Fuefuki: this is a modern play by the late H˘j˘ Hideji.
Based on an ancient tale, it combines the atmosphere of a fairy tale with very
human emotions. A young court flute player (Nakamura Baigyoku) is disconsolate after the death
of his wife, but comes to live with a woman that looks just like her (Nakamura Fukusuke).
In fact, she is a fox whose life he saved. But they must not sleep together or
she will die. One day, furious after losing the opportunity to play in front
of the emperor, the flute player drinks, and, no longer able to control
his desire, sleeps with her. The next day, the flute player commits suicide
embracing her dead body.
Takao: an elegant
dance showing the ghost of a courtesan who died because a samurai
lord fell in love with her. She describes her life in the pleasure
quarters and then shows the torment she is suffering in the afterworld.
Starring the Living National Treasure Nakamura Jakuemon in the role of the ghost of the courtesan Takao.
Hototogisu Koj˘ no Rakugetsu: although in the late 16th century
Toyotomi Hideyoshi ruled Japan, after his death, control quickly passed to
Tokugawa Ieyasu, and the fate of Hideyoshi's clan, his wife Yodogimi and
young son Hideyori was sealed in a series of battles over their stronghold,
ďsaka castle. First performed in 1905, this is a play by Tsubouchi Sh˘y˘,
famous as the first translator of Shakespeare's plays. The mad scenes of
Yodogimi as the clan goes down to defeat are reminiscent of those of Lady
Macbeth and have turned out to be the source of the enduring popularity of
the play. Featuring the Living National Treasure Nakamura Shikan as Yodogimi in a
role created by Nakamura Utaemon V and
carried on by his son, Nakamura Utaemon VI.
Kanhasshű Tsunagi Uma: this is an extremely rare revival of a
play by the great Chikamatsu Monzaemon that shows Masakado, the man that
conquered eastern Japan and tried to become emperor and
his confrontation with a magical earth spider that appears in the form of
beautiful woman. Starring Nakamura Kaishun and Kataoka Nizaemon in the role of the spirit of the earth spider and
Taira no Masakado.
Ii Tair˘: Ii Naosuke was the head of state in Japan in 1860 when there were
pressures from inside and outside the country. Imperial loyalists demanded that
the Sh˘gun step down and hand over rule to the emperor to resist the foreign
barbarians. The United States and other countries insisted that Japan open its
doors. On March 3, at the snow-covered gate to the Sh˘gun's castle, Ii Naosuke
was assassinated by imperial loyalists. This modern play by H˘j˘ Hideji features
the last day before the assassination as Naosuke senses that his end is near.
The deaths of an old friend and his newborn daughter make Naosuke and his
mistress Oshizu think back to simpler times before he was burdened by such
responsibilities. Starring Nakamura Kaishun as Oshizu, a role made famous by his father
Nakamura Utaemon VI, Nakamura Kichiemon as Ii Naosuke and
the Living National Treasure Nakamura Tomijűr˘ as Naosuke's Zen teacher.
K˘j˘: there is a close relationship between the stage and the
audience in Kabuki and this is shown by these ceremonial stage announcements
where the top stars of the company address the audience directly.
This k˘j˘ celebrates the memory of late Nakamura Utaemon VI,
the shűmei of Nakamura Matsue VI and the first
stage appearance of his son Nakamura Tamatar˘ V.
Shigure Saigy˘: this dance shows an encounter between the
poet-priest Saigy˘ and a courtesan at Eguchi. But the courtesan is actually a
merciful Buddhist deity. Starring the Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘
as the courtesan and Nakamura Baigyoku as Saigy˘.
Ise Ondo: this play is famous for its classical
depiction of a woman who must pretend to reject her lover for his sake and
for the beautiful and gruesome dance-like killing scene at the end,
done to the music of the Ise pleasure quarters. Fukuoka Mitsugi (Kataoka Nizaemon),
a young apprentice at the holy Shrine of Ise tries to help find the stolen
treasured sword of his clan out of duty to his former lord. Mitsugi has the sword
in his possession, but must now find the certificate of authentication and
in order to get it for him, Okon (Nakamura Tokiz˘), a courtesan who is in love with Mitsugi
must pretend to forsake Mitsugi. But he believes that she has truly betrayed
him and further angered by the humiliating accusations of Manno (Nakamura Fukusuke), the head
maid of the Aburaya brothel, Mitsugi inadvertently draws the sword, said
to be cursed, and the rampage begins.
Source: Earphone Guide website