APRIL 2012

5 shows in T˘ky˘ (Shinbashi Enbuj˘, National Theatre, Heisei Nakamuraza), 1 show in Ky˘to (Minamiza) and 2 on Shikoku island (Kanamaruza)!

Shinbashi Enbuj˘ (T˘ky˘)
Dates 1 ~ 25 April 2012 (Shigatsu Hanagata Kabuki)
April Young Actors Kabuki
MatinÚe

Kanadehon Chűshingura

  • Kabuto Aratame
  • Shinmotsu, Ninj˘
  • Hangan Seppuku, Shiro Akewatashi
  • Michiyuki Tabiji no Hanamuko (Ochiudo)
  • Evening

    Kanadehon Chűshingura

  • Tepp˘ Watashi, Futatsudama
  • Kanpei Harakiri
  • Gion Ichiriki Jaya
  • Uchiiri, Okuniwa Sensui, Sumibeya
  • Casting

    Nakamura Fukusuke, Onoe Kikunosuke, Ichikawa Kamejir˘, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Nakamura Shid˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Band˘ Takesabur˘, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa En'ya, Nakamura Kikaku, Band˘ Kamesabur˘, Band˘ Kametoshi, Band˘ Shinsha, Onoe Matsuya, Band˘ Minosuke, Nakamura Mantar˘, Nakamura Kotar˘

    Comments

    A t˘shi ky˘gen production of the classic "Kanadehon Chűshingura" with a casting of young promising actors:

  • Kabuto Aratame/Shinmotsu/Ninj˘: daimy˘ lords from around the country gather for an important ceremony in the presence of Tadayoshi, the younger brother of the Sh˘gun. Under the watchful eye of the official Moron˘ (Onoe Sh˘roku), lords En'ya Hangan (Onoe Kikunosuke) and Wakasanosuke (Nakamura Shid˘) have been charged with making sure everything goes according to protocol. En'ya Hangan's wife Kaoyo (Onoe Matsuya) is asked to identify a helmet to be used in the ceremony. Moron˘ is in love with Kaoyo and tries to woo her, but Wakasanosuke stops him. In return, Moron˘ uses his position of authority to berate the young lord and Wakasanosuke decides to kill Moron˘. But the next morning at the Sh˘gun's mansion, Wakasanosuke's head retainer bribes Moron˘ to keep his master from causing an incident and although Wakasanosuke is about to attack Moron˘, the aged official groveling stops him. As a result, though, Moron˘ is frustrated and angry and vents his feelings on En'ya Hangan, especially after Hangan innocently brings him a letter in which Kaoyo refuses Moron˘'s love. Moron˘ steadily insults Hangan, who tries to ignore the pressure, but finally draws his sword and attacks. Drawing a sword in the Sh˘gun's palace is a crime punishable by death, but Moron˘ himself escapes with only a slight wound as others within the mansion hurry in to stop Hangan.
  • Hangan Seppuku/Shiro Akewatashi: emissaries from the Sh˘gun arrive at En'ya Hangan's mansion to announce that he has received the strictest penalty for his actions. He is ordered to commit ritual suicide and his household is to be disbanded. Hangan's hate for Moron˘ grows when he hears that Moron˘ has received no punishment. Hangan waits and waits for his head retainer, but he does not arrive. Finally, Hangan plunges in the blade. At that moment, his head retainer Yuranosuke (Ichikawa Somegor˘) arrives from their home province. With his last breaths, Hangan gives Yuranosuke the knife he used to commit suicide and tells him to take revenge. Now that the clan has been disbanded, Hangan's men become masterless samurai. Though some urge an immediate attack on Moron˘, Yuranosuke bids them not to do anything rash. When alone in front of the closed mansion gates, though, he secretly reveals his determination that his lord will not have died in vain.
  • Ochiudo: after the death of his lord, the retainer Kanpei (Ichikawa Kamejir˘) and his lover, the lady-in-waiting Okaru (Nakamura Fukusuke) flee to Okaru's home, a farmer's house in the country. Kanpei feels responsible for the events since he was having a romantic tryst and was not at his master's side at the crucial moment. He tries to commit suicide, but Okaru stops him and convinces him that they should go to her home as husband and wife and wait for the right moment for him to be reinstated.
  • Tepp˘ Watashi/Futatsudama/Kanpei Harakiri: Kanpei (Ichikawa Kamejir˘) lives a poor life with Okaru (Nakamura Fukusuke) at her parents' rural home. Kanpei desperately wants to take part in the vendetta against Moron˘, but must come up with the money necessary to finance his part in it. Secretly, Okaru and her family decide that the only way to raise the money is to sell her to the pleasure quarters. On a lonely highway, a highway thief named Sadakur˘ (Nakamura Shid˘) kills her father while he is on the way home from sealing the deal and the money is stolen. In a bizarre twist of events, Kanpei kills the robber while hunting on a dark night and finds the money. The fabric of the wallet, though, seems to prove that he has murdered his father-in-law. Kanpei commits ritual suicide to take responsibility, not only for the death of this father-in-law, but also for being absent when his lord needed him most.
  • Gion Ichiriki Jaya: Yuranosuke (Ichikawa Somegor˘) spends his days and nights in the pleasure quarters of Ky˘to in an effort to make Moron˘ believe he is not planning a vendetta. His acting is so good that even men in his own group believe he has given his life up to pleasure. Moron˘ is not so easily convinced, though, and has sent spies, including a former retainer of En'ya Hangan, to find Yuranosuke's true intentions. Yuranosuke finds himself tested to the limits by the spy, and is even forced to eat meat on the anniversary of Hangan's death, a strong taboo. Okaru (Nakamura Fukusuke), now a courtesan, is also at the Ichiriki Teahouse. She catches a glimpse of a letter to Yuranosuke detailing plans for the vendetta, but he sees her and offers to buy out her contract, knowing he must kill her to keep the vendetta a secret. Okaru's brother Teraoka Heiemon (Onoe Sh˘roku), a servant in the Hangan household, has also come to the teahouse and when he hears that Yuranosuke is to buy out her contract, he realizes his true intentions. Heiemon tries to convince Okaru to let him kill her as such an act may allow him to take part in the vendetta as well. Hearing that Kanpei is now dead, Okaru agrees, but observing their loyal actions, Yuranosuke spares Okaru and allows Heiemon to join the vendetta.
  • Uchiiri/Okuniwa Sensui/Shibabeya: disguised as firemen, En'ya Hangan's retainers attack Moron˘'s mansion on a snowy night. After a fierce fight, they find Moron˘ hiding in a charcoal shed and take revenge for their lord's wrongful death. Featuring Ichikawa Somegor˘ and Nakamura Kikaku in the roles of Yuranosuke and Kobayashi Heihachir˘.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 23 April 2012
    Program

    Ehon Gapp˘-ga-Tsuji

    Casting

    Kataoka Nizaemon, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Kataoka Ainosuke, Kataoka Takatar˘, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Ichikawa Sadanji, Ichikawa Omez˘, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Band˘ Shűch˘, Nakamura Baishi

    Comments

    This rare revival at the National Theatre of Tsuruya Nanboku IV's masterpiece "Ehon Gapp˘-ga-Tsuji" was initially staged in March 2012 but, as a consequence of the 2012 Great Eastern Japan Earthquake Disaster, this program was stopped from the 15th of March.

  • Ehon Gapp˘-ga-Tsuji: in March at the National Theatre, there will be a rare full-length performance of a revenge classic by Tsuruya Nanboku IV (1755~1829). First performed in 1810, "Ehon Gapp˘-ga-Tsuji" was a dramatization of a popular novel of the time about a revenge at Gapp˘-ga-Tsuji. Nanboku used his intimate knowledge of the top stars of the time and the talented up and coming stars to create this play, full of exciting action and sardonic humor. The heart of the play was Matsumoto K˘shir˘ V, the most famous actor of villain roles, lean, with a craggy, sinister face, in a double role, Daigakunosuke, a samurai who is trying to take over his clan, has stolen the clan treasures and killed everyone who has gotten in his way and Tateba no Taheiji, a villain from the bottom of society who plots together with Daigakunosuke. Instead of a revenge play as the triumph of good over evil, this play shows the exuberant rampage of the villains until finally, they are defeated at a terrible cost to the heroes. This revival stars Kataoka Nizaemon, one of the top Kansai actors of today in the double role of Daigakunosuke and Tateba no Taheiji. Kataoka Nizaemon strongly resembles Matsumoto K˘shir˘ V physically and in mood and will be the perfect actor to bring this powerful side of kabuki back to life.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Heisei Nakamuraza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 April 2012 (Shigatsu ďkabuki)
    April Grand Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Sumidagawa Gonichi no Omokage (H˘kaib˘)

    Evening

    Ogasawara S˘d˘

    Casting

    Nakamura Kanzabur˘, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Senjaku, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Kataoka Kamez˘, Nakamura Kamenoj˘, Band˘ Shingo, Sasano Takashi

    Comments

    The Heisei Nakamuraza is back in T˘ky˘ in the popular district of Asakusa. This time, it is a 7-month project (performances up to May 2012!) for this temporary theater built within the Sumida Park.

  • H˘kaib˘: a full-length performance of a comic play featuring the antics of an evil begging priest named H˘kaib˘. In this case, it is a special version of this Kabuki classic staged by modern theater director Kushida Kazuyoshi. H˘kaib˘ (Nakamura Kanzabur˘) is in love with the beautiful, young Okumi (Nakamura Senjaku) who is herself in love with Y˘suke, a servant at her father's store. Y˘suke (Nakamura Kankur˘) is actually an aristocrat searching for the lost treasure of his family. He regains possession only to have the scroll stolen by H˘kaib˘. Y˘suke accepts Okumi's love, but is also pursued by Princess Nowake (Nakamura Shichinosuke), his true fiancee. In a grim but humorous scene at a graveyard, everyone tries to get Okumi and the scroll. But H˘kaib˘ ends up killing Princess Nowake and is killed himself before he can enjoy the fruits of his villainy. The last scene, "Futa Omote Mizu ni Terutsuki", is one of the great classics of dance and is often performed separately. Y˘suke and Okumi try to run off together only to find a strange figure that looks exactly like Okumi. Y˘suke tries to find out which is the real Okumi. In fact, in a virtuoso turn for the star actor who plays this double role, the mysterious figure is made up of the combined spirits of H˘kaib˘ and Princess Nowake, each questing for love even after death. Featuring also Nakamura Hashinosuke as Jinzabur˘. Featuring also Band˘ Yajűr˘, Kataoka Kamez˘, Nakamura Kamenoj˘ and Sasano Takashi.
  • Ogasawara S˘d˘:
    (The Troubles in the Ogasawara Clan)
    This play is based on a true incident in Kyűshű in which the head retainer of a clan gained great power and tried to take over. It was dramatized in the late 19th century in the showy, theatrical style of Kamigata Kabuki. It takes the sober story of the inner workings of a samurai clan and combines them with the scheming of a sexy geisha who has become the lover of a lord, and a magical fox who takes the form of a samurai footman to repay the lord for saving his life. This play was revived in recent years to showcase both this style of Kabuki and the talents of young stars and promises to be an exciting experience of Kabuki. Featuring Nakamura Kanzabur˘ (Ogasawara T˘t˘mi-no-Kami), Nakamura Hashinosuke (Okada Ry˘suke, Hayashi Kazuma), Nakamura Kankur˘ (Inugami Hy˘bu, Koheiji), Nakamura Senjaku (Ogasawara Haito, the yakko Kikuhei (in reality the fox of Mt. My˘jin), Ry˘suke's wife Okano), Nakamura Shichinosuke (Odai-no-Kata, Koheiji's wife Ohaya) and Band˘ Yajűr˘ (Ogasawara Buzen-no-Kami).
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Kanamaruza (Konpira)
    Dates 5 ~ 22 April 2012 (Shikoku Konpira Kabuki ďshibai)
    MatinÚe

    Sh˘fudatsuki Kongen Kusazuri

    Ippon Gatana Dohy˘ Iri

    Evening

    Modori Kago Iro ni Aikata

    K˘j˘

    Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura
    (Kawatsura H˘gen Yakata)

    Casting

    Nakamura Kichiemon, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Matagor˘, Nakamura Kash˘, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Nakamura Karoku, ďtani Keiz˘, Sawamura Yoshijir˘, Nakamura Kichinosuke, Nakamura Hayato, Nakamura Yonekichi

    Comments

    28th edition of the Spring Kabuki performance Shikoku Konpira Kabuki ďshibai at the Kanamaruza on Shikoku island. Nakamura Matagor˘ III and his son Nakamura Kash˘ IV celebrate their shűmei at the Kanamaruza!

  • Kusazuri:
    (the Tug-of-War Over the Armor)
    A short dance in the oldest style of Kabuki, leisurely and full of humor. The strong Kobayashi no Asahina stops the powerful, but rash, warrior Soga no Gor˘ from rushing to a fight by pulling on the set of armor he is carrying. Starring the new Nakamura Matagor˘ and the new Nakamura Kash˘ as Kobayashi no Asahina and Soga no Gor˘.
  • Ippon Gatana Dohy˘ Iri: this is a modern play by Hasegawa Shin and shows Komagata Mohŕ (Nakamura Kichiemon), a starving, would-be sum˘ wrestler. He encounters a courtesan Otsuta (Nakamura Shibajaku), who gives him her purse and hair ornaments and makes him promise to become a champion sum˘ wrestler. In turn, she promises to go see him make his ceremonial entry into the ring. But ten years later, Mohŕ has become a gangster instead. Now a powerful fighter, he rescues Otsuta and her family. Ironically, this has become the only way that he can repay her kindness and the shameful form that his entry into the ring has taken. Featuring also Nakamura Kinnosuke, Nakamura Karoku and the new Nakamura Kash˘.
  • Modori Kago: two palanquin bearers, one from ďsaka, the other from Edo (pre-modern T˘ky˘), decide to stop and rest. As they do so, each boasts of the respective merits of his native town. Finally, the little apprentice courtesan (kamuro) they have been carrying, alights from the palanquin and joins them in their dance. Featuring Nakamura Karoku as the palanquin bearer from ďsaka (in reality Ishikawa Goemon) and Nakamura Kinnosuke as the palanquin bearer from Edo (in reality Goemon's arch-enemy Mashiba Hisayoshi). The kamuro is performed alternately by 3 young actors.
  • K˘j˘: the close relationship between the actors and the audience is shown by these stage announcements, lavish ceremonies to commemorate various important events. In this case, all the stars of the cast assemble to celebrate the shűmei of Nakamura Matagor˘ III and his son Nakamura Kash˘ IV.
  • Kawatsura H˘gen Yakata: the epic "Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees" ("Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura") features many characters around the famous general Yoshitsune, but none more memorable than a magic fox that takes the guise of Tadanobu, one of Yoshitsune's most trusted retainers. The fox wants to get close to a precious drum that Yoshitsune has made from the skins of his fox parents. In this excerpt from the longer play, the fox reveals his true identity with a series of spectacular stage tricks and Yoshitsune is moved to grant him the drum. Starring the new Nakamura Matagor˘ as the fox Tadanobu. Also featuring Nakamura Shibajaku and Nakamura Kichiemon as Shizuka Gozen and Minamoto no Yoshitsune. Featuring also the new Nakamura Kash˘ as Yoshitsune's retainer Kamei no Rokur˘.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Minamiza (Ky˘to)
    Dates 18 ~ 26 April 2012 (Kabuki Kansh˘ Ky˘shitsu)
    Kabuki Appreciation Class
    Program

    Renjishi

    Casting

    Kamimura Kichiya, Kamimura Kichitar˘

    Comments

    20th edition of a pedagogical show in Ky˘to combining explanation for beginners (done by the professional storyteller Katsura Kujaku) and the dance-drama "Renjishi".

  • Renjishi: 2 entertainers dance a tale of the legendary shishi or lion-like spirits that live at the foot of a holy Buddhist mountain. There is a comic interlude with 2 Buddhist pilgrims. Then, the shishi themselves appear and perform their dance with wild shaking of their long manes. The dance shows a parent shishi forcing his cub to undergo harsh training in order to grow up strong. This theme is often associated with the training a parent actor gives his son. This performance features Kamimura Kichiya in the role of the parent shishi and Kamimura Kichitar˘ in the role of the cub.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

     
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