DECEMBER 2009

2 shows in Ky˘to (Minamiza) and 3 in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, National Theatre)!

Minamiza (Ky˘to)
Dates 30 November ~ 26 December 2009 (Kichirei Kaomise K˘gy˘ Kabuki)
MatinÚe

Sasaki Takatsuna

Kiichi H˘gen Sanryaku no Maki
(Ichij˘ ďkura Monogatari)

Omatsuri

Koi Bikyaku Yamato ďrai (Fűin Giri)

Evening

Tenmangű Natane no Gokű
(Shihei no Nana Warai)

Tsuchi Gumo

Sukeroku Kuruwa no Hatsuzakura

Shakky˘

Casting

Kataoka Nizaemon, Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Sakata T˘jűr˘, Onoe Kikugor˘, Nakamura Kanjaku, Nakamura Baigyoku, Kataoka Gat˘, Onoe Kikunosuke Ichikawa Danz˘, Ichikawa Sadanji, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Kataoka Ainosuke, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Nakamura T˘z˘, Band˘ Takesabur˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Kawarazaki Gonjűr˘, Nakamura Kikaku, Ichikawa Omez˘, Band˘ Shinsha, Nakamura Baigyoku, Band˘ Kamesabur˘, Band˘ Kametoshi

Comments

  • Sasaki Takatsuna: This is a modern play by Okamoto Kid˘ (1872 - 1939) who is famous for inventing the Edo Period style detective story. Sasaki Takatsuna shows one of the top warriors in the battles that established the Kamakura shogunate and how he gradually becomes disillusioned with the world of lies and political intrigue. Starring Nakamura Baigyoku in the role of Takatsuna.
  • Ichij˘ ďkura Monogatari: the world is ruled by Taira no Kiyomori, the leader of the Heike clan. Tokiwa Gozen, the widow of the head of the defeated Genji clan and mother of Yoritomo and Yoshitsune, the future leaders of the clan, has become the mistress of the dictator Kiyomori, then the wife of Lord ďkura, a seemingly simple-minded fool who spends all his time watching pretty women dance. Outraged members of the Genji clan sneak into Lord ďkura's mansion only to discover that Tokiwa Gozen's immorality and Lord ďkura's idiocy are a guise, the only way to survive in a world ruled by the enemy. This performance stars Onoe Kikugor˘ as Lord ďkura, Nakamura Tokiz˘ as Tokiwa Gozen, Onoe Sh˘roku as Yoshioka Kijir˘, Onoe Kikunosuke as Yoshioka's wife Oky˘ and Ichikawa Danz˘ as Yatsurugi Kageyu.
  • Omatsuri: Kataoka Nizaemon as a gallant fireman boss at a festival telling a rueful tale of failure in love and showing the vigorous work songs of firefighters.
  • Fűin Giri:
    (Breaking the Seals)
    In the pleasure quarters, the most important possessions were money and reputation. In danger of losing his lover, the courtesan Umegawa, the money courier Kameya Chűbŕ breaks the seals on a package of money entrusted to him after being taunted by a rival, even though the use of such money is punishable by death. Featuring the top stars in Kabuki, Sakata T˘jűr˘ as Kameya Chűbŕ, Kataoka Hidetar˘ as Umegawa, Kataoka Nizaemon as Chűbŕ's treacherous friend Tanbaya Hachiemon, Band˘ Tamasabur˘ (!) as Oen, the proprietress of the teahouse, and Ichikawa Sadanji as Tsuchiya Jiemon.
  • Shihei no Nana Warai:
    (Shihei's Seven Laughs)
    The Heian period court minister Sugawara no Michizane is famous for being exiled to Kyushu by a political rival. He died angry and vengeful and was said to be transformed into a thunder god. His angry spirit was placated by making him a god and now Michizane is worshipped as Tenjin, the god of learning. This is the subject of one of the most famous plays of Bunraku and Kabuki ("Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami") and Michizane's political rival, Fujiwara no Shihei, is always depicted as a larger-than-life villain, an evil courtier with magical powers. This play, a rarely performed classic of the Kansai style of Kabuki, and reverses the story totally. Michizane (Band˘ Hikosabur˘) is the victim of slander and Shihei (Kataoka Gat˘) does his best to try to mend the situation, but unfortunately Michizane is exiled. But after Michizane leaves, Shihei shows his true self and in a famous scene, laughs triumphantly. Shihei engineered Michizane's exile himself.
  • Tsuchi Gumo: a dance play adapted from the classical theatre. The samurai Lord Minamoto Raik˘ is famous in legend for ridding Ky˘to of demons. While Raik˘ is confined to bed with illness, a priest (Onoe Kikugor˘) from a prominent temple comes to pray for his health. In fact, the priest is actually the spirit of the earth spider which has caused Raik˘'s illness in the first place and hopes to destroy him. The spider's plan to kill Raik˘ is defeated by his retainers (the famous shitenn˘) in an exciting fight. Featuring Nakamura Tokiz˘ as Raik˘. Featuring also Nakamura Kanjaku, Nakamura Baigyoku, Kataoka Ainosuke, Onoe Kikunosuke, Ichikawa Danz˘ and Onoe Sh˘roku.
  • Sukeroku: the dandy Sukeroku is the most famous patron of the Yoshiwara pleasure quarters. But his reputation as the lover of Agemaki, the highest ranking courtesan in the quarter is matched by that of his tendency to pick fights. In fact, Sukeroku is the samurai Soga no Gor˘ in disguise, and he uses the fights to find a lost heirloom sword. His search takes place in the colorful atmosphere of the Yoshiwara where processions of beautiful courtesans compete with the splendor of cherry blossoms in full bloom. All the top stars in Kabuki appear in a procession of beautiful, exciting and amusing roles. Starring Kataoka Nizaemon and Band˘ Tamasabur˘ as Hanakawado Sukeroku and Miuraya Agemaki. Featuring also Sakata T˘jűr˘, Kataoka Gat˘, Nakamura Kanjaku, Ichikawa Sadanji, Kataoka Ainosuke, Onoe Kikunosuke and Onoe Sh˘roku.
  • Shakky˘:
    (The Stone Bridge)
    There are many plays about shishi or lion spirits in the Asian tradition, but the shishi is not actually a lion, it is a mythical animal that guards the stone bridge (Shakky˘) leading to the Buddhist paradise of Monju, the god of wisdom. Featuring Nakamura Kanjaku and Kataoka Ainosuke in the roles of the shishi.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 December 2009 (Jűnigatsu ďkabuki)
    Kabukiza Sayonara K˘en
    MatinÚe

    Ayatsuri Sanbas˘

    Shinpan Utazaimon (Nozaki-mura)

    Migawari Zazen

    ďedo Ribingu Deddo

    Evening

    Futatsu Ch˘ch˘ Kuruwa Nikki (Hikimado)

    Yuki Keisei

    Noda-ban Nezumi Koz˘

    Casting

    Nakamura Kanzabur˘, Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Senjaku, Nakamura Fukusuke, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Kataoka Takatar˘, Nakamura Shid˘, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Nakamura Kantar˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Kotar˘, Nakamura Muneo, Nakamura Kunio, Nakamura Yoshio

    Comments

    12th of the 16 Kabukiza Sayonara K˘en, the Kabukiza Farewell Performances, which will be held up to April 2010.

  • Ayatsuri Sanbas˘:
    (The Puppet Sanbas˘)
    The Sanbas˘ is part of the ritual play "Okina", a prayer for prosperity and in Kabuki the vigorous Sanbas˘ dance is often performed separately. To make the dance especially auspicious, the old man Okina and attendant Senzai appear as well. In Kabuki, the Sanbas˘ dance appears in all kinds of versions. In this particular version, the Sanbas˘ is actually a giant marionette (Nakamura Kantar˘), dancing lightly until his antics tangle his strings, creating problems for his puppeteer. Featuring also Nakamura Shid˘ in the role of Okina.
  • Nozaki-mura: a farm girl Omitsu (Nakamura Fukusuke) is busy planning her marriage to Hisamatsu (Nakamura Hashinosuke) who has just returned to the country after leaving his post in the city in disgrace. Suddenly Osome (Kataoka Takatar˘) appears. She is the daughter of the rich merchant Hisamatsu served and their love affair was the cause of his disgrace. Despite the best efforts of Hisamatsu's father Kyűsaku (Band˘ Yajűr˘), the course of true love cannot be changed. Omitsu decides to sacrifice her own love and to become a nun to save the young couple who would rather die than be separated. All four of the main actors are Living National Treasures and this act shows mature Kabuki acting at its finest.
  • Migawari Zazen: a dance play adopted from a classical ky˘gen farce. A man (Nakamura Kanzabur˘) wants nothing more than to visit his lover Hanako, but he has one important problem, his homely and overbearing wife (Band˘ Mitsugor˘). He creates a scheme saying that he will be practicing Zen meditation all night and has his servant take his place while he visits Hanako. He returns, giddy from a night of pleasure and tells his story to his servant in dance, unaware that his wife has discovered his deception and has taken his servant's place.
  • ďedo Ribingu Deddo:
    (ďedo and the Living Dead)
    Kud˘ Kankur˘ is famous as a playwright and TV scenario writer and also as actor and director. This month, he makes his first attempt at Kabuki in a play that mixes Kabuki, musicals and horror to show an attack of zombies on Edo. This is combined with a very unusual love story. These zombies are people transformed into the living dead with the pickling fluid used to create the extremely odorous dried fish called kusaya. At first the attack of zombies seems to be a menace, but they come to be a welcome part of society as they take over the dirty and dangerous jobs that ordinary humans are not willing to do. Featuring Nakamura Kanzabur˘, Nakamura Senjaku, Nakamura Shichinosuke and Ichikawa Somegor˘.
  • Hikimado: originally written for the puppet theater, this play shows a tragedy of commoners caught between their duty and their feelings toward their loved ones. A sum˘ wrestler named Nuregami Ch˘gor˘ (Nakamura Hashinosuke) has killed a man and takes refuge at the home of his mother. Unfortunately, her son (Band˘ Mitsugor˘) has been ordered to arrest him. All of these complicated conflicts are symbolized by the lightness and darkness created by the humble skylight (hikimado in Japanese) as a rope is pulled to move a wooden shutter. Featuring also Nakamura Senjaku in the role of Ohaya.
  • Yuki Keisei:
    (The Snow Courtesan)
    The roles of top-ranking courtesans were considered most difficult for onnagata female role specialists since they had to create the sense of delicate femininity even though they were men. There are many dances featuring a keisei or top-ranking courtesan. They were very cultured and it took fabulous amounts of money to engage them for the evening. This particular dance shows a beautiful courtesan (Living National Treasure Nakamura Shikan) against a snowy landscape and sets off her romantic image with various figures from the pleasure quarters, some actually the spirits of the snow.
  • Nezumi Koz˘: Noda Hideki is one of the most noted figures in the contemporary Japanese theater and is famous for his fast-paced comic plays full of word plays. He has collaborated with Nakamura Kanzabur˘ several times to create new Noda-style (Noda-ban in Japanese) Kabuki plays and this is an encore performance of his second Kabuki creation. Nezumi Koz˘ was famous as a thief who crept over the tile roofs of Edo to break into the storehouses of the wealthy and redistributed the gold coins to the poor. This version of the story features a stingy coffin maker who through chance becomes a thief like Nezumi Koz˘ and is forced to toss gold coins from the sky even though he would rather die than give anyone anything for free. Featuring Nakamura Kanzabur˘, Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Nakamura Senjaku, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Nakamura Fukusuke, Kataoka Takatar˘, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke and Nakamura Kantar˘.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 26 December 2009
    Program

    Yoritomo no Shi

    Ikkyű Zenji

    Shuzenji Monogatari

    Casting

    Nakamura Kichiemon, Nakamura Tomijűr˘, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Kaishun, Ichikawa Danshir˘, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Kash˘

    Comments

  • Yoritomo no Shi: a play by Mayama Seika first presented in 1932. Minamoto no Yoritomo created a strong warrior government, but died very soon, leaving things to his son Yoriie (Nakamura Kichiemon). But Yoriie feels that there is something suspicious about his fatherĺs death and is in torment because even though he is supposed to be the most powerful man in the land, no one will tell him anything. It ends with a confrontation with his mother H˘j˘ Masako (Nakamura Tomijűr˘), who is ready to kill her own son rather than let the truth out that could destroy their rule. She declares that a man has only one short life, but the clan must survive to the end of time.
  • Ikkyű Zenji: this dance drama is written by Tsubouchi Sh˘y˘ who is also known as a scholar of English literature and based on a legend that priest Ikkyű and courtesan Jigokudayű had dialogue. Priest Ikkyű in grey robe and gorgeous-looking Jigokudayű talk wittily and amorously about dream and the truth in this world. Starring National Living Treasure Nakamura Tomijűr˘ as priest Ikkyű and Nakamura Kaishun as Jigokudayű.
  • Shuzenji Monogatari: a mask carver (Nakamura Kichiemon) has been ordered to make a portrait of Yoriie (Nakamura Kinnosuke), the second Sh˘gun, but despairs of his artistic powers because no matter how many times he tries, the mask always shows the signs of death. But finally he learns that the mask holds the secrets of the tragic fate of Yoriie and his own daughter. This modern play by Okamoto Kid˘ is probably the greatest classic of New Kabuki (Shinkabuki), a perfect blend of the technique of old Kabuki and modern ideas of drama.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

     
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