DECEMBER 2010

2 shows in Ky˘to (Minamiza), 2 in T˘ky˘ (Nissay Theatre, National Theatre) and 1 in Kanazawa (Kagekiza)!

Minamiza (Ky˘to)
Dates 30 November ~ 26 December 2010 (Kichirei Kaomise K˘gy˘ Kabuki)
MatinÚe

Hagoromo

Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami (Terakoya)

Okuni Kabuki Yume no Hanayagi

Igagoe D˘chű Sugoroku (Numazu)

Evening

Uir˘ Uri

Kanadehon Chűshingura
(Gion Ichiriki Jaya)

Shinjű Ten no Amijima (Kawash˘)

Toribeyama Shinjű

Echigo Jishi

Casting

Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Kichiemon, Kataoka Nizaemon, Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Kataoka Gat˘, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Kanjaku, Nakamura Senjaku, Kataoka Ainosuke, Nakamura Kaishun, Ichikawa Danshir˘, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Kataoka Takatar˘, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Kash˘, Kataoka Shinnosuke, Nakamura Matsue

Comments

  • Hagoromo: the legend of the angel who came to earth to bathe and then had her heavenly feathered robe stolen by a fisherman is famous in all forms of Japanese theater. This month features an elegant dance version of the story with Kataoka Ainosuke as the fisherman and Kataoka Takatar˘ as the angel.
  • Terakoya: Genz˘ and his wife Tonami run a small school and are protecting Kan Sh˘j˘'s son and heir, saying that he is their son. However, word has gotten out Kan Sh˘j˘'s son is there and Genz˘ has been ordered to behead him. Moreover, Matsu˘maru is to come to inspect the head. Their only alternative is to kill one of the other students as a substitute, but all of the students are farmer's children who could never pass for the son of a court aristocrat. However, a new boy arrives that day and Genz˘ makes the terrible decision to kill him in the place of his lord. As it turns out, Matsu˘maru has sent his own son to be sacrificed, because of his family's long loyalty to Kan Sh˘j˘. But he must face the most terrible situation for a father, inspecting the head of his own son and lying when he says that it is the genuine head of the son of Kan Sh˘j˘. Finally Matsu˘maru reveals his true feelings to Genz˘ and he and his wife Chiyo mourn their dead son. Starring Nakamura Kichiemon as Matsu˘maru, Nakamura Baigyoku as Genz˘, Nakamura Kaishun as Chiyo and Nakamura Shibajaku as Tonami. Featuring also Ichikawa Danshir˘, Nakamura Senjaku and Nakamura Tanetar˘.
  • Okuni Kabuki: Kabuki began with a woman, with the dances of Izumo no Okuni, who came to Ky˘to claiming that she was collecting funds for the Izumo shrine and whose lively dances and colorful costumes became a hit. In time, this would become the origin of Kabuki dance, and in turn, Kabuki plays. Little is known about Okuni, but there are some pictures and many legends, this month dramatized as a graceful dance. Starring Band˘ Tamasabur˘ and Kataoka Nizaemon as Okuni and Nagoya Sanza. Featuring also Nakamura Kanjaku, Kataoka Ainosuke, Ichikawa Emiya, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Shun'en and Kamimura Kichiya.
  • Numazu: a dramatization of one of the most famous historical vendattas of the Edo period. "Numazu" is one act that tells of the sacrifices of those not directly involved in the vendetta itself but members of the same family who are indebted to the two opposing sides. The kimono merchant Jűbŕ (Kataoka Nizaemon) meets a porter Heisaku (Kataoka Gat˘) as he travels west on business. They find that not only are they long-separated father and son, but that they also lie on opposite sides of the vendetta. Their loyalties prevent them from openly acknowledging their relationship. Heisaku sacrifices his life to get information from his son essential to his side's cause. Featuring Kataoka Hidetar˘ in the role of Heisaku's daughter Oyone.
  • Uir˘ Uri: there are many plays based on the revenge by the Soga brothers on Kud˘ Suketsune, the man that arranged to have their father killed. In this particular play, this dramatic fight is transformed into light fantasy by showing one of the Soga brothers disguised as a peddler of Uir˘, a medicine that makes it possible to speak quickly and elegantly. The highlight of the play is a long speech full of puns and wordplays. Starring Kataoka Ainosuke as the peddler.
  • Gion Ichiriki Jaya: "Chűshingura" is one of the most popular plays in the theatre and shows a true event when forty-seven masterless samurai avenged the death of their lord by killing his enemy. The seventh act is one of the most popular and shows the leader of the vendetta Yuranosuke as he is hiding his intention to avenge his lordĺs death by pretending to be only interested in pleasure, but also encountering key figures on his side and the side of the enemy. Yuranosuke (Nakamura Kichiemon) spends his days and nights in the pleasure quarters of Ky˘to in an effort to make their lordĺs enemy, 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 their late lord, En'ya Hangan, to find Yuranosuke's true intentions. Okaru (Band˘ Tamasabur˘), the wife of one of the retainers is now a courtesan at the Ichiriki Teahouse, unaware that her husband is dead. Okaru's brother Heiemon (Kataoka Nizaemon), a servant in the Hangan household, has also come to the teahouse and the interaction of these characters becomes a matter of life and death and ends with Yuranosuke preparing to lead the vendetta.
  • Kawash˘: this late love suicide play by Chikamatsu Monzaemon is considered by many to be his masterpiece. The paper seller Jihŕ (Sakata T˘jűr˘) is in love with the courtesan Koharu (Nakamura Senjaku) and all those around them are afraid that they will commit love suicide. Jihŕĺs wife Osan urgently pleads with Koharu to pretend that she does not love Jihŕ any more, in order to save his life. In the first and most famous scene in the Kawash˘ teahouse, Jihŕĺs brother Magoemon (Ichikawa Danshir˘) masquerades as a samurai to find out Koharuĺs true feelings. Jihŕ listens in from the outside and is astonished to hear her say that she does not want to commit love suicide. In a rage, Jihŕ breaks off all relations with her, while Magoemon is moved to learn that she has done this out of consideration for Osanĺs feelings. This play is a classic example of the ďsaka style of acting.
  • Toribeyama Shinjű:
    (The Love Suicides at Toribeyama)
    This play by 20th century playwright Okamoto Kid˘ mixes old and new Kabuki styles. The samurai Hankur˘ (Nakamura Baigyoku) is in love with the courtesan Osome (Nakamura Shibajaku). Visiting her one night in the pleasure quarters of Ky˘to, he gets into a drunken quarrel and ends up killing a man in a fight. Knowing that execution awaits him, the two lovers decide to die together instead. Hankur˘ and Osome travel the road to death in new kimono that ironically were made for them to celebrate the New Year together.
  • Echigo Jishi: one of the most popular dances in the Kabuki repertory, this shows a traveling entertainer (Nakamura Kanjaku) that performed lion dances, with an adult playing the music and a child doing acrobatics like a little lion. The dance shows the feelings of the adult performer and his feelings for his home in the Echigo region and finally ends with the famous white cloth of the area as he waves long strips of cloth in a variety of different patterns.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide website
    Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website for "Okuni Kabuki"

    Nissay Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 25 December 2010 (Jűnigatsu ďkabuki)
    December Grand Kabuki
    Program

    Sesshű Gapp˘-ga-Tsuji
    t˘shi ky˘gen production including the famous "Gapp˘" act

    Dattan

    Casting

    Onoe Kikugor˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Ichikawa Danz˘, Nakamura T˘z˘, Onoe Sh˘roku

    Comments

  • Dattan: this is an evocative dance, that takes its name from a Buddhist rite held every March at T˘daiji Temple in Nara. The story is about a monk yearning for a woman he left behind. Featuring Nakamura Tokiz˘ and Onoe Sh˘roku.
  • Sesshű Gapp˘-ga-Tsuji: first performed as a puppet play in 1773, this play shows the searing passion of a stepmother for her son, a story that began with a legend in India and became the great classic of French theater, "Phedre" by Racine and took the form of the love of Tamate Gozen (Onoe Kikunosuke) for her stepson in this play. In the puppet play, this forbidden desire is explained in the typical manner of a history play, as a way to reconcile conflicting duties. But nevertheless, the scandalous theme has made the play often banned, even as the climactic scene has become one of the great classics of both kabuki and Bunraku puppet theater. Tamate Gozen has become the second wife of a great lord, Takayasu Saemon (Ichikawa Danz˘). He has two sons, Shuntokumaru and Jir˘maru. Although Shuntokumaru is designated heir to the clan, Jir˘maru plots to seize power instead. Suddenly Tamate Gozen confesses her love for Shuntokumaru. He flees the mansion now disfigured by a strange illness. Eventually all the parties to the drama come to the house of Tamate Gozen's father, a priest named Gapp˘ (Onoe Kikugor˘), where Shuntokumaru has taken refuge. In this tense scene, Tamate Gozen confesses her passion, Gapp˘ is forced to kill his daughter and finally, all the secrets are revealed in the surprising conclusion. Featuring also Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura T˘z˘ and Onoe Sh˘roku in the roles of Habikino, Gapp˘'s wife Otoku and the yakko Irihei.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 26 December 2010
    Program

    Kanadehon Chűshingura

  • Ninj˘
  • Hangan Seppuku, Shiro Akewatashi
  • Michiyuki Tabiji no Hanamuko (Ochiudo)
  • Gion Ichiriki Jaya
  • Uramon Uchiiri, Okuniwa Sensui, Sumibeya, Hikiage
  • Casting

    Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Fukusuke, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Ichikawa Sadanji, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Unosuke, Ichimura Kakitsu, Band˘ Shűch˘, ďtani Tomoemon, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Ichikawa Omez˘, Nakamura Kikaku, Sawamura S˘nosuke, Nakamura Kotar˘, Matsumoto Kingo, ďtani Keiz˘, Sawamura Yoshijir˘

    Comments

  • Kanadehon Chűshingura: on March 14, 1701, for reasons unknown, Asano Takumi-no-Kami, a young samurai lord, attacked Kira K˘zuke-no-suke, a high shogunal official, during a ceremony at the Sh˘gunĺs palace. The Sh˘gun was furious and Asano was forced to commit ritual suicide that very day and his domain confiscated. On December 15, 1702, forty-seven of Asanoĺs retainers avenged his death by attacking and killing Kira and immediately became heroes showing that even after a century of peace, the samurai value of loyalty was not yet dead. In 1748, the puppet play "Kanadehon Chűshingura" appeared and since that time has been the single most popular play in all Japanese theatre. The names of the original characters were changed due to censorship and all kinds of incidents created, but still, as the history of the original event and the portrait of the suffering of the people around the event, it provides vivid human drama that is alive and vibrant even today. Commemorating the event, it is common to give performances in December. The first section of this performance shows the intrigues and rivalries that finally drive Lord En'ya Hangan (Ichikawa Somegor˘) to attack K˘ no Moron˘ (Matsumoto K˘shir˘) in the Sh˘gunĺs palace and features the powerful scene of En'ya Hanganĺs ritual suicide as En'ya Hangan waits anxiously for his chief retainer Yuranosuke (Matsumoto K˘shir˘) to arrive. After his death Yuranosuke and the others are forced to leave the mansion forever. They plan quietly for the day when they can avenge the bitter death of their master. A dance travel scene shows the story of Okaru (Nakamura Fukusuke) and Kanpei (Ichikawa Somegor˘) contrasting the sadness of the events with the colorful view of the T˘kaid˘ highway with Mt. Fuji in the background with the bright flowers of early spring. Okaru is a lady-in-waiting to Lady Kaoyo (Nakamura Fukusuke), En'ya Hanganĺs wife and Kanpei is a young samurai in his service. Their romance led to Kanpei not being there for his lord at the crucial time and Kanpei wants to die. Okaru saves his life, but this leads to even greater tragedy. The famous seventh act is a scene that sets off the tragic drama with the color and spectacle of the pleasure quarters, Yuranosuke, the leader of the vendetta pretends to be lost in pleasure and to have abandoned all thought of revenge, but there he encounters Okaru as a courtesan and a wide variety of other characters, including Okaru's brother Teraoka Heiemon (Ichikawa Somegor˘), there to probe his true intentions. The production ends with an exciting fight scene showing the attack of the loyal retainers on Moron˘ĺs mansion.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Kagekiza (Kanazawa)
    Dates 2 ~ 3 December 2010 (Kanazawa ďkabuki)
    Kanazawa Grand Kabuki
    Program

    B˘ Shibari

    Adayume

    Casting

    Nakamura Kanzabur˘, Nakamura Kantar˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Kataoka Kamez˘

    Comments

  • B˘ Shibari:
    (Tied to a Pole)
    A dance play based on a classical Ky˘gen farce. A master (Band˘ Yajűr˘) is irritated that his two servants always drink his wine while he is out. He plots with his servant Tar˘kaja (Kataoka Kamez˘) to trick the other servant Jir˘kaja (Nakamura Kantar˘) into demonstrating his skill at stick fighting, tying him to the stick. The master then ties up Tar˘kaja as well. But he is outsmarted when the two still manage to drink his wine while tied up. Their happy singing and dancing while tied up is a dazzling display of virtuoso dancing and star two of the finest young dancers in Kabuki.
  • Adayume:
    (A False Dream)
    Nakamura Kanzabur˘ plays a badger in love with the beautiful courtesan Miyuki (Nakamura Shichinosuke) in the Shimabara pleasure quarters in Ky˘to. In order to woo her, the badger transforms into the dance teacher (Nakamura Kantar˘) that Miyuki loves, in a role originally created for Nakamura Kanzabur˘'s father Nakamura Kanzabur˘ XVII.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide website
    Sasaguchi Rei for "Adayume"

     
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