DECEMBER 2012

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

Minamiza (Ky˘to)
Dates 30 November ~ 26 December 2012 (Kichirei Kaomise K˘gy˘)
Annual Festive Face-Showing Performances
MatinÚe

Sasaki Takatsuna

Kajiwara Heiz˘ Homare no Ishikiri
(Ishikiri Kajiwara)

Kotobuki Soga no Taimen

Kuruwa Bunsh˘ (Yoshidaya)

Evening

Kanadehon Chűshingura

  • Tepp˘ Watashi, Futatsudama
  • Kanpei Harakiri
  • K˘j˘

    Funa Benkei

    Sekitori Senry˘ Nobori

    Casting

    Sakata T˘jűr˘, Kataoka Nizaemon, Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Kataoka Gat˘, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Kanjaku, Nakamura Senjaku, Kataoka Ainosuke, Kataoka Takatar˘, Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Ichikawa Sadanji, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Band˘ Takesabur˘, Kamimura Kichiya, Ichimura Kakitsu, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Ichikawa Omez˘, Kataoka Shinnosuke, Band˘ Shinsha, Band˘ Shingo, Nakamura Kazutar˘

    Comments

    Nakamura Kankur˘ VI celebrates his shűmei in Ky˘to at the Minamiza!

  • 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 Kataoka Gat˘ in the role of Takatsuna. Featuring also Kataoka Ainosuke, Kataoka Takatar˘ and Band˘ Yajűr˘.
  • Ishikiri Kajiwara: the Heike general Kajiwara (Ichikawa Danjűr˘; Nakamura Kanjaku from the 18th of December) is asked to test the sharpness of a sword by slicing two live human beings in half. He deliberately makes the sword fail the test to keep the sword, a priceless heirloom belonging to the enemy Genji clan, from falling into the hands of his Taira clan. A miracle has convinced Kajiwara to change sides. Kajiwara finally demonstrates the true power of the sword by cutting a large stone basin in two. Featuring also Ichikawa Sadanji, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Kataoka Ichiz˘ and Band˘ Yajűr˘.
  • Soga no Taimen: this is one of the oldest and most classical of all Kabuki plays. In the Edo period, every January, plays appeared about the vendetta carried out by the Soga brothers Jűr˘ and Gor˘ after eighteen years of hardship. In "Soga no Taimen" the brothers confront Kud˘ Suketsune, the man responsible for their father's death. More ceremony than play, it features each of the important Kabuki character types, including the bombastic aragoto style of Gor˘ and the soft wagoto style of Jűr˘. This month features a cast headed by Kataoka Nizaemon as Kud˘ and some of the most popular young stars in Kabuki with the new Nakamura Kankur˘ as Gor˘ and Nakamura Tokiz˘ as Jűr˘.
  • Yoshidaya: the roots of this play go back to the earliest days of Kabuki. Izaemon, the son of a wealthy family, has been disowned for loving a courtesan and now has nothing but a paper kimono. This role is a classic example of the wagoto or soft style of acting that is one of the representative acting styles of the Kansai region. Sakata T˘jűr˘ stars as Izaemon, a role that is a specialty of his family's Kansai acting style. Featuring Nakamura Senjaku as his lover, the courtesan ďgiya Yűgiri (Izaemon's lover), Band˘ Yajűr˘ and Kamimura Kichiya as the proprietor and proprietress of the Yoshidaya teahouse.
  • Tepp˘ Watashi/Futatsudama/Kanpei Harakiri: this section of the classic "Kanadehon Chűshingura" is about Hayano Kanpei (Kataoka Nizaemon) and his wife Okaru (Nakamura Tokiz˘). Kanpei survives as a hunter and is desperate for the money that will allow him to become a samurai again. He encounters two former retainers of Lord En'ya Hangan who offer to allow him to participate in a vendetta to avenge Lord En'ya Hangan's death by attacking K˘ no Moron˘. Unknown to him, though, Okaru's family has decided to raise the memory by selling her into prostitution as a courtesan in the Gion district of Ky˘to. Okaru's father travels on a dark mountain road, eager to bring the first half of the money to Kanpei. But he is attacked and robbed by Sadakur˘ (Nakamura Hashinosuke), also a former retainer of Lord En'ya Hangan who has gone bad and become a thief. At this point, Kanpei aims and fires at s wild boar and instead kills Sadakur˘. He finds the purse with all the money and, thinking that is the gift of heaven, rushes home. At home, the brothel keeper is already there to collect Okaru and Kanpei wants to refuse to let her go, until he realizes where the money came from and believes that he killed Okaru's father by mistake. He urges Okaru to go to the pleasure quarters, not wanting her to know what has happened. In one of the dramatic highlights of the play, Kanpei commits suicide to atone for his multiple failures in duty.
  • 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 Kankur˘ VI at the Minamiza.
  • Funa Benkei: although he won a war against the enemy Heike clan, the young general Yoshitsune (Sakata T˘jűr˘) has gained the disfavor of his brother, the Sh˘gun, and tries to flee to Kyűshű by boat. Before he sets sail, he must say farewell to his lover Shizuka (the new Nakamura Kankur˘), who performs a dance expressing her grief at their separation. Once the boat sets sail, the spirit of the great Heike general Tomomori (the new Nakamura Kankur˘), killed by Yoshitsune in battle at sea, appears and attacks to take revenge for the destruction of his clan. They are only saved by the prayers of Yoshitsune's companion, the warrior-priest Benkei (Ichikawa Danjűr˘; Nakamura Hashinosuke from the 18th of December). The roles of both Shizuka and Tomomori are played by the same actor.
  • Senry˘ Nobori: The sum˘tori Inagawa (Nakamura Kanjaku) has promised to give 200 ry˘ to the son of one of his major supporters. However, the only way he can fulfill this obligation is to throw his upcoming match against his rival Tetsugadake (Nakamura Hashinosuke) but he is reluctant to cheat. He doesn't tell his wife Otowa (Kataoka Takatar˘) about this, but she happened to overhear him making the promise, so she knows. As Inagawa tries to decide what to do in the match with Tetsugadake, he is called to go to the arena. Just before the match starts, Inagawa is told that an anonymous source has donated 200 ry˘. His obligation satisfied, he can compete honestly. The match is hard-fought. Finally, Inagawa wins. But afterwards, he is horrified to discover that the 200 ry˘ has come from ... his wife, who had sold herself to a brothel in order to raise the money.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 25 December 2012
    Program

    Kiichi H˘gen Sanryaku no Maki

  • Rokuhara Kiyomori Yakata
  • Kikubatake
  • Ichij˘ ďkura Monogatari
  • Casting

    Nakamura Kichiemon, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Nakamura T˘z˘, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Matagor˘, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Nakamura Matsue, Nakamura Kash˘, Sawamura Yoshijir˘, Nakamura Utae, ďtani Keiz˘, ďtani Hiromatsu, Nakamura Hayato, Nakamura Yonekichi, Nakamura Tanenosuke

    Comments

    Revival in four acts of the classic "Kiichi H˘gen Sanryaku no Maki". The first act "Rokuhara Kiyomori Yakata" was staged for the last time in October 1969!

  • Kiichi H˘gen Sanryaku no Maki: this great classic jidaimono history play shows the struggles of the Genji clan in the days when the rival Heike clan, under its leader Kiyomori (Nakamura Karoku), was all powerful. It focuses on three brothers who all, openly or secretly, support the Genji. It begins with the story of the mysterious old man and strategist Yoshioka Kiichi (Nakamura Kichiemon). The next act is the famous "Kikubatake" (Chrysanthemum Garden) scene. In a garden of brilliant yellow and white chrysanthemums, there is Kiichi, an elderly strategist working for the dictator Kiyomori, his beautiful daughter Minazuru (Nakamura Shibajaku) and two footmen, the elegant young Toraz˘ (Nakamura Baigyoku) and the powerful Chienai (Nakamura Matagor˘), in reality Yoshioka Kisanta. But in fact, Toraz˘ is Ushiwakamaru (the future young general Yoshitsune) from the enemy side here to steal Kiichiĺs secrets of strategy. Chienai is his retainer. But Kiichi has realized why they are there and also knows that Chienai is actually his youngest brother. At the same time, Minazuru has fallen deeply in love with Toraz˘, who is actually Yoshitsune in disguise. We see Kiichi and his complex relations to Yoshitsune, disguised as his retainer. Kiichi seems to be the enemy of the young warrior Yoshitsune, but in fact, is secretly teaching him fighting disguised as a tengű goblin. In the third act the Genji retainer Yoshioka Kijir˘ (Nakamura Baigyoku), Kiichiĺs younger brother, plans with his wife Oky˘ (Nakamura T˘z˘) to enter the ďkura mansion and discover the true intentions of Tokiwa Gozen (Nakamura Kaishun), the widow of the late leader of their clan. They are shocked to find that although they had believed that Tokiwa had given up on her clan's struggle against the enemy Heike, in fact, she secretly prays daily for their downfall, by shooting arrows at an image of the Heike leader. Also, though her current husband, the aristocrat Ichij˘ ďkura Naganari (Nakamura Kichiemon), seems to be nothing more than a fool who spends his days dancing, it is actually an elaborate disguise. In days where one's alliances could mean death, ďkura uses his disguise to survive in a turbulent political world. Featuring also Sawamura Yoshijir˘, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Nakamura Kash˘ and Ichikawa Komaz˘ in the roles of Yatsurugi Kageyu, Taira no Shigemori, Kasahara Tankai and Kageyu's wife Naruse.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Shinbashi Enbuj˘ (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 1 ~ 25 December 2012 (Jűnigatsu ďkabuki)
    December Grand Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Gohiiki Kanjinch˘

  • Shibaraku
  • Koi no Sekifuda
  • Imoarai Kanjinch˘
  • Evening

    Kagotsurube Sato no Eizame

    Yakko D˘j˘ji

    Casting

    Onoe Kikugor˘, Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Ichikawa Danz˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Ichimura Manjir˘, Matsumoto Kingo, Kawarazaki Gonjűr˘, Band˘ Shűch˘, Ichikawa Unosuke, Sawamura S˘nosuke, Band˘ Kamesabur˘, Band˘ Kametoshi, Onoe Matsuya, Nakamura Mantar˘, Onoe Ukon, Nakamura Baishi, ďtani Hirotar˘

    Comments

  • Gohiiki Kanjinch˘: "Gohiiki Kanjinch˘" was first performed in 1773 as a lavish kaomise play. A kaomise was the first play of the new season and was not only the occasion when theatres showed off the new line up of stars for the season, but also had a variety of rules and rituals. Among these was that if a member of the Ichikawa Danjűr˘ line was appearing, the play would feature the routine "Shibaraku" where a superhuman hero stops the villain by calling out "shibaraku", or "wait a minute!". "Gohiiki Kanjinch˘" not only features "Shibaraku", but also features an early version of "Kanjinch˘" (The Subscription List), now, one of the most famous plays in Kabuki. During the most of the second act, Minamoto no Yoshitsune and other larger-than-life historical figures pretend just to be some pleasure seeking commoners. As Inage no Nyűd˘ arrives and tries to capture Yoshitsune, they revert to their historical characters. Yoshitsune fights off the men and leaves for the domain of Fujiwara no Hidehira in northeastern Japan. In "Kanjinch˘", the wise and powerful Benkei gets his master Yoshitsune through a barrier gate by using his wits. "Gohiiki Kanjinch˘" relies on the very old aragoto style of acting for a leisurely and comic version of the same story. Benkei (Band˘ Mitsugor˘) gets his master Yoshitsune (Onoe Kikunosuke) through the barrier by pretending to be very weak and allowing himself to be tied up. He cries like a baby when he is tormented by the barrier attendants. But when Benkei recognizes that his master is safe, he explodes with energy, showing off the bombastic aragoto style of acting. He breaks the ropes and pulls off the heads of the attendants, tossing them into a barrel and washing them like a bunch of potatoes. Featuring also Onoe Kikugor˘, Ichikawa Danz˘, Onoe Sh˘roku and Band˘ Hikosabur˘.
  • Kagotsurube: one of the most sensational plays of late Kabuki, it shows a humble, pockmarked merchant from the country named Sano Jir˘zaemon (Onoe Kikugor˘). He is wealthy, but because of the way he looks, has never thought that it would be possible to have a woman. He and his servant go sightseeing in the Yoshiwara pleasure quarters and a chance look at top courtesan Yatsuhashi (Onoe Kikunosuke) who smiles at him, makes Jir˘zaemon fall in love. However, the pleasure quarters are full of intrigue, and on the eve of the day that Jir˘zaemon is to buy up Yatsuhashi's contract, her true love Einoj˘ (Band˘ Mitsugor˘) forces her to reject and humiliate Jir˘zaemon in the middle of the celebratory banquet. Jir˘zaemon seems to forgive her, but returns with the sword Kagotsurube to exact his revenge. Featuring also Ichikawa Danz˘, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Ichimura Manjir˘ and Onoe Sh˘roku.
  • Yakko D˘j˘ji: "Musume D˘j˘ji" is based on a legend about a woman transformed into a serpent out of jealousy and who destroys a temple bell keeping her from the object of her love. The original dance shows the spirit of the woman who appears at D˘j˘ji temple as a dancer who wants to celebrate the dedication of a new bell and does a series of dances showing the many faces of femininity. In this version the dancer is revealed to be a man in disguise and, in the highlight of the dance, transforms the romantic highpoint of the original piece into a comic scene by using masks. Starring Band˘ Mitsugor˘ in a dance important to his family tradition.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

     
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