FEBRUARY 2006

2 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza), 1 in Fukuoka (Hakataza), 1 in ďsaka (National Bunraku Theatre) and 1 tour (Kabuki Forum Tour)!

Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
Dates 2 ~ 26 February 2006 (Nigatsu ďkabuki)
MatinÚe

Haru no Shirabe Musume Nanakusa

Ichi-no-Tani Futaba Gunki
(Jinmon, Kumiuchi)

Ukine no Tomodori

Kiwametsuki Banzui Ch˘bŕ

Evening

Kajiwara Heiz˘ Homare no Ishikiri
(Ishikiri Kajiwara)

Ky˘ganoko Musume Ninin D˘j˘ji

Ninj˘ Banashi Koban Ichiry˘

Casting

Nakamura Kichiemon, Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Onoe Kikugor˘, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Ichikawa Danz˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Sawamura Tanosuke, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Band˘ Shűch˘, Nakamura Fukusuke, Kataoka Ainosuke, Ichikawa Danshir˘, Nakamura Kash˘, Ichikawa Unosuke, Nakamura Karoku, Ichimura Kakitsu, Kawarasaki Gonjűr˘, Band˘ Shinsha, Sawamura Yoshijir˘, Nakamura Kichinoj˘, ďtani Keiz˘, Matsumoto Kingo, Onoe Matsuya, Band˘ Kametoshi, Ichikawa Otora, Nakamura Tanetar˘, Nakamura Muneo

Comments

The highlight of this February program is undoubtedly the dance "Ky˘ganoko Musume Ninin D˘j˘ji", a two dancers version of "Musume D˘j˘ji", starring Band˘ Tamasabur˘ and Onoe Kikunosuke.

  • Musume Nanakusa: in the Edo period, every New Year, plays appeared about the medieval vendetta carried out by the Soga brothers Jűr˘ and Gor˘. This colorful, old-fashioned dance mixes this tradition with that of eating porridge containing seven auspicious herbs on the seventh day of the new year. As the brothers Jűr˘ (Nakamura Hashinosuke) and Gor˘ (Nakamura Kash˘) prepare to face their father's murderer and take revenge, along with beautiful Shizuka Gozen (Nakamura Shibajaku), they cut the herbs, as a symbolic act of vengeance.
  • Jinmon/Kumiuchi: one of the greatest stories from the Japanese tradition is the encounter of the Genji warrior Kumagai and the young Heike general Atsumori. Although they are enemies, Kumagai would like to spare Atsumori because he is the same age as his own son, but the necessities of wartime force him to kill Atsumori nonetheless and this experience fills Kumagai with disgust at warfare and makes him become a priest. This Kabuki version of the story is filled with plot twists to emphasize the pathos of the situation. Starring Matsumoto K˘shir˘ as Kumagai and Nakamura Fukusuke as Atsumori, with Nakamura Shibajaku as Atsumori's lover Princess Tamaori.
  • Ukine no Tomodori: the two young lovers Osome and Hisamatsu plan to commit lover's suicide because they cannot marry. As they approach the Sumida River, they meet a female monkey trainer who guesses their intentions and tries to convince them not to kill themselves. This dance is usually performed with a male monkey trainer, but this special version features an onnagata female role specialist. Starring Nakamura Shikan as the monkey trainer with Nakamura Hashinosuke as Hisamatsu and Onoe Kikunosuke as Osome.
  • Banzui Ch˘bŕ: in the early Edo Period, gallant men like Banzuiin Ch˘bŕ led the commoners. But this incurred the wrath of members of the samurai class, who were theoretically in control. This play begins with a recreation of Kabuki in its earliest days, then a fight breaks out which is settled by Ch˘bŕ (Nakamura Kichiemon). But this frustrates the ambitions of the samurai Mizuno (Onoe Kikugor˘) who invites Ch˘bŕ to visit. All of Ch˘bŕ's men tell him not to go because it is a trap, but Ch˘bŕ decides to meet his end and bids farewell to his wife (Band˘ Tamasabur˘) and son. Finally, Ch˘bŕ is killed when he is defenseless in the bath.
  • Ishikiri Kajiwara: the Heike general Kajiwara (Matsumoto K˘shir˘) 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.
  • Ninin D˘j˘ji: a beautiful young woman dances under cherry blossoms at a dedication ceremony for a temple bell. She dances the many aspects of a woman in love, but is actually the spirit of a serpent, driven to destroy the bell out of jealousy. In addition to being the most famous of all Kabuki dances, "Musume D˘j˘ji" is considered to be the pinnacle of the art of the onnagata female role specialist. Band˘ Tamasabur˘, whose beauty and artistic genius is renowned throughout the world, will give his definitive performance of this dance in a special double version together with young onnagata star Onoe Kikunosuke.
  • Ninj˘ Banashi Koban Ichiry˘: this is a modern play based on Rakugo storytelling which told tales of the everyday lives of people in the Edo period. This particular play shows the influence of one gold coin on the fates of poverty stricken people living in a tenement together. Starring Onoe Kikugor˘, Nakamura Kichiemon and Sawamura Tanosuke.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Hakataza (Fukuoka)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 February 2006 (Nigatsu Hanagata Kabuki)
    MatinÚe

    Tenmangű Natane no Gokű
    (Shihei no Nana Warai)

    K˘j˘

    Meiboku Sendai Hagi

  • Goten
  • Yukashita
  • Kane no Misaki

    Dango Uri

    Onna Date

    Evening

    Tsuru Kame

    Kenuki

    ďtsue D˘j˘ji

    Yowa Nasake Ukina no Yokogushi (Genjidana)

    Casting

    Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Jakuemon, Nakamura Tomijűr˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Kanjaku, Nakamura Senjaku, Ichikawa Sadanji, Kataoka Gat˘, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Nakamura T˘z˘

    Comments

    Sakata T˘jűr˘ celebrates his shűmei in Fukuoka, playing the role of Masaoka in the drama "Meiboku Sendai Hagi" and the 5 roles of the hengemono "ďtsue D˘j˘ji".

  • 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 (Nakamura Kanjaku) 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.
  • Meiboku Sendai Hagi: this play is about the attempt to take over one of the most famous samurai households in the Edo period, the Date clan ruling Sendai, a scandal that caused a sensation in its day. After the death of the lord of the clan, his young heir is the target of villains. Masaoka (Sakata T˘jűr˘), the boy's nurse is desperately afraid that he will be poisoned. She refuses to let anyone see him who might try to assassinate him and attempts to keep him safe in the women's quarters where men are forbidden. She even fixes his meal in her quarters using her delicate tea ceremony implements to cook rice. The plotting faction does not give up, though, and sends poison in the form of candy as a present from the Sh˘gun. Masaoka's son Senmatsu sacrifices his life for the young lord by eating the poisoned candy, and when he is killed, Masaoka thinks only of protecting her lord. Her fierce devotion to duty convinces the plotters that she is on their side. Masaoka's actions help save the young lord, and only when she is alone can she grieve for her son. As another faithful retainer Otokonosuke (Ichikawa Sadanji), stands guard underneath the room, the evil Nikki Danj˘ (Nakamura Tomijűr˘) appears as a giant rat, but then slips away, walking calmly through the clouds.
  • Kane no Misaki: Nakamura Kaishun appears as a beautiful young girl, expressing her love and feelings of jealousy. This is the same story as the colorful "Musume D˘j˘ji" dance, but is performed in a restrained chamber style.
  • Dango Uri:
    (The Dumpling Peddlers)
    the mortar and pestle used for pounding rice cakes and dumplings are a symbol of a happily married couple. This short, lively dance shows a couple peddling dumplings with a series of songs and dances. Starring Nakamura Senjaku and Nakamura Kanjaku in the roles of the husband and the wife.
  • Onna Date: Nakamura Shikan stars as a woman in the pleasure quarters who swaggers and fights in the finest gallant style but who has a delicate sense of femininity as well.
  • Tsuru Kame: the crane (tsuru) is said to live for a thousand years, the tortoise (kame) is said to live for ten thousand years. Together, they are a traditional symbol of longevity. There is no particular plot to this play, but simply shows a visit by the emperor to the Moon Pavilion where two courtiers dance as the spirits of the crane and tortoise. Starring Nakamura Tomijűr˘ as the emperor, Nakamura Kanjaku as the spirit of the crane and Nakamura Senjaku as the spirit of the tortoise.
  • Kenuki: in this play, which retains the light, festive atmosphere of early-period Kabuki, a princess has a mysterious ailment that makes her hair stand on end, an ailment that prevents her from carrying out her long-awaited marriage. Kumedera Danj˘ comes from the groom's household to investigate and finds a plot to take over the household when his tweezers float in mid-air. Ichikawa Sadanji stars in a play that features the bombastic aragoto style of acting.
  • ďtsue D˘j˘ji: "Musume D˘j˘ji" or "The Maiden at Dojoji Temple" is the most famous dance to display the alluring charm of an onnagata female role specialist and has inspired many variations. It shows the ghost of a woman who was transformed into a serpent out of passion and destroyed a temple bell. In this particular version, a mysterious figure appears as various characters famous from the cartoon like pictures called ˘tsue before revealing that this is the woman of the "D˘j˘ji" story. Featuring Sakata T˘jűr˘ in the 5 roles of this hengemono and Nakamura Kanjaku in the role of the Demon Queller.
  • Genjidana: Yosabur˘ (Nakamura Baigyoku), the refined young son of a wealthy merchant falls in love with Otomi (Nakamura Tokiz˘) the moment he first sees her on the beach. But Otomi is the mistress of a powerful gangster, and when their relationship is discovered, the two are attacked. Yosabur˘ is cut from head to toe and the two are dumped into the sea. Otomi lives and is taken in by a rich merchant while Yosabur˘ is now covered with scars. Yosabur˘ turns into a petty thief and extortionist but one day, finds that the woman he is about to blackmail is none other than Otomi, alive and well.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    National Bunraku Theatre (ďsaka)
    Dates 15 ~ 22 February 2006
    Program

    Sannin Kichisa Tomoe no Shiranami

    Casting

    Fujikawa Yanosuke, Kawarasaki Kunitar˘, Segawa Kikunoj˘

    Comments

    The Kawatake Mokuami's masterpiece "Sannin Kichisa", staged by the Zenshinza troupe, narrates the adventures of three thieves whose common features are the same first name (Kichisa) and a strong sense of honour. Osh˘ Kichisa, an ex-bonze turned thief, is played by Fujikawa Yanosuke. Oj˘ Kichisa, a thief who dresses like a young woman to steal people, is played by Kawarasaki Kunitar˘. Ob˘ Kichisa, an ex-samurai turned thief, is played by Segawa Kikunoj˘.

    Koshibai Forum Tour
    Dates 2 ~ 26 February 2006 (Kabuki Forum)
    Program

    Futari Bakama

    Yowa Nasake Ukina no Yokogushi (Genjidana)

    Casting

    Kataoka Matsunosuke, Nakamura Matanosuke, Nakamura Ky˘shi, Sawamura Kuniya, Nakamura Shiichi

    Comments

    18th edition of an original program dedicated to the rediscovery of the spirit of small Kabuki theaters with stars' disciples in the main roles. It is staged at the Nihonbashi Gekij˘ (T˘ky˘) and at the Edo T˘ky˘ Museum (T˘ky˘)

     
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