FEBRUARY 2009

2 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza) and 2 in ďsaka (Sh˘chikuza)!

Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
Dates 1 ~ 25 February 2009 (Nigatsu ďkabuki)
Kabukiza Sayonara K˘en
MatinÚe

Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami

  • Kamo Zutsumi
  • Ga no Iwai
  • Ky˘ganoko Musume Ninin D˘j˘ji

    Ninj˘ Banashi Bunshichi Mottoi

    Evening

    Yamatogana Ariwara Keizu
    (Rampei Monogurui)

    Kanjinch˘

    Sannin Kichisa Tomoe no Shiranami

    Casting

    Onoe Kikugor˘, Nakamura Kichiemon, Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Kanjaku, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Senjaku, Ichikawa Sadanji, Ichikawa Danshir˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Fukusuke, Onoe Sh˘roku, Ichikawa Somegor˘

    Comments

    2nd of the 16 Kabukiza Sayonara K˘en (Kabukiza Farewell Performances), which will be held up to April 2010. If you can't attend both shows, I would personnally recommend you the evening program, because of the spectacular tachimawari in "Rampei Monogurui", the great casting for the all-times favourite "Kanjinch˘" and the young stars sharing the stage with the onnagata stage giant Band˘ Tamasabur˘ in "Sannin Kichisa".

  • Kamo Zutsumi/Ga no Iwai: "Kamo Zutsumi" (The Kamo Riverband) and Ga no Iwai (The Birthday Celebration) are two acts of a great historical epic written for the puppet theatre about the downfall of the statesman and calligrapher Sugawara no Michizane and will feature the younger stars of Kabuki. The story focuses on three brothers, who each serve one of the principals in the political affair. Matsu˘maru (Ichikawa Somegor˘) serves the villain Shihei, who has had Sugawara exiled. Ume˘maru (Onoe Sh˘roku) serves Sugawara, as their father has. Sakuramaru (Nakamura Hashinosuke) serves Imperial Prince Tokiyo. The first act shows the romantic meeting that Sakuramaru and his wife Yae (Nakamura Fukusuke) arranges between the prince and Sugawaraĺs daughter. But it is seen by a retainer of the villain and becomes an excuse to exile Sugawara. The second act shows the birthday party of the father of the three brothers. Despite their rivalries, the three brothers are supposed to gather peaceably with their wives, Ume˘maruĺs wife Haru (Nakamura Senjaku) and Matsu˘maruĺs wife Chiyo (Nakamura Shibajaku) for their father Shiratayű's (Ichikawa Sadanji) birthday, but strangely enough, Sakuramaru does not appear. The brothers are named after the trees in the garden and while waiting, Matsu˘maru and Ume˘maru get into a fight and break the branches of the cherry tree. Shiratayű sees this and disowns Matsu˘maru and scolds Ume˘maru for his failure in duty. In fact, Shiratayű knows that these are omens that his youngest son must die. When everybody leaves, Sakuramaru appears and sadly commits ritual suicide for being responsible for the tragedy.
  • 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.
  • Bunshichi Mottoi: Ch˘bŕ spends his days and nights gambling, but is finally made aware of his family's problems when his daughter takes a job in the pleasure quarters. Having received the money for her contract, he shows his good side to save a young man on the edge of suicide after losing a large sum of money, but nobody believes Ch˘bŕ, thinking that he has gambled the money away. The performance stars Onoe Kikugor˘ and Nakamura Tokiz˘ in the roles of Ch˘bŕ and his wife Okane. Others roles are played by the stars Nakamura Shikan (Kadoebi Okoma), Nakamura Kichiemon (the fireman boss Ibei) and Band˘ Mitsugor˘ (Izumiya Seibŕ).
  • Rampei Monogurui: in order to recover a treasure, Rampei claims to go mad at the sight of a sword. But he is unmasked and the play ends with one of the most spectacular fight scenes in Kabuki including a struggle on top of a high ladder held up on the hanamichi runway. Starring Band˘ Mitsugor˘ as Rampei.
  • Kanjinch˘: probably the most popular Kabuki play today, it includes dance, comedy and the heart-warming pathos of a band of heroes during their last days. Disguised as a band of traveling priests the fugitive general Yoshitsune and his small band of retainers are stopped at a road barrier. They escape only through the quick thinking of the head retainer, a warrior priest named Musashib˘ Benkei, who improvises the text of an elaborate imperial decree. Having escaped danger Benkei and the others describe their days of glory and hardships on the road to escape in a moving dance. This program stars Nakamura Kichiemon in the role of Benkei, with Nakamura Baigyoku and Onoe Kikugor˘ as Yoshitsune and the barrier keeper Togashi.
  • Sannin Kichisa:
    (Three Thieves Named Kichisa)
    The playwright Kawatake Mokuami excelled at portrayals of thieves and this short scene, with its music and poetic lines, is one of his most famous. A beautiful young woman helps out a woman who is lost on the road. But she is actually Oj˘ Kichisa, a male thief who is disguised as a woman. He steals an immense sum of money that the woman is carrying and this leads to an encounter on this riverbank of three thieves, all with the name Kichisa. The two others Kichisa are Osh˘ Kichisa, a bonze turned thief, and Ob˘ Kichisa, an ex-samurai turned thief Though they start out as rivals, they decide to become blood brothers and form a gang. Featuring Band˘ Tamasabur˘ as Oj˘ Kichisa, Onoe Sh˘roku as Osh˘ Kichisa and Ichikawa Somegor˘ as Ob˘ Kichisa.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Sh˘chikuza (ďsaka)
    Dates 1 ~ 25 February 2009 (Nigatsu Hanagata Kabuki)
    MatinÚe

    Kenuki

    Sagi Musume

    Onna Goroshi Abura no Jigoku

    Evening

    Fubuki T˘ge

    Genpei Nunobiki no Taki
    (Sanemori Monogatari)

    Kumo no Ito Azusa no Yumihari

    Casting

    Kataoka Ainosuke, Ichikawa Kamejir˘, Nakamura Shid˘, Ichikawa Omez˘, Nakamura Kantar˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Kikaku

    Comments

  • 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 Omez˘ stars in a play that features the bombastic aragoto style of acting that is a specialty of his family.
  • Sagi Musume: one of the most famous dances in Kabuki, this figure is familiar through pictures and Japanese dolls. A beautiful young woman all in white appears in the snowy landscape. She dances lightly of love, but then reveals that she is the spirit of a bird, a magnificent heron that struggles wounded through a snowstorm. Starring Nakamura Shichinosuke.
  • Abura no Jigoku: this play has become phenomenally popular in modern times for its hard-boiled sensibility and sensuous killing scene with the protagonists slipping and struggling through puddles of spilled oil, but was virtually ignored at the time it was written. It shows Yohŕ, the wastrel son of a well-to-do merchant, who constantly tries to borrow money from Okichi, the wife of a neighboring oil merchant. Pressed for funds, he tries to blackmail her, but ends up killing her in the long, dream-like scene that gives this plays its title, "the woman killer and the hell of oil". Starring Kataoka Ainosuke and Ichikawa Kamejir˘ in the roles of Yohŕ and Okichi.
  • Fubuki T˘ge: Oen and Sukez˘, an adulterous couple, have to take refuge in a mountain hut built for pilgrims because of a violent snow storm. Oen was the wife of the gambler Naokichi, who was Sukez˘'s boss. They fell in love and, in order to escape death (a normal punishment for their immoral conduct), they had to elope. They now live as fugitives, in great fear of revenge by Naokichi. Fate has something in store for them as, this very night, Naokichi, who goes on pilgrimage, has to shelter himself in the same hut... Featuring Kataoka Ainosuke, Nakamura Shichinosuke and Nakamura Shid˘ in the roles of Naokichi, Oen and Sukez˘.
  • Sanemori Monogatari: a play about the early days of the rivalry between the Genji and Heike warrior clans. The warrior Sait˘ Bett˘ Sanemori (Nakamura Kantar˘) has been charged by the leaders of the dominant Heike clan with finding Aoi Gozen, the pregnant wife of the leader of the enemy Genji clan. He is to kill her child if it is a son who can succeed to head of the clan, but old loyalties to the Genji lead him to protect the boy. Sanemori tells the story of how Koman, the daughter of the old couple who is protecting Aoi Gozen, bravely fought to protect the sacred standard of the Genji from the Heike. Koman mysteriously comes back to life when her severed arm is rejoined to it.
  • Kumo no Ito: this spectacular hengemono is about the warlord Minamoto Raik˘, who is confined to bed with illness in his palace. His devoted retainers are on night watch. The spirit of a spider, which has caused Raik˘'s illness in the first place, tries to enter the palace and hopes to destroy Raik˘. The spirit of this evil spider transforms itself in different people: a tea-bringing young servant girl, a medicine peddler, a shinz˘ and a zat˘ expert in sendai j˘ruri. At the end, this spirit appears as the beautiful and gorgeous keisei Usugumodayű, who sneaks in Raik˘'s sleeping room and tries to seduce him. Fortunately for Raik˘, his retainers can intervene in the nick of time and defeat the spider, which furiously throws out streamers of long, sticky web-like threads. Starring Ichikawa Kamejir˘ in the 6 roles of this hengemono. Featuring Nakamura Kantar˘ in the role of Minamoto Raik˘.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website, except "Fubuki T˘ge" and "Kumo no Ito"

     
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