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 "Ranpei 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
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).
Ranpei Monogurui: in order to recover a treasure, Ranpei 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 Ranpei.
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.
(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