FEBRUARY 2011

2 shows in T˘ky˘ (Theatre Ginza), 2 in Nagoya (Misonoza), 2 in Fukuoka (Hakataza), 2 in ďsaka (Sh˘chikuza) and 1 tour (Zenshinza)!

Sh˘chikuza (ďsaka)
Dates 1 ~ 25 February 2011 (Kataoka Nizaemon Chűya no Adauchi)
Kataoka Nizaemon Day and Night Revenges
MatinÚe

Hikosan Gongen Chikai no Sukedachi
t˘shi ky˘gen production including the famous "Keya-mura" act

Evening

Kamikakete Sango Taisetsu

Casting

Kataoka Nizaemon, Nakamura Shibajaku, Kataoka Ainosuke, Kataoka Takatar˘, Ichikawa Danshir˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Band˘ Takesabur˘, Ichikawa En'ya, Band˘ Shinsha, Onoe Matsuya

Comments

A special program at the Sh˘chikuza made up of two t˘shi ky˘gen revenge dramas, starring Kataoka Nizaemon in the roles of Rokusuke and Satsuma Gengobŕ in "Hikosan Gongen Chikai no Sukedachi" and "Kamikakete Sango Taisetsu".

  • Hikosan Gongen: first performed in 1786, this epic of the revenge of fighting masters and a family tragedy is familiar from frequent performances of the climactic act "Keya-mura". It is often said that the character of Rokusuke (Kataoka Nizaemon) is based on Miyamoto Musashi. The role of Osono (Kataoka Takatar˘) is considered a challenge for an onnagata female role specialist for its blend of fierce warrior skills and soft femininity. Ky˘goku no Takumi (Kataoka Ainosuke) is a fighting student that is not satisfied with simply having driven his rival Rokusuke away into obscurity, but kills his master Yoshioka Ichimisai (Band˘ Yajűr˘) and his master's daughter Okiku (Onoe Matsuya) as well. Ichimisai's wife (Band˘ Takesabur˘) and daughter Osono suffer great hardship searching for their father's killer, but he has changed his name and gone into hiding. They also search for Okiku's young son Yasomatsu, who disappeared at the time that she was killed. Rokusuke lives a quiet life in the countryside as a farmer, concealing his fighting skills. He is happy to help a young man become a fighting master, unaware that this is Takumi in disguise. As it happens, he found Yasomatsu at the scene of the tragedy, but has no idea that this is the grandson of his fighting teacher. He hangs the boy's kimono outside his house hoping that the boy's family will see it. At this point, a woman disguised as a traveling priest comes by, sees the kimono and immediately attacks Rokusuke as her father's murderer. He handily wards off her attack and when he tells her his name, she suddenly becomes very feminine and claims to be his wife. It is Osono, who was betrothed to Rokusuke long ago. For the first time, Rokusuke learns of the tragedy that has overcome his master's family and reveals that he knows where his master's killer is. The play ends as Rokusuke takes the young boy to avenge his grandfather's death.
  • Kamikakete Sango Taisetsu: this play is a blend of "Chűshingura" with its tangled stories of loyalties and masterless samurai that ultimately avenge their master's death and the story of "Godairiki", about the love between a geisha named Koman and the samurai Satsuma Gengobŕ which is spoiled by the jealousy of a man named Sangor˘. Sasano Sangor˘ (Kataoka Ainosuke) is married to Koman (Nakamura Shibajaku), but she becomes a geisha to help him to raise the money to help his lord, a man that he has never seen. In the pleasure quarters the samurai Satsuma Gengobŕ (Kataoka Nizaemon) falls in love with her and spends huge sums of money on her, despite the fact that he needs money for the sake of the "Chűshingura" vendetta. Finally Gengobŕ gets money and Sangor˘ and Koman decide to defraud him of the money, which results in a massacre in the pleasure quarters. Ironically, Gengobŕ is none other than the unknown master for whom Sangor˘ was trying to raise money. This story of passion and greed takes place against the background of inexplicable fate and the strict requirements of samurai society and adds ample doses of sardonic humor, the perfect play for our times.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide website
    Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website for "Hikosan Gongen"

    Misonoza (Nagoya)
    Dates 5 ~ 26 February 2011 (Nigatsu ďkabuki)
    February Grand Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Ashiya D˘man ďuchi Kagami (Kuzu-no-Ha)

    Kanjinch˘

    Yowa Nasake Ukina no Yokogushi (Genjidana)

    Evening

    Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura

  • Ko-no-Mi
  • Kokingo Uchijini
  • Sushiya
  • Ky˘ganoko Musume Ninin D˘j˘ji

    Casting

    Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Fukusuke, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura T˘z˘, Ichikawa Unosuke, Ichimura Kakitsu, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Nakamura Shinobu, Ichikawa Omez˘, Nakamura Matsue, ďtani Keiz˘, Nakamura Utae

    Comments

  • Kuzu-no-Ha: Abe no Yasuna, a court astrologer in disgrace, has married a beautiful woman named Kuzu-no-Ha, not knowing that she is actually a fox that has taken human form to repay his kindness in saving his life. The couple has a child and lives happily together until the real woman whose form the fox borrowed appears. Knowing that she can no longer stay, Kuzu-no-Ha writes a tearful farewell poem on the paper screen and returns to the wilderness. Starring Nakamura Fukusuke as Kuzu-no-Ha and Nakamura T˘z˘ as Yasuna.
  • 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 Ichikawa Danjűr˘ in the role of Benkei, with Nakamura Shichinosuke and Nakamura Baigyoku as Yoshitsune and the barrier keeper Togashi.
  • Genjidana: Yosabur˘ (Nakamura Baigyoku) fell in love with Otomi (Nakamura Fukusuke) the moment he first saw her on the beach. Otomi was the mistress of a powerful gangster and, when their relationship was discovered, Yosabur˘ was cut from head to toe and the two were dumped into the sea. Otomi lived and was taken in by a rich merchant. Yosabur˘, who is now covered with scars, 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.
  • Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura: this is section of an epic originally written for the Bunraku puppet theatre. The full-length play shows the fate of various Heike generals in hiding after the victory of their enemy, the Genji.
  • Konomi/Kokingo Uchijini:
    (The Chestnut Tree and The Death of Kokingo)
    Wakaba-no-Naishi (Nakamura Shinobu), the wife of the Heike commander Koremochi travels with her young son and their retainer Kokingo (Nakamura Shichinosuke), searching for her husband. While resting in a small mountain village, they are met by Gonta (Ichikawa Danjűr˘), a local bully who skillfully cons them out of their money. Later they are set upon by Genji forces, and in a spectacular fight scene, Kokingo sacrifices himself to save his mistress and her son.
  • Sushiya:
    (The Sushi Shop)
    Gonta's father Yazaemon (Kataoka Ichiz˘) runs a sushi shop, but was formerly a retainer of Taira Koremochi. With his clan defeated, Koremochi (Nakamura Baigyoku) now lives with Yazaemon's family disguised as a humble apprentice. Innocently, Yazaemon's daughter, Osato (Nakamura Fukusuke) is in love with him. But knowing of the bounty on Koremochi's head, her brother Gonta kills him and turns his wife and child over to the Genji commander. Furious at his son, Yazaemon stabs him, but before his death, Gonta reveals that he only pretended to kill Koremochi and sacrificed his own wife and son to save the real Koremochi and his family.
  • 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. Starring Nakamura Fukusuke in a special double version together with young onnagata actor Nakamura Shichinosuke.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Hakataza (Fukuoka)
    Dates 1 ~ 25 February 2011 (Band˘ Tamasabur˘ Tokubetsu K˘en)
    Band˘ Tamasabur˘ Special Performances
    Program A

    K˘ya Hijiri

    Shinobi Yoru Koi no Kusemono (Masakado)

    Program B

    Kaijin Bess˘

    Casting

    Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Nakamura Shid˘, Nakamura Karoku

    Comments

  • K˘ya Hijiri: this is a staging of Izumi Ky˘kaĺs most famous novel with new direction. A Buddhist priest named Shűch˘ (Nakamura Shid˘) tells the story of a strange encounter with a beautiful woman (Band˘ Tamasabur˘) deep in the mountains. Although she seems to be married and have a family, they have a sensuous meeting by a waterfall as she wipes the sweat and dirt of the road from his body. But she also seems to have the power to turn unwanted men into animals, the creatures that fill her stable. Also starring Nakamura Karoku.
  • Masakado: after the death of Masakado, the great pretender to the imperial throne, the only one to carry on his cause is his daughter, Takiyasha (Band˘ Tamasabur˘). She appears mysteriously in the ruins of her father's palace and tries to seduce Mitsukuni (Nakamura Shid˘), a warrior sent to investigate mysterious happenings at the mansion. In dance Takiyasha tells of how she fell in love with Mitsukuni, then, also in dance, Mitsukuni tells the story of how the traitor Masakado was killed. Takiyasha breaks down in tears, revealing her true identity. After a dance-like fight, the mansion collapses and Takiyasha poses on the roof with the banner of her clan.
  • Kaijin Bess˘: a handsome prince (Nakamura Shid˘) rules in a palace under the sea. He marries a beauty (Band˘ Tamasabur˘), the daughter of a wealthy family living on the seashore. She learns the relative values of riches on sea and on land when she learns that her family sacrificed her life out of greed for the wealth of the sea. Also starring Nakamura Karoku.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Le Theatre Ginza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 1 ~ 25 February 2011 (Nigatsu Hanagata Kabuki)
    February Young Actors Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Osome Hisamatsu Ukina no Yomiuri
    (Osome no Nanayaku)

    Evening

    Onna Goroshi Abura no Jigoku

    Casting

    Ichikawa Kamejir˘, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, ďtani Tomoemon, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Emiya, Band˘ Shűch˘, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Band˘ Kamesabur˘, Sawamura S˘nosuke, Nakamura Kikaku, Matsumoto Kingo

    Comments

  • Osome no Nanayaku:
    (The 7 roles of Osome)
    The story of the love suicide of Osome, the daughter of a wealthy merchant and Hisamatsu, a handsome young man that was an apprentice in her family's shop, is one of the most popular stories in Kabuki and was dramatized countless times. In 1813, Tsuruya Nanboku IV (1755~1829) wrote up this story as a showpiece for Iwai Hanshir˘ V, an onnagata specialist in female roles. One actor plays seven of the major roles in the play: Osome, Hisamatsu, the poor Osaku, Omitsu (Hisamatsu's official fiance), Hisamatsu's sister Takegawa, the geisha Koito, Osome's mother Teish˘ and a snake charmer named Oroku. Onnagata superstar ACT makes a virtuoso appearance in this play, acting in all seven roles, including the fastest on-stage fast change in all Kabuki. Also featuring Ichikawa Somegor˘ as Oroku's fiance Kimon no Kihŕ.
  • 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 Ichikawa Somegor˘ and Ichikawa Kamejir˘ in the roles of Yohŕ and Okichi.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Zenshinza Tour
    Dates 5 ~ 25 February 2011
    Program

    Sannin Kichisa Tomoe no Shiranami

    Casting

    Fujikawa Yanosuke, Kawarasaki Kunitar˘, Arashi Yoshisabur˘, Yamazaki Tatsusabur˘, Matsunami Kihachir˘, Anegawa Shinnosuke

    Comments

  • 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 Kawarasaki Kunitar˘ as Oj˘ Kichisa, Fujikawa Yanosuke as Osh˘ Kichisa and Arashi Yoshisabur˘ as Ob˘ Kichisa.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

     
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