FEBRUARY 2015

2 in ďsaka (Sh˘chikuza), 3 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, EX THEATER), 2 in Fukuoka (Hakataza) and 1 in Naruto (ďtsuka Museum of Art) !

Sh˘chikuza (ďsaka)
Dates 1 ~ 25 February 2015 (Nigatsu ďkabuki)
February Grand Kabuki
MatinÚe

Komochi Yamanba
(Yaegiri Kuruwa Banashi)

Ky˘ Ningy˘

K˘j˘

Keisei Hangonk˘ (Domo Mata)

Evening

Sonezaki Shinjű

Renjishi

Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura
(Kawatsura H˘gen Yakata)

Casting

Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Nakamura Senjaku, Ichikawa Ennosuke, Nakamura Baigyoku, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Band˘ Takesabur˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Nakamura Kikaku, Band˘ Kametoshi, Band˘ Shingo, Ichikawa Juen, Nakamura Kamenoj˘, Nakamura Jűjir˘

Comments

Nakamura Ganjir˘ IV celebrates his second month of shűmei in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza!

  • Yaegiri Kuruwa Banashi: Yamanba, or the mountain hag, has been celebrated for centuries in traditional Japanese dance and theater. In the Kabuki version, Yamanba becomes a beautiful woman, a courtesan who becomes the wife of the samurai Tokiyuki and retreats to the mountains to miraculously give birth to the powerful warrior Sakata Kintoki. This play was originally by the great Chikamatsu Monzaemon and is a classic of Kansai style Kabuki. Nakamura Senjaku appears as the courtesan who tells the humorous story of a fight between courtesans over a handsome man and then mysteriously becomes pregnant by the spirit of her husband. Starring Ichikawa Monnosuke and Nakamura Kikaku in the roles of Yaegiri's husband Sakata Tokiyuki and the villain ďta Jűr˘.
  • Ky˘ Ningy˘: this dance tells the story of the woodcarver Hidari Jingor˘, famous for the sleeping cat on the great gate of Nikk˘. He brings a statue of a beautiful courtesan to life and then there is a spectacular fight scene with a variety of carpenterĺs tools. Starring Onoe Sh˘roku as Jingor˘ and Nakamura Kazutar˘ as the doll of the courtesan.
  • 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 Ganjir˘ IV.
  • Domo Mata: the artist Matahei has been refused a professional name because of his stuttering. He makes a poor life by drawing folk paintings and decides to make one last effort to gain respectability. His wife Otoku, who is given as much to chatter as Matahei is silent, pleads his case. Turned down again by his master, Matahei decides to take his life. He draws a farewell portrait of himself, a painting so skillful that the lines seep through solid rock and this miracle convinces his master to confer a professional name. Starring Nakamura Ganjir˘ as Matahei and Ichikawa Ennosuke as his wife Otoku. Featuring Band˘ Yajűr˘ as Matahei's master Tosa Sh˘gen Mitsunobu, Onoe Sh˘roku as Utanosuke, Nakamura Kazutar˘ as Shűrinosuke and Band˘ Takesabur˘ as Mitsunobu's wife.
  • Sonezaki Shinjű: a young merchant named Tokubŕ has long been in love with the courtesan Ohatsu and is diligently trying to buy out her contract. But he is swindled out of his money by someone he considered a friend. Then he is beaten and humiliated in the precincts of the Ikutama shrine. He sneaks into the teahouse where Ohatsu is and she hides him under the veranda. At this point, Tokubŕ's "friend" comes and calls him a criminal. Ohatsu fiercely defends Tokubŕ and asks whether he is prepared to defend his honor by committing love suicide. Silently, from under the veranda, he holds her bare foot and draws it across his neck. The journey to the forest where they commit love suicide is like a dream, half-way between this world and the next and has some of the most famous lines in Japanese theatre: "Farewell to this world and to this night, farewell. To what should we who go to our deaths be likened? We are like the frost on the road leading to the graveyard, vanishing with each step". Starring Nakamura Ganjir˘ and Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘ in the roles of Tokubŕ and Ohatsu. Featuring also Nakamura Baigyoku, Band˘ Yajűr˘ and Nakamura Senjaku.
  • Renjishi: 2 entertainers dance a tale of the legendary shishi or lion-like spirits that live at the foot of a holy Buddhist mountain. There is a comic interlude with 2 Buddhist pilgrims. Then, the shishi themselves appear and perform their dance with wild shaking of their long manes. The dance shows a parent shishi forcing his cub to undergo harsh training in order to grow up strong. This theme is often associated with the training a parent actor gives his son. This performance features Nakamura Ganjir˘ in the role of the parent shishi and his son Nakamura Kazutar˘ in the role of the cub. Featuring also Ichikawa Ennosuke and Onoe Sh˘roku.
  • Kawatsura H˘gen Yakata: the epic "Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees" ("Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura") features many characters around the famous general Yoshitsune, but none more memorable than a magic fox that takes the guise of Tadanobu, one of Yoshitsune's most trusted retainers. The fox wants to get close to a precious drum that Yoshitsune has made from the skins of his fox parents. In this excerpt from the longer play, the fox reveals his true identity with a series of spectacular stage tricks and Yoshitsune is moved to grant him the drum. This play ends with a spectacular chűnori. Starring Ichikawa Ennosuke as the fox Tadanobu. Featuring also Ichikawa Monnosuke (Yoshitsune), Nakamura Kazutar˘ (Shizuka Gozen), Ichikawa Juen (Kawatsura H˘gen) and Band˘ Takesabur˘ (Kawatsura H˘gen's wife Asuka).
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 February 2015 (Nigatsu ďkabuki)
    February Grand Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Kichirei Kotobuki Soga (Soga no Ishidan)

    Hikosan Gongen Chikai no Sukedachi (Keya-mura)

    Tsumoru Koi Yuki no Seki no To

    Evening

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

    Kanda Matsuri

    Suitengű Megumi no Fukagawa (Fudeya K˘bŕ)

    Casting

    Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘, Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Kaishun, Ichikawa Sadanji, Ichikawa Danz˘, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, ďtani Tomoemon, Nakamura T˘z˘, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Matagor˘, Kawarazaki Gonjűr˘, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Nakamura Baishi, Nakamura Kash˘, Band˘ Minosuke, Nakamura Kotar˘, Matsumoto Kintar˘

    Comments

    The highlight of these February Grand Kabuki programs is the spectacular and beautiful dance-drama "Seki no To"! The dance-drama "Kanda Matsuri" is also a rare treat as it was staged for the last time in October 1997. "Soga no Ishidan" is famous for its tachimawari on giant stone steps followed by a spectacular gand˘-gaeshi. The others items -"Keya-mura", "Jinmon/Kumiuchi" and "Fudeya K˘bŕ"- are classics whose leading actors are respectively the Heisei stage giants Onoe Kikugor˘, Nakamura Kichiemon and Matsumoto K˘shir˘.

  • Soga no Ishidan: In the Edo period, the medieval Soga brothers, who endured eighteen years of hardship before they avenged the death of their father, became popular guardian gods and hundreds of plays about their exploits appeared. This particular rarely performed play shows the brothers confronting the two men who killed their father in a fight scene on a set of stone steps, then the set turns over in a spectacular transition to reveal the next scene which takes place in the pleasure quarters. Starring Nakamura Karoku as Kud˘ Suketsune, the man that had the father of the Soga brothers killed, Nakamura Mantar˘ as the wise and restrained Soga no Jűr˘ and Nakamura Kash˘ as the impetuous Soga no Gor˘. Featuring Nakamura Shibajaku and Nakamura Baishi as the courtesans ďiso no Tora (Jűr˘'s lover) and Kewaizaka no Sh˘sh˘ (Gor˘'s lover). Featuring also Nakamura Matagor˘ and Nakamura Kinnosuke in a spectacular fight scene on a stone stairway.
  • Keya-mura: Rokusuke (Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘), a sword master who lives a simple country life, is taking care of a small foundling child. He hangs the boy's kimono outside his house in the hope that the boy's relatives will see it and know where he is. One day he finds himself attacked by a woman named Osono (Nakamura Tokiz˘) who turns out to be the aunt of the child. As they talk, they find that they are in fact linked by promises of marriage although they have never met directly. Osono is searching for Ky˘goku no Takumi (Ichikawa Danz˘), the killer of her father, Rokusuke's master, and Rokusuke promises to help in her vendetta.
  • Seki no To:
    (The Snowbound Barrier)
    A snow-covered barrier decorated by a mysteriously blooming cherry tree provides the background for the larger-than-life story of a traitorous aristocrat disguised as a barrier guard and the beautiful woman, actually a supernatural spirit in disguise, that will defeat him. Onoe Kikunosuke(the keisei Sumizome, in reality the spirit of Komachi's cherry tree), Matsumoto K˘shir˘ (Sekibŕ, in reality ďtomo no Kuronushi), Onoe Kikunosuke (Ono no Komachi) and Nakamura Kinnosuke (Yoshimine Munesada) star in what is considered to be one of the greatest Kabuki dance-dramas.
  • 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 Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon as Kumagai and Onoe Kikunosuke as Atsumori, with Nakamura Shibajaku as Atsumori's lover Princess Tamaori.
  • Kanda Matsuri: this is a Kabuki 1839 dance-drama, which depicts a lively festival at the Kanda My˘jin Shrine in downtown Edo. Starring Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘ as a tobigashira. Featuring also Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Shibajaku and Ichikawa Komaz˘ as geisha.
  • Fudeya K˘bŕ: first performed in 1885, this play by Kawatake Mokuami shows the disruptions in society caused by the Meiji Restoration. In the Edo period, the samurai were on top of society, but in the new Meiji world, a samurai unable to find a new way of becoming a success got left behind. This play stars Matsumoto K˘shir˘ as a former samurai named K˘bŕ, who makes a meager living making writing brushes. Since his wife has died, he must raise his three children by himself, but his oldest daughter is blind and the youngest boy is a baby. K˘bŕ is helped by a generous woman named Omura (Nakamura Kaishun), but everything that he has is taken by a moneylender and he decides that he and his family have no choice but to commit suicide. Suddenly, there is the sound of merry music from a party at the house of a rich man next door and something in K˘bŕ snaps. He starts to dance madly around, doing the dance from the theatre of the ghost of Tomomori with a ragged broom in place of a magnificent halbard. This scene is the highlight of the play and is a virtuoso test of the actor's skills. Featuring also Band˘ Hikosabur˘, ďtani Tomoemon and Nakamura Kinnosuke.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Hakataza (Fukuoka)
    Dates 4 ~ 26 February 2015 (Nigatsu Hanagata Kabuki)
    February Young Actors Kabuki
    Program

    Haji Momiji Ase no Kaomise (Date no Jűyaku)

    Casting

    Ichikawa Somegor˘, Kataoka Takatar˘, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Ichikawa Ukon, Onoe Matsuya, Kataoka Kamez˘, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Sawamura S˘nosuke, Matsumoto Kingo, ďtani Keiz˘, Nakamura Hayato, ďtani Hirotar˘, Nakamura Yonekichi

    Comments

    The traditional February Grand Kabuki at the Hakataza, with a troupe led by Ichikawa Somegor˘.

  • Date no Jűyaku: One of the most famous plays in Kabuki is "Meiboku Sendai Hagi", the story of the fabulously wealthy Date clan in Sendai and plots to take over the clan. In the early 19th century, this play was rewritten so that one actor could play all the roles, switching from one to another with fast changes. The script for this particular version was lost, but some twenty years ago, Ichikawa Ennosuke had a new version prepared and this has since become a classic of Ennosuke's style of Kabuki. the young heir of the K˘raiya guild Ichikawa Somegor˘ plays for the second time in his career the ten roles, male and female, young and old, villain and hero.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    EX THEATER (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 18 February 2015 (Roppongi Kabuki)
    Roppongi Kabuki
    Program

    Chikyű Nagegor˘ Uchű no Aragoto

    Casting

    Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Nakamura Shid˘, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Ichimura Manjir˘, Ichikawa Kudanji, Band˘ Kamesabur˘, Ichimura Takematsu, Onoe Ukon, ďtani Hiromatsu, Ichikawa Fukutar˘

    Comments

    The script was written by Kud˘ Kankur˘, who already did "ďedo Ribingu Deddo" in 2009 [more details] and "Tennichib˘" in 2012 [more details]. The stage direction is done by the famous movie director Miike Takashi, an expert in violent and bizarre movies who worked twice with Ichikawa Ebiz˘ in the movies Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai (2011) and "Over your Dead Body" (2014). The story is about a space alien invasion of Earth. The invaders, coming from outter space, land in Edo during the Genroku period. The head of the extraterrestrial forces, Daashi Beidayű (phonetically, it is not so far from Darth Vader), is Nakamura Shid˘, the villain in this play. The savior of Planet Earth, Chikyű Nagegor˘ (Earth-Throwing Gor˘?) is Ichikawa Ebiz˘. The very first "Space Aragoto" in Japan in Kabuki history! The first Sci-Fi Kabuki drama was "The Emperor of Mars", which was staged at the University of Hawai'i in 1981. More details about "Chikyű Nagegor˘ Uchű no Aragoto" on the site of the Japan Times!

    ďtsuka Museum of Art (Naruto)
    Dates 20 ~ 22 February 2015 (Sistine Kabuki)
    Program

    Yuri Wakamaru Yumi no Isaoshi (Ulysses)

    Casting

    Kataoka Ainosuke, Kamimura Kichiya, Nakamura Tanenosuke, Yamato Yűga

    Comments

    6th edition of the Sistine Kabuki, a Kabuki program within the Sistine Hall of the ďtsuka Museum of Art, which is located in the city of Naruto (Tokushima prefecture). Inside this museum, there are more than 1,000 replicas of priceless masterpieces of Western art, from ancient murals to modern paintings, which are reproduced in ceramic to their original size. The Sistine Hall is of course a "reproduction" of the Vatican Sistine Chapel.

    This newly-created play is based on the legend of Ulysses. The actress Yamato Yűga is also part of the casting!

     
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