The yearly show for young promising actors at the Asakusa K˘kaid˘ in Asakusa, a lively and colorful neighboorhood that keeps the scent of old Edo.
(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 Nakamura Shichinosuke as Oj˘ Kichisa, Kataoka Ainosuke as Osh˘ Kichisa and Ichikawa Kamejir˘ as Ob˘ Kichisa.
Koma: there are many dances that show street performers and others peddlers that you might have seen
on the streets of old Edo. This short, energetic dance accompanied by the
Tokiwazu style of music features a top vendor (Ichikawa Kamejir˘),
who sells her tops by performing various tricks.
Tsubosaka: this play stars Kataoka Ainosuke as Sawaichi, a blind masseur who has
become utterly depressed by the prospect of never recovering his eyesight.
His faithful wife, played by Nakamura Shichinosuke, has been praying to the Kannon goddess
daily for several years for his recovery, and Sawaichi agrees to accompany
her to the Kannon shrine to pray. Once there he announces he will stay to
pray and fast for three days, and so his wife leaves to pick up
some supplies for them, but in her absence, Sawaichi throws himself off a cliff.
When she returns, the distraught wife decides to join her husband in death.
The final scene shows the Kannon goddess, who miraculously saves
the couple and cures Sawaichi's blindness.
Kurotegumi Sukeroku: this play by the 19th century playwright Kawatake Mokuami combines
the sunny world of the Kabuki classic "Sukeroku", the handsome hero Sukeroku and
his lover Agemaki, the top courtesan in the Yoshiwara,
with his own dark world of thieves and absconding clerks and the ironic twists of karma.
This production is the Ichikawa Ennosuke's version of "Kurotegumi Kuruwa no Tatehiki", which is more spectacular than the standard one,
and stars Ichikawa Kamejir˘ in 3 roles with fast changes (hayagawari): Sukeroku,
Ushiwaka Denji and the comic clerk Gonkur˘. The role of Agemaki is played by Nakamura Shichinosuke.
Also starring Kataoka Ainosuke and Nakamura Kikaku.
Source: Earphone Guide website, except "Koma"