MAY 2006

7 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, Shinbashi Enbuj˘, National Theatre, Theatre Ginza, Setagaya Public Theatre), 1 in ďsaka (National Bunraku Theatre) and 1 in Nagoya (Chűnichi Theatre)!

Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
Dates 1 ~ 25 May 2006 (Dankikusai Gogatsu ďkabuki)
MatinÚe

Edo no Yűbae

Kaminari Send˘

Uir˘ Uri

Gonza to Sukejű

Evening

Keisei Hangonk˘ (Domo Mata)

Yasuna

Fuji Musume

Kurotegumi Kuruwa no Tatehiki
(Kurotegumi Sukeroku)

Casting

Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Onoe Kikugor˘, Nakamura Jakuemon, Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Ichikawa Sadanji, Sawamura Tanosuke, Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Onoe Sh˘roku, Band˘ Hikosabur˘

Comments

This program celebrates the comeback on stage of Ichikawa Danjűr˘, who fell sick in August 2005; he plays the bombastic role of the uir˘ peddler, in reality Soga Gor˘ Tokimune, in the drama "Uir˘ Uri".

  • Edo no Yűbae: the sunset of the title is the passing of the world of the Edo period with Japan's opening to the west and modernization. This play by novelist Osaragi Jir˘, written in 1952, shows two members of the samurai class and how they dealt with the fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate and their loss of rank in the new world of Meiji Japan. One decides to fight the new order while the other escapes into dissipation and pleasure. Starring the popular young stars Ichikawa Ebiz˘ and Onoe Sh˘roku.
  • Kaminari Send˘: handsome boatmen crossing the Sumida River were the popular idols of the Edo Period, but the only thing they feared was lightning. This humorous dance shows a boatman and the thunder god carrying his drums and dressed in an animal skin loincloth. Starring Onoe Sh˘roku as the boatman.
  • Uir˘ Uri: there are many plays based on the revenge by the Soga brothers on Kud˘ Suketsune, the man that arranged to have their father killed. In this particular play, this dramatic fight is transformed into light fantasy by showing one of the Soga brothers disguised as a peddler of Uir˘, a medicine that makes it possible to speak quickly and elegantly. The highlight of the play is a long speech full of puns and wordplays. Starring Ichikawa Danjűr˘ as the peddler.
  • Gonza to Sukejű: in this comedy by Okamoto Kid˘, two palanquin bearers constantly argue and their wives, but when they witness a murder, it changes everything in the nagaya tenement where they live. This modern play takes one of the classic stories of the wise magistrage ďoka Echizen and looks at it from the point of view of common townspeople. Starring Onoe Kikugor˘ and Band˘ Mitsugor˘ in the roles of Gonza and Sukejű.
  • 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 Band˘ Mitsugor˘ as Matahei and Nakamura Tokiz˘ as his wife Otoku.
  • Yasuna: after the death of his lover, the handsome young Yasuna wanders through the open fields madly searching for his love. The tragedy is a contrast to the beautiful setting, a field of brilliant yellow flowers and the lush, sensuous Kiyomoto narrative music that accompanies it. Starring the young star Onoe Kikunosuke in the role of Yasuna.
  • Fuji Musume: the spirit of wisteria blossoms dances of love in the form of a beautiful young maiden. One of Kabuki's most famous and colorful dances, it will feature the dancing skills of Ichikawa Ebiz˘.
  • 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. Featuring Onoe Kikugor˘ as Sukeroku and the comic clerk Gonkur˘ and Nakamura Jakuemon as Agemaki.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Shinbashi Enbuj˘ (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 1 ~ 25 May 2006 (Gogatsu ďkabuki)
    MatinÚe

    Hitoyo

    Kotobuki Shiki Sanbas˘

    Natsu Matsuri Naniwa Kagami

  • Sumiyoshi Torii Mae
  • Tsuribune Sabu Uchi
  • Nagamachi Ura
  • Evening

    Z˘ho Futatsu Domoe (Ishikawa Goemon)

    Ky˘ganoko Musume D˘j˘ji

    Sh˘chikubai Yushima no Kakegaku

    Casting

    Nakamura Kichiemon, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Shinjir˘, Ichikawa Danshir˘, Nakamura Fukusuke, Nakamura Kash˘, Nakamura Karoku

    Comments

    The star Nakamura Kichiemon performs for the second time the spectacular role of the thief Ishikawa Goemon in the drama "Z˘ho Futatsu Domoe", which ends with an amazing chűnori. He also plays in the first program the great role of Danshichi Kurobŕ in "Natsu Matsuri".

  • Hitoyo: ???
  • Kotobuki Shiki Sanbas˘: Okina is the oldest ritual in the theater. This Kabuki version shows Okina, an old man who symbolizes eternal youth, his attendant Senzai and the vigorous Sanbas˘, who perform dances solemnly for good fortune. Sanbas˘ dances vigorously, stamping and shaking bells, praying for agricultural fertility and prosperity for all. This version features two Sanbas˘, played by Ichikawa Somegor˘ and Ichikawa Kamejir˘.
  • Natsu Matsuri: this grisly murder story became a smashing hit when it was first performed in 1745 because of the chivalrous spirit of the many ďsaka characters appearing in this story, the contrast between a brutal murder and the jovial mood of a summer festival, and the splashing of real water used on the stage. Danshichi, a gallant fishmonger, does everything he can to protect the weak young son of his patron with the help of his companion Tokubŕ and the older Sabu. Although even Tokubŕ's wife Otatsu heroically helps out, in the end, Danshichi is betrayed by his evil father-in-law Giheiji and, in the most famous scene of the play, must kill him in a mud-covered fight in a lonely alley with the shouts of the local festival nearby. This program stars Nakamura Kichiemon as Danshichi, with Nakamura Shinjir˘, Ichikawa Danshir˘ and Nakamura Fukusuke as Tokubŕ, Sabu and Otatsu.
  • Ishikawa Goemon: in the time of the warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Ishikawa Goemon was a famous larger-than-life thief. When he was executed by being boiled alive, he is said to have defiantly said that the sands on the beach may run out but thieves will never disappear from this world. In this play, a rare revival, Goemon hides in a giant basket, which then flies through the air. As the basket goes to the ceiling of the theater, suddenly Goemon burst out and travels triumphantly through the sky. This production stars Nakamura Kichiemon as Goemon.
  • Musume 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. The role of the shiraby˘shi is played by Nakamura Fukusuke.
  • Yushima no Kakegaku: Oshichi was a grocer's daughter who fell in love with a temple page named Kichisabur˘ when her family took refuge in a temple after a fire. She so wanted to see him that she set a fire, even though the penalty for arson was death. The story of Oshichi is famous in many theatrical versions, but this particular one features the antics of the middle-aged man Beniya Ch˘bŕ (commonly called Bench˘) who is in love with her. Starring Nakamura Kichiemon as Bench˘, Ichikawa Kamejir˘ as Oshichi and Ichikawa Somegor˘ as Kichisabur˘.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Chűnichi Theatre (Nagoya)
    Dates 7 ~ 28 May 2006
    Program Yukinoj˘ Henge 2006
    Casting

    Ichikawa Ukon, Ichikawa Danjir˘, Ichikawa Emiya, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Nakamura Karoku, Ichikawa Shun'en, Ichikawa En'ya

    Comments

    The Omodakaya guild in a new production, without Ichikawa Ennosuke (still on sick leave).

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 12 ~ 25 May 2006 (Zenshinza Gogatsu K˘en)
    Program

    Nazo no Obi Chotto Tokubŕ

    K˘j˘

    Sakanaya S˘gor˘

    Casting

    Nakamura Umenosuke, Arashi Keishi, Kawarazaki Kunitar˘, Nakamura Baijaku, Segawa Kikunoj˘, Fujikawa Yanosuke, Nakamura Tsuruz˘, Nakamura Seinosuke, Yamazaki Ryűnosuke, Yamazaki Ky˘ka, Yamazaki Tatsusabur˘, Osagawa Genjir˘, Anegawa Shinnosuke

    Comments

    The Zenshinza troupe celebrates its 75th anniversary by producing Tsuruya Nanboku IV's "Nazo no Obi Chotto Tokubŕ" and Kawatake Mokuami's "Sakanaya S˘gor˘". Arashi Keishi, Nakamura Baijaku and Kawarazaki Kunitar˘ plays the roles of ďshima Danshichi, Azumaya Tokubŕ and Okaji/Otatsu in the former drama. Nakamura Umenosuke and Segawa Kikunoj˘ plays the roles of S˘gor˘ and Ohama in the latter drama.

    Le Theatre Ginza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 19 ~ 21 May 2006 (Heisei Wakashű Kabuki)
    Program

    ďsaka Otokodate Bayari

    Casting Kataoka Ainosuke, Kataoka Hidetar˘
    Comments

    5th edition of an original program called "Heisei Wakashű Kabuki" (the young men's Kabuki of the Heisei imperial era); the leader of this troupe is the rising star Kataoka Ainosuke. This troupe gives a performance in T˘ky˘ for the first time!

    Setagaya Public Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 11 May ~ 4 June 2006
    Program

    Amaterasu

    Casting Band˘ Tamasabur˘, the Kod˘ taiko drummers
    Comments

    Telling the story of the principal goddess of Shint˘ mythology and the progenitor of the imperial line, Amaterasu, say the Kod˘ taiko drummers and Kabuki star Band˘ Tamasabur˘, is intended to tackle the thorny issues of "Japanĺs place in the world" and its "past vs. present". The project is the culmination of several years of collaboration between Kod˘ and Band˘ Tamasabur˘ that began when the actor traveled to Kod˘ĺs commune on far-flung Sado Island to prepare for their 2003 concert series, in which Band˘ Tamasabur˘ choreographed the group. In a press conference held at the end of last year to announce Amaterasu, Band˘ Tamasabur˘ explained the genesis of the project. "I took my first of several trips to Sado Island in 2000 and directed the Kod˘ One Earth Tour Special in 2003. Immediately after that project was over, I thought, "Next time weĺll take to the stage together", and discussed the idea with Kod˘. We thought that the best theme for this project would be Japanese mythology, and Amaterasu was born". According to ancient Japanese chronicles, the sun goddess Amaterasu, angered by the unruly behavior of her younger brother, the storm god Susanoo, retreated into a cave and left the world in darkness. Finally the goddess Ama-no-Uzume and others were able to lure Amaterasu from her cave with a dance. The sun goddess resumed her position in the heavens, and light and order were restored. Band˘ Tamasabur˘, renowned for playing onnagata female roles in Kabuki, will play Amaterasu, and the Kod˘ drummers act as the other gods.

    Source: Dan Grunebaum

    The staging of "Amaterasu" celebrates the 25th year of the Kod˘ troupe!

    National Bunraku Theatre (ďsaka)
    Dates 17 May 2006 (Taketokai)
    Program

    Osan Mohei

    Niwaka Jishi

    Tomo Yakko

    Taki no Shiraito

    Kanda Matsuri

    Casting

    Band˘ Takesabur˘, Band˘ Shinsha, Band˘ Takeyuki, Band˘ Takeaki

    Comments

    3rd edition of a special program produced by the Taketokai, an association which patronizes Band˘ Takesabur˘ and his three disciples. The first item in this program is a modern version of Chikamatsu Monzaemon's masterpiece "Daiky˘ji Mukashi Goyomi" written by the playwright ďmori Chisetsu. The others are dances.

     
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