MAY 2008

4 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, Shinbashi Enbuj˘), 2 in in ďsaka (Sh˘chikuza, Wahha Kamigata Engei Hall) and 1 in Ky˘to (Minamiza)!

Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
Dates 2 ~ 26 May 2008 (Dankikusai Gogatsu ďkabuki)
MatinÚe

Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura

  • Tokaiya
  • Funayagura
  • Daimotsu no Ura
  • Rokkasen Sugata no Irodori (Kisen)

    Kiwametsuki Banzui Ch˘bŕ

    Evening

    Aoto Z˘shi Hana no Nishikie

  • Hatsusedera Hanami
  • Mikoshi-ga-Take
  • Inasegawa Tanima
  • Hamamatsuya
  • Kuramae
  • Inasegawa Seizoroi
  • Gokurakuji Yane Rippuku
  • Sanmon
  • Namerigawa Dobashi
  • Shikakubashira Saru no Kusemai

    Casting

    Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Onoe Kikugor˘, Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Tomijűr˘, Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Ichikawa Sadanji, Nakamura Kaishun, Onoe Sh˘roku, Ichikawa Danz˘, Nakamura T˘z˘, ďtani Tomoemon, Kawarasaki Gonjűr˘, Band˘ Hikosabur˘

    Comments

  • Tokaiya/Daimotsu no Ura: these are two scenes from one of the greatest classics of the puppet theatre, which has also become a classic of Kabuki featuring the popular young star Ichikawa Ebiz˘ in his first appearance as Tomomori. After the wars between the Genji and Heike clans, the Genji are victorious and their leader Yoritomo is now Sh˘gun. But there is a falling out between Yoritomo and his brother Yoshitsune, the brilliant general responsible for the victory. Now Yoshitsune is fleeing through the country and this play fancifully has him encounter several famous warriors from the Heike clan, who are not dead, as history has it. Yoshitsune (ďtani Tomoemon) books passage on a boat to Kyűshű, but the captain is actually Taira no Tomomori (Ichikawa Ebiz˘), a general of the Heike clan that Yoshitsune helped to defeat. Tomomori was supposedly killed by Yoshitsune in the final battle of the war, but in this play, Tomomori is shown as surviving, living in disguise with the child emperor Antoku and his nursemaid (Nakamura Kaishun). At one moment the captain is a gallant commoner, but in the next, he is Tomomori, a high ranking general close to the emperor. His wife as well is a cheerful commoner who shows her true identity as a high-ranking lady-in-waiting in the magnificent robes of the imperial court. Tomomori uses the opportunity to try to get his revenge on Yoshitsune but is defeated again. Finally Tomomori holds a giant anchor and plunges into the sea.
  • Kisen: "Kisen" is part of a series of dances showing the six poetic geniuses of ancient Japan. The five male poets are all shown as being in love with the sixth, Ono no Komachi, one of the most famous beauties of Japan. The other dances are set in ancient Japan, but this dance suddenly jumps to the Edo period where the poet-priest Kisen wanders intoxicated by the beauties of the cherry blossoms and of Okaji, a tea stand waitress. Starring Band˘ Mitsugor˘ as Kisen and Nakamura Tokiz˘ as Okaji.
  • Banzui Ch˘bŕ: in the early Edo period, gallant men like Banzuiin Ch˘bŕ led the commoners. But this incurred the wrath of members of the samurai class, who were theoretically in control. This play begins with a recreation of Kabuki in its earliest days, then a fight breaks out which is settled by Ch˘bŕ (Ichikawa Danjűr˘). But this frustrates the ambitions of the samurai Mizuno (Onoe Kikugor˘) who invites Ch˘bŕ to visit. All of Ch˘bŕ's men tell him not to go because it is a trap, but Ch˘bŕ decides to meet his end and bids farewell to his wife (Sakata T˘jűr˘) and son. Finally, Ch˘bŕ is killed when he is defenseless in the bath.
  • Aoto Z˘shi Hana no Nishikie:
    (A Brocade Print of the Age of Magistrate Aoto)
    Written by Kawatake Mokuami in 1862, this play focuses on the thief Benten Koz˘ and was inspired by a woodblock print of a sexy young man with tattoos covering his body with a woman's hairstyle and kimono. Benten Koz˘ is a swindler and thief who makes use of his beauty, both as a handsome young man and disguised as a beautiful woman. The sections about Benten Koz˘ are played frequently, but this marks a rare full-length performance that shows the stories of all five thieves in the gang who are tied together by bonds of fate and obligation. In the opening at a magnificent temple surrounded by cherry blossoms, Benten Koz˘ poses as a samurai youth and seduces a princess setting off events that will eventually destroy Benten and all around him. A beautiful young woman comes to a clothing store with her servant, but is discovered shoplifting and beaten. When she proves that she was not stealing, her servant demands compensation. However, a samurai who happens to be in the store reveals that the young woman is actually a man, and he proudly announces his name as Benten, the thief. The servant is his fellow gang member Nang˘ Rikimaru (Ichikawa Sadanji) and the samurai is actually the head of the gang Nippon Daemon. However, they learn that the man they have defrauded is actually Benten Koz˘ĺs father and the five thieves realize they cannot escape and decide to wear magnificent matching kimonos as they meet their fate. The act ends with a kind of spectacle showing the five members of the gang in their finest kimonos under the cherry blossoms in full bloom. In elaborate speeches, they each announce their name in the poetic diction for which the playwright Mokuami is famous. Finally Benten Koz˘ fights off his pursuers in a spectacular fight on the roof of a temple. Starring Onoe Kikugor˘ as Benten Koz˘, Ichikawa Danjűr˘ as Nippon Daemon, Ichikawa Sadanji as Nang˘ Rikimaru, Nakamura Tokiz˘ as Akaboshi Jűzabur˘ and Band˘ Mitsugor˘ as Tadanobu Rihei. Also featuring Living National Treasure Nakamura Tomijűr˘ as the magistrate Aoto Saemon.
  • Saru no Kusemai: Toyotomi Heikichi (Onoe Sh˘roku) demonstrates his fighting skills in front of his master Oda Harunaga. This dance is a beautiful tachimawari with Toyotomi Heikichi gracefully fighting against yakko. "Saru no Kusemai" means literally the old dance of the monkey. Toyotomi Heikichi was said in his teens to look like a monkey.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Shinbashi Enbuj˘ (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 May 2008 (Gogatsu ďkabuki)
    MatinÚe

    Hikosan Gongen Chikai no Sukedachi (Keya-mura)

    Fuji Musume

    Sanja Matsuri

    Kioi Jishi

    Ippon Gatana Dohy˘ Iri

    Evening

    T˘kaid˘ Yotsuya Kaidan

    Casting

    Nakamura Kichiemon, Nakamura Shibajaku, Ichikawa Danshir˘, Ichikawa Kamejir˘, Nakamura Fukusuke, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Nakamura Kash˘, Nakamura Karoku

    Comments

    Nakamura Kichiemon is for the third time the zagashira of a troupe of young actors performing at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘. He plays the roles of Komagata M˘hei and Tamiya Iemon in the dramas "Ippon Gatana Dohy˘ Iri" and "T˘kaid˘ Yotsuya Kaidan".

  • Keya-mura: Rokusuke (Ichikawa Somegor˘), 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 (Ichikawa Kamejir˘) 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 the killer of her father, Rokusuke's master, and Rokusuke promises to help in her vendetta.
  • 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 Nakamura Fukusuke.
  • Sanja Matsuri: a vigorous dance starring Ichikawa Kamejir˘ and Ichikawa Somegor˘. It is based on dolls at the Sanja festival showing the founding of the temple at Asakusa when two fishermen found a golden image of the Kannon in their nets. In this case, the holy spirits that they encounter are two spheres with the characters for "good" and "evil" on them, and the spirits possess the two and animate them into a lively dance.
  • Kioi Jishi: this dance shows an Edo festival with its lively lion dance and other entertainments. The festival is full of handsome firemen and attractive geisha who do a series of graceful dances. One of the highlights of this dance is the story of the Soga brothers avenging the death of their father by attacking their enemy during a hunting party for the Sh˘gun at the foot of Mt. Fuji. Featuring Nakamura Kash˘ and Nakamura Kinnosuke.
  • Ippon Gatana Dohy˘ Iri: this is a modern play by Hasegawa Shin and shows Komagata Mohŕ (Nakamura Kichiemon), a starving, would-be sum˘ wrestler. He encounters a courtesan Otsuta (Nakamura Shibajaku), who gives him her purse and hair ornaments and makes him promise to become a champion sum˘ wrestler. In turn, she promises to go see him make his ceremonial entry into the ring. But ten years later, Mohŕ has become a gangster instead. Now a powerful fighter, he rescues Otsuta and her family. Ironically, this has become the only way that he can repay her kindness and the shameful form that his entry into the ring has taken.
  • Yotsuya Kaidan: Iemon, a villainous masterless samurai (Nakamura Kichiemon) is in love with Oiwa (Nakamura Fukusuke) and even kills her father to be united with her, cynically promising to help her to avenge her father's death. But at the same time, the granddaughter of a wealthy doctor falls in love with him and her grandfather tries to ensure the match by sending a horrible disfiguring poison to Oiwa. In the most famous scene of the play, face destroyed, hair falling out, Oiwa carefully dresses and puts on make-up to pay a proper visit to those who have wronged her. Iemon kills Oiwa and his servant Kohei (Nakamura Fukusuke), has their bodies nailed to a door and thrown into the river. Iemon is happily married into the wealthy family, but no sooner does the beautiful young bride arrive than Oiwa's ghost causes Iemon to kill her. The vengeful ghosts do not rest until all of their enemies are dead and, in another famous scene, Oiwa and Kohei appear floating on the river, calling out to Iemon. The concluding scene shows the ghost of Oiwa appearing mysteriously from inside a paper lantern and pulling her enemies into the wall and disappearing magically. Featuring Nakamura Shibajaku, Ichikawa Somegor˘ and Ichikawa Danshir˘ in the roles of Oiwa's sister Osode, Sat˘ Yomoshichi and Naosuke Gonbŕ.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Sh˘chikuza (ďsaka)
    Dates 4 ~ 27 May 2008 (Super Kabuki)
    Program Yamato Takeru
    Casting

    Ichikawa Ukon, Ichikawa Danjir˘, Ichikawa Emiya, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Shun'en, Ichikawa En'ya, Ichikawa Juen, Kaneda Ryűnosuke

    Comments

    Ichikawa Ennosuke's troupe of young and talented actors perform a modern style of theater, which they created a few years ago and called "Super Kabuki" (SűpÔ Kabuki in Chikamatsu Monzaemon's lingo): it's spectacular (lots of chűnori), the costums are gorgeous and ultra-sophisticated, the music is modern, the texts are easy to understand and the plots are as twisted as a good Kabuki classic. Usually a big commercial success! "Yamato Takeru" was the first SűpÔ Kabuki drama of the Omodakaya guild and the most successful one. For this revival, the leading role of Yamato Takeru is played by both Ichikawa Danjir˘ and Ichikawa Ukon.

    Ichikawa Ennosuke is on sick leave and does not perform in this production.

    Wahha Kamigata Engei Hall (ďsaka)
    Dates 24 ~ 25 May 2008 (Miyoshi no Kai)
    Program

    Date Kurabe Okuni Kabuki (Miuri no Kasane)

    ďkyo no Yűrei

    Casting

    Kamimura Kichiya

    Comments

    Fourth edition of the program of the association Miyoshi no Kai, which stars the young and talented actor Kamimura Kichiya.

    Minamiza (Ky˘to)
    Dates 27 ~ 28 May 2008 (Sanky˘kai)
    MatinÚe

    Chikubushima

    Tsukimi Zat˘

    Funa Benkei

    Adachi-ga-Hara

    Evening

    Gonin Sanbas˘

    Funa Benkei

    Adachi-ga-Hara

    Casting

    Ichikawa Kamejir˘, Kataoka Takatar˘, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Nakamura Baishi, Nakamura Kazutar˘

    Comments

    Special program of the Sanky˘kai, an experimental group led by three musicians: Kamei Hirotada, Tanaka Denzaemon XIII and Tanaka Denjir˘ VII. The programs of the Sanky˘kai mixes actors and musicians from the Kabuki, and Ky˘gen world.

     
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