MAY 2010

2 in ďsaka (Sh˘chikuza), 3 shows in T˘ky˘ (Shinbashi Enbuj˘, National Theatre), 2 in Nagoya (Misonoza) and 1 in Ky˘to (Shunjűza)!

Sh˘chikuza (ďsaka)
Dates 4 ~ 28 May 2010 (Dankikusai Gogatsu ďkabuki)
MatinÚe

Sesshű Gapp˘-ga-Tsuji (Gapp˘ Anshitsu)

Kanjinch˘

Kumo ni Magou Ueno no Hatsuhana (K˘chiyama)

Evening

Honch˘ Nijűshik˘ (Jusshuk˘)

Meisaku Hidari Kogatana (Ky˘ Ningy˘)

Tsuyu Kosode Mukashi Hachij˘ (Kamiyui Shinza)

Casting

Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Onoe Kikugor˘, Sakata T˘jűr˘, Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Ichikawa Danz˘, Nakamura T˘z˘, Kawarasaki Gonjűr˘, Ichimura Manjir˘, Ichimura Kakitsu, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Band˘ Shűch˘, Nakamura Baishi, Onoe Ukon, Band˘ Minosuke, Nakamura Mantar˘

Comments

As the Kabukiza was closed at the end of April 2010, the traditional May dankikusai will be held for the very first time in Kabuki history outside T˘ky˘ ... in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza:

  • Gapp˘ Anshitsu: frequently performed in Kabuki, this play shows the scandalous theme of a mother's passion for her son. Tamate Gozen (Onoe Kikunosuke) has become the second wife of a great lord, but has fallen in love with one of her stepsons, Shuntokumaru (Nakamura Tokiz˘). He has fled the mansion and now, disfigured by a strange illness, has taken refuge in the house of Tamate Gozen's parents. Tamate Gozen appears declaring her love and, enraged, her father Gapp˘ (Band˘ Mitsugor˘) stabs her. On the point of death, Tamate Gozen reveals that this was the only way that she could save the lives of her stepsons.
  • 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 Living National Treasures Sakata T˘jűr˘ and Onoe Kikugor˘ as Yoshitsune and the barrier keeper Togashi.
  • K˘chiyama: the tea priest K˘chiyama (Band˘ Mitsugor˘) is a skilled thief and extortionist, but cannot turn down a request to help those in need. He disguises himself as a high-ranking priest to try to gain the freedom of a girl held by a powerful samurai lord (Nakamura Kinnosuke) because she will not become his mistress. Using the famous poetic cadences of the late 19th century playwright Mokuami, K˘chiyama not only succeeds in his mission to rescue the girl, but he manages to extort a fair amount for himself. Featuring also Ichikawa Danz˘ and Nakamura T˘z˘.
  • Jusshuk˘: Princess Yaegaki is mourning the death of his fiance Katsuyori, but as she burns incense in his memory, she notices the resemblance between the new gardener and her fiance's portrait. The gardener is in fact Katsuyori, who has entered the household of Yaegaki's father to regain the possession of a stolen family treasure, a famous helmet, with the help of Nureginu, a woman who also mourns for the man that died in the place of the real Katsuyori. Unfortunately, Yaegaki's father has also seen through the disguise and plans to kill Katsuyori. The role of Princess Yaegaki, one of the most important onnagata roles, is played by Nakamura Tokiz˘, supported by Nakamura Kinnosuke, Onoe Kikunosuke and Ichikawa Danz˘ in the roles of Katsuyori, Nureginu and Nagao Kenshin.
  • 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 Band˘ Mitsugor˘ as Jingor˘ and Onoe Kikunosuke as the doll of the courtesan.
  • Kamiyui Shinza: Shinza is a barber that goes from door to door, but at the same time, he is a villain that kidnaps Okuma, the beautiful daughter of a wealthy household, and even resists the efforts of Yatagor˘ Genshichi, the most prestigious strongman in town, to get her release. Starring Onoe Kikugor˘ as Shinza, Nakamura Baishi as Okuma, Nakamura Tokiz˘ as Chűshichi and Ichikawa Danjűr˘ as Yatagor˘ Genshichi.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Shinbashi Enbuj˘ (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 4 ~ 28 May 2010 (Gogatsu Hanagata Kabuki)
    MatinÚe

    Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami (Terakoya)

    Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura (Yoshinoyama)

    Shin Sarayashiki Tsuki no Amagasa
    (Sakanaya S˘gor˘)

    Omatsuri

    Evening

    Ichi-no-Tani Futaba Gunki (Kumagai Jin'ya)

    Ukare B˘zu

    Sukeroku Yukari no Edo Zakura

    Casting

    Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Fukusuke, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Kantar˘, Nakamura Karoku

    Comments

  • Terakoya: Genz˘ and his wife Tonami run a small school and are protecting Kan Sh˘j˘'s son and heir, saying that he is their son. However, word has gotten out Kan Sh˘j˘'s son is there and Genz˘ has been ordered to behead him. Moreover, Matsu˘maru is to come to inspect the head. Their only alternative is to kill one of the other students as a substitute, but all of the students are farmer's children who could never pass for the son of a court aristocrat. However, a new boy arrives that day and Genz˘ makes the terrible decision to kill him in the place of his lord. As it turns out, Matsu˘maru has sent his own son to be sacrificed, because of his family's long loyalty to Kan Sh˘j˘. But he must face the most terrible situation for a father, inspecting the head of his own son and lying when he says that it is the genuine head of the son of Kan Sh˘j˘. Finally Matsu˘maru reveals his true feelings to Genz˘ and he and his wife Chiyo mourn their dead son. Starring Ichikawa Ebiz˘ as Matsu˘maru, Ichikawa Somegor˘ as Genz˘, Nakamura Kantar˘ as Chiyo and Nakamura Shichinosuke as Tonami.
  • Yoshinoyama: a dance travel scene from the epic "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura". Now in exile and disgrace, Yoshitsune has left his lover Shizuka in the safekeeping of his trusted retainer Tadanobu. But she is unaware that this Tadanobu is actually a magical fox who has disguised himself to be near the treasured drum that Shizuka carries, a drum made from the skins of his fox parents. Starring Nakamura Kantar˘ as Tadanobu, with Nakamura Fukusuke as Shizuka.
  • Sakanaya S˘gor˘: S˘gor˘ (Onoe Sh˘roku), a fish seller, has taken a vow to not drink, but when he learns about his sister's unjust murder at the hands of a daimy˘ lord (Ichikawa Ebiz˘), a death that they were told was execution for her wrongdoing, he starts to drink again. Drunk, he storms into the lord's mansion to seek an apology. This play by Meiji playwright Kawatake Mokuami is known for its realistic portrayal of members of the common class during the Edo period and highlights their fierce pride and frustration at the privileges of the dominant samurai class. Featuring Nakamura Shibajaku in the role of S˘gor˘'s wife Ohama.
  • Omatsuri: Ichikawa Somegor˘ as a gallant fireman boss at a festival telling a rueful tale of failure in love and showing the vigorous work songs of firefighters.
  • Kumagai Jin'ya: this play is a dramatization of the clash between the Genji general Kumagai Jir˘ Naozane and the Heike warrior Taira no Atsumori at the battle of Ichi-no-Tani, one of the most famous passages of the epic "Tales of the Heike". In the Kabuki version, on the cryptic orders of the Genji leader Yoshitsune, Kumagai hides the enemy warrior Atsumori and has his own son take the warrior's place. On the battlefield, Kumagai has to kill his own son in Atsumori's place. Things become worse when his wife Sagami and Atsumori's mother Fuji-no-Kata arrive at his camp. In the highlight of the play, he tells them the story of his mortal battle with Atsumori, keeping Atsumori's well-being and his own sacrifice a secret. He then shows the head of Atsumori for inspection by his leader to see if he has interpreted his orders correctly. This performance stars Ichikawa Somegor˘ as Kumagai, with Nakamura Shichinosuke as Kumagai's wife Sagami, Ichikawa Ebiz˘ as Yoshitsune and Nakamura Karoku as Midaroku.
  • Ukare B˘zu: Onoe Sh˘roku appears in the complex and spectacular dance "Ukare B˘zu" which shows a low-class priest who goes from door to door begging for contributions wearing nothing but a thin robe and carrying a bucket to douse himself with cold water as an austere practice for the salvation of those that give him money.
  • Sukeroku: the dandy Sukeroku is the most famous patron of the Yoshiwara pleasure quarters. But his reputation as the lover of Agemaki, the highest ranking courtesan in the quarter is matched by that of his tendency to pick fights. In fact, Sukeroku is the samurai Soga no Gor˘ in disguise, and he uses the fights to find a lost heirloom sword. His search takes place in the colorful atmosphere of the Yoshiwara where processions of beautiful courtesans compete with the splendor of cherry blossoms in full bloom. All the top stars in Kabuki appear in a procession of beautiful, exciting and amusing roles. Starring Ichikawa Ebiz˘ and Nakamura Fukusuke as Hanakawado Sukeroku and Miuraya Agemaki. Featuring also Nakamura Karoku in the role of Ikyű. The rare mizuiri scene will be staged at the end of this drama, with Ichikawa Ebiz˘ immersing himself in a barrel of real water.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Misonoza (Nagoya)
    Dates 5 ~ 28 April 2010 (Gogatsu Hanagata ďkabuki)
    MatinÚe

    Otoko no Hanamichi

    Tachi Nusubito

    Evening

    Natsu Matsuri Naniwa Kagami

  • Sumiyoshi Torii Mae
  • Tsuribune Sabu Uchi
  • Nagamachi Ura
  • Kumo no Ito Azusa no Yumihari

    Casting

    Ichikawa Danshir˘, Nakamura Kanjaku, Ichikawa Kamejir˘, Kataoka Ainosuke, Band˘ Takesabur˘, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Omez˘, Kamimura Kichiya, Nakamura Kikaku, Band˘ Shinsha, Nakamura Tanetar˘

    Comments

  • Otoko no Hanamichi: this is a stage version of a popular movie. It is about the famous Kabuki actor, Kagaya Utaemon (Ichikawa Kamejir˘). When he is about to lose his eyesight, he is saved when he happens to meet a doctor (Ichikawa Danshir˘) who knows Western medicine at his inn. The two become fast friends. Several years later, when Utaemon is now the top star of the Kabuki theater, he gets an urgent summons from the doctor and the actor is faced with the dilemma of whether he should go to his friend and benefactor, even if it means missing his all important appearance on stage. Featuring also Kataoka Ainosuke, Band˘ Takesabur˘ and Ichikawa Monnosuke.
  • Tachi Nusubito: the farces of the classical Ky˘gen theater have universal appeal, showing the relationships of masters and servants and husbands and wives. In this particular dance play, a farmer named Manbŕ (Kataoka Ainosuke) carries a precious sword, which is made of gold. The thief Kurobŕ (Nakamura Kanjaku) quietly removes the sword from Manbŕ in a crowd. When Manbŕ finds his sword missing and notices Kurobŕ wearing it, a loud dispute ensues. Manbŕ and Kurobŕ must both explain who owns the sword, first in words, then in dance to a magistrate (Ichikawa Omez˘), who must try to figure out who tells the truth.
  • 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 Kataoka Ainosuke as Danshichi, with Nakamura Kikaku, Nakamura Kanjaku and Ichikawa Kamejir˘ as Tokubŕ, Sabu and Otatsu.
  • Kumo no Ito: this spectacular hengemono is about the warlord Minamoto Raik˘, who is confined to bed with illness in his palace. His devoted retainers are on night watch. The spirit of a spider, which has caused Raik˘'s illness in the first place, tries to enter the palace and hopes to destroy Raik˘. The spirit of this evil spider transforms itself in different people: a tea-bringing young servant girl, a medicine peddler, a shinz˘ and a zat˘ expert in sendai j˘ruri. At the end, this spirit appears as the beautiful and gorgeous keisei Usugumodayű, who sneaks in Raik˘'s sleeping room and tries to seduce him. Fortunately for Raik˘, his retainers can intervene in the nick of time and defeat the spider, which furiously throws out streamers of long, sticky web-like threads. Starring Ichikawa Kamejir˘ in the 6 roles of this hengemono. Featuring Ichikawa Monnosuke and Kataoka Ainosuke in the roles of Minamoto Raik˘ and Hirai Yasumasa.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide website
    Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website for "Otoko no Hanamichi"

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 13 ~ 22 May 2010 (Zenshinza Gogatsu K˘en)
    Program

    K˘j˘

    Musume Gonomi Ukina no Yokogushi (Kirare Otomi)

    Casting

    Nakamura Umenosuke, Arashi Keishi, Kawarasaki Kunitar˘, Fujikawa Yanosuke, Arashi Yoshisabur˘, Yamazaki Tatsusabur˘, Nakamura Seinosuke, Anegawa Shinnosuke, Ikushima Kigor˘, Matsunami Kihachir˘

    Comments

    Arashi Hironari takes the name of Arashi Yoshisabur˘ VII, playing the role of Yosabur˘ in the drama "Kirare Otomi".

  • 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 Zenshinza stars of the cast assemble to celebrate the shűmei of Arashi Yoshisabur˘ VII.
  • Kirare Otomi: there are many plays in Kabuki that take some famous classic and change it around so that a very masculine character becomes a female character with both the strength of the original and a feminine delicacy and grace. The story of scarfaced Yosabur˘ is popular in Kabuki. Yosabur˘ is the handsome young son of a wealthy family, but he falls in love with Otomi, the mistress of a gang boss and ends up being cut up and tossed overboard at sea, together with Otomi. He survives, terribly scarred, and becomes a criminal. He goes to blackmail a woman who seems to be kept by a wealthy merchant only to discover that it is Otomi. In this version, it is Otomi that is scarred and who becomes a blackmailer. Starring Kawarasaki Kunitar˘ as Otomi, Nakamura Umenosuke as the gang boss and Arashi Yoshisabur˘ as Yosabur˘.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Shunjűza (Ky˘to)
    Dates 8 May 2010
    Program

    Hashi Benkei

    Sagami Ama

    Casting Ichikawa Danjir˘, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa K˘tar˘, Ichikawa Enshi
    Comments

    A short Buy˘ program with 4 actors from the Omodakaya guild.

     
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