MAY 2014

5 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, National Theatre, Meijiza), 1 shows in Ky˘to (Minamiza) and 1 tour (New Green Leaves)!!

Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
Dates 1 ~ 25 May 2014 (Dankikusai Gogatsu ďkabuki)
Dankikusai May Grand Kabuki
MatinÚe

Kenuki

Kanjinch˘

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

Evening

Ya-no-Ne

Kiwametsuki Banzui Ch˘bŕ

Shunky˘ Kagami Jishi

Casting

Onoe Kikugor˘, Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Shibajaku, Onoe Sh˘roku, Ichikawa Sadanji, Sawamura Tanosuke, Ichikawa Danz˘, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, ďtani Tomoemon, Ichikawa Unosuke, Ichimura Kakitsu, Kawarazaki Gonjűr˘, Ichimura Manjir˘, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Band˘ Shűch˘, Band˘ Kamesabur˘, Band˘ Kametoshi, Kataoka Matsunosuke, Nakamura Matsue, Nakamura Baishi, Band˘ Minosuke, Nakamura Mantar˘, ďtani Hiromatsu, Onoe Ukon, Ichikawa Otora, Ichimura Kitsutar˘

Comments

The Dankikusai May Grand Kabuki performances is back at the Kabukiza after 5 years of absence (it was staged for the last time in May 2008). Due to the closing/opening ceremonies at the Kabukiza, the non-availability of this theater or the passing away of late Ichikawa Danjűr˘, it was either staged in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza (in May 2010 and May 2011) or not produced at all. It celebrates the first anniversary of the passing away of Ichikawa Danjűr˘ XII:

  • Kenuki: in this play, which retains the light, festive atmosphere of early-period Kabuki, a princess has a mysterious ailment that makes her hair stand on end, an ailment that prevents her from carrying out her long-awaited marriage. Kumedera Danj˘ comes from the groom's household to investigate and finds a plot to take over the household when his tweezers float in mid-air. Ichikawa Sadanji stars in a play that features the bombastic aragoto style of acting that is a specialty of his family. Featuring also Ichikawa Danz˘, ďtani Tomoemon, Band˘ Shűch˘ and Kawarazaki Gonjűr˘.
  • 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 Ebiz˘ in the role of Benkei, with Nakamura Shibajaku and Onoe Kikunosuke as Yoshitsune and the barrier keeper Togashi.
  • Sakanaya S˘gor˘: S˘gor˘ (Onoe Kikugor˘), 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, 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 also Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Ichikawa Danz˘, Ichimura Manjir˘ and Ichikawa Sadanji.
  • Ya-no-Ne: like a picture come to life, this play combines the most exaggerated costumes and movements with leisurely humor. The aragoto hero Soga no Gor˘ is sharpening a giant arrow and sleeping in wishes of good fortune for the New Year when he sees his brother Jűr˘ in a dream asking him to come and rescue him. The two Soga brothers are part of one of the most popular vendetta stories in Kabuki, suffering for eighteen years before being able to avenge the death of their father. In this play, when Gor˘ finds out that his brother is in trouble, he jumps on the horse of a passing daikon vendor and, brandishing a giant daikon as a whip prepares to rush to his brother's side. Starring Onoe Sh˘roku and Living National Treasure Sawamura Tanosuke as Gor˘ and Jűr˘.
  • 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 Ebiz˘). 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 (Nakamura Tokiz˘) and son. Finally, Ch˘bŕ is killed when he is defenseless in the bath.
  • Kagami Jishi: one of the most important dances for onnagata female role specialists and is an audience favorite. The maidservant Yayoi performs an auspicious lion dance for the Sh˘gun in his opulent palace, but she gradually finds herself under the control of the lion spirit. In the second half of the dance, the lion spirit itself appears and performs its crazed dance among peonies and fluttering butterflies. Starring Onoe Kikunosuke as both Yayoi and the spirit of the lion.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Meijiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 May 2014 (Gogatsu Hanagata Kabuki)
    May Young Actors Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura
    (Torii Mae)

    Tsuri Onna

    Kantan Makura Monogatari (Rosei no Yume)

    Evening

    Haji Momiji Ase no Kaomise (Date no Jűyaku)

    Casting

    Ichikawa Somegor˘, Nakamura Kash˘, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Nakamura Karoku, Band˘ Takesabur˘, Nakamura Kikaku, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Nakamura Yonekichi, Nakamura Hayato, Nakamura Tanenosuke, Matsumoto Kingo, Sawamura S˘nosuke, ďtani Keiz˘, Nakamura Kotar˘, Nakamura Hayato, ďtani Hirotar˘, Nakamura Kichinosuke

    Comments

    A Kabuki program at the Meijiza with Ichikawa Somegor˘ as zagashira: he plays for the first time the 10 roles of "Date no Jűyaku" [Somegor˘'s interview]:

  • Torii Mae:
    (In Front of the Fushimi Inari Shrine)
    This is a short scene showing the troubles of Yoshitsune after his brother Yoritomo, the Sh˘gun, turns against him. Yoshitsune (Nakamura Hayato) is forced to flee from the troops sent by his brother Yoritomo. The trip will be hard and he decides he must leave behind his lover Shizuka Gozen (Nakamura Yonekichi), despite her passionate pleas to remain with him. As a reminder of himself, he presents her with a precious hand drum that he had received from the emperor. Yoshitsune's retainer Tadanobu (Nakamura Kash˘) rescues Shizuka from Yoritomo's troops and Yoshitsune decides to have Tadanobu protect her on the road, not knowing that this Tadanobu is actually a magical fox in disguise.
  • Tsuri Onna: a dance based on a classical Ky˘gen farce. A master (Ichikawa Komaz˘) longs for a wife and is told by the gods in a dream to go fishing for one. He is united with a beautiful princess (Nakamura Kazutar˘). His servant Tar˘kaja (Ichikawa Somegor˘) wants a wife as well, but when he goes fishing, is stuck with a very surprising companion, played by Nakamura Kikaku in a rare, humorous, female role.
  • Rosei no Yume: a rare drama, which is the Edo parody of a famous chinese tale, which is called the Tale of Lu Sheng. In this Edo version, Lu Sheng becomes Rosei, the nickname of Roya Seikichi. Lu Sheng was a young man who fell asleep and dreamed of glory but waked to find that the millet at his bedside had not even begun to boil. Rosei (Ichikawa Somegor˘) dreams of the pleasures of contemporary Edo: greeting sunrise in boat on Edo Bay, feasting in a famous restaurant, being entertained to classical music or joining the procession of top-rank courtesan under cherry-blossom. Featuring also Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Kikaku, Nakamura Kash˘, Sawamura S˘nosuke, Nakamura Yonekichi and Nakamura Kazutar˘.
  • 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 ten roles, male and female, young and old, villain and hero.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website, except "Rosei no Yume"

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 10 ~ 21 May 2014 (Zenshinza Gogatsu K˘en)
    Zenshinza May Performances
    Program

    Osome Hisamatsu Ukina no Yomiuri
    (Osome no Nanayaku)

    Casting

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

    Comments

    The usual Zenshinza May program at the National Theatre! The Zenshinza tateonnagata Kawarazaki Kunitar˘ performs 7 roles in Tsuruya Nanboku IV's masterpiece "Osome no Nanayaku".

  • Osome no Nanayaku:
    (The 7 roles of Osome)
    The story of the love suicide of Osome, the daughter of a wealthy merchant and Hisamatsu, a handsome young man that was an apprentice in her family's shop, is one of the most popular stories in Kabuki and was dramatized countless times. In 1813, Tsuruya Nanboku IV (1755~1829) wrote up this story as a showpiece for Iwai Hanshir˘ V, an onnagata specialist in female roles. One actor plays seven of the major roles in the play: Osome, Hisamatsu, the poor Osaku, Omitsu (Hisamatsu's official fiance), Hisamatsu's sister Takegawa, the geisha Koito, Osome's mother Teish˘ and a snake charmer named Oroku. The Onnagata Kawarazaki Kunitar˘ makes a virtuoso appearance in this play, acting in all seven roles, including the fastest on-stage fast change in all Kabuki. Also featuring Arashi Keishi as Oroku's fiance Kimon no Kihŕ.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Minamiza (Ky˘to)
    Dates 11 ~ 17 May 2014 (Kabuki Kansh˘ Ky˘shitsu)
    Kabuki Appreciation Class
    Program

    Mitsumen Komori

    Kaminari Send˘

    Casting

    Kamimura Kichiya, Kamimura Kichitar˘

    Comments

    22nd edition of a pedagogical show in Ky˘to combining explanation for beginners (done by the professional storyteller Katsura Kujaku) and two dance-dramas.

  • Mitsumen Komori:
    (The Babysitter with Three Masks)
    This short charming dance shows a young girl who is a babysitter and she entertains her charge with a series of games and dances. The highlight is when she does a short sketch with three comic masks which shows a romantic quarrel between the plump, homely woman Okame and the drunken god of prosperity Ebisu. Finally Hyottoko with his funny, twisted up mouth steps in to mediate the fight. Starring Kamimura Kichitar˘.
  • 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 female boatman and the thunder god carrying his drums and dressed in an animal skin loincloth. Starring Kamimura Kichiya as the female boatman Okichi.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    New Green Leaves Tour
    Dates 9 ~ 15 May 2014 (Shinroku Tokubetsu K˘en)
    New Green Leaves Special Performances
    Program

    Miyako Fűryű

    Geidan

    Tsuki no Maki

    Kishű D˘j˘ji

    Casting

    Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke

    Comments

    A special and short tour led by the heirs of the Nakamuraya guild. The second item (geidan) in this program is a talk about art. All the others items are dances.

     
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