MARCH 2007

3 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, National Theatre) and 1 in Ky˘to (Minamiza)!

Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
Dates 2 ~ 26 March 2007 (Sangatsu ďkabuki)
MatinÚe

Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura

  • Torii Mae
  • Tokaiya
  • Funayagura
  • Daimotsu no Ura
  • Michiyuki Hatsune no Tabi
  • Evening

    Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura

  • Ko-no-Mi
  • Kokingo Uchijini
  • Sushiya
  • Kawatsura H˘gen Yakata
  • Okuniwa
  • Casting

    Onoe Kikugor˘, Kataoka Nizaemon, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Kataoka Gat˘, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Ichikawa Sadanji, Nakamura Senjaku, Nakamura Fukusuke, Kataoka Takatar˘, Sawamura Tanosuke, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Nakamura T˘z˘, Nakamura Karoku, Ichikawa Komaz˘

    Comments

    March at Kabukiza features a full-length performance of one of the great classics of Kabuki, "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura" (Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees). This is an epic story about the famous 12th century general Yoshitsune fleeing from the wrath of his brother Yoritomo, after the end of the war. Although Yoshitsune is the title character, the main characters of the play are actually Tomomori, Gonta and Tadanobu, the heroes of the different sections of the play. This month's production features top stars in all of these roles, with Matsumoto K˘shir˘ as the boatman Ginpei, actually the great general Tomomori who appears as a fearsome ghost and Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘ as the magical fox Tadanobu. The first half of the evening program features Kataoka Nizaemon as Gonta, the villainous son of a sushi shop owner and will emphasize the distinctive Kamigata style of acting which is very close to the original form of this play as puppet theatre. Also featuring Living National Treasures Nakamura Shikan and Sakata T˘jűr˘ in key roles.

  • Torii Mae: (In Front of the Fushimi Inari Shrine)
    Yoshitsune (Nakamura Baigyoku) is forced to flee from the troops sent by his brother Yoritomo. The trip will be hard and he decides that he must leave behind his lover Shizuka Gozen (Nakamura Fukusuke), 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 (Onoe Kikugor˘) rescues Shizuka from Yoritomo's troops and Yoshitsune decides to leave her in his care.
  • Tokaiya/Daimotsu no Ura: (Tokaiya Inn and Daimotsu Bay)
    Yoshitsune (Nakamura Baigyoku) books passage on a boat to Kyűshű, but the captain is actually Taira no Tomomori (Matsumoto K˘shir˘), 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 (Sakata T˘jűr˘). 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.
  • Michiyuki Hatsune no Tabi: the matinee program closes witha musical travel scene. Hearing that Yoshitsune has taken refuge in the mountains of Yoshino, Tadanobu (Onoe Kikugor˘) and Shizuka (Nakamura Shikan) go to try to meet him there. Although Tadanobu keeps disappearing, he always appears when Shizuka plays the precious drum that she received from Yoshitsune. In dance Tadanobu recounts episodes from the Genpei war, including the battle in which his brother died.
  • Ko-no-Mi/Kokingo Uchijini: (The Chestnut Tree and the Death of Kokingo)
    Wakaba-no-Naishi(Nakamura T˘z˘), the wife of the Heike commander Koremori, travels with her young son and their retainer Kokingo (Nakamura Senjaku), searching for her husband. While resting in a small mountain village, they are met by Gonta (Kataoka Nizaemon), a local bully who skillfully cons them out of their money. Later they are set upon by Genji forces, and in a spectacular fight scene, Kokingo sacrifices himself to save his mistress and her son.
  • Sushiya: (The Sushi Shop)
    Gonta's father Yazaemon (Ichikawa Sadanji) runs a sushi shop, but was formerly a retainer of Taira no Koremori. With his clan defeated, Koremori (Nakamura Tokiz˘) now lives with Yazaemon's family disguised as a humble apprentice. Innocently, Yazaemon's daughter, Osato (Kataoka Takatar˘) is in love with him. But knowing of the bounty on Koremori's head, her brother Gonta kills him and turns his wife and child over to the Genji commander. Furious at his son, Yazaemon stabs him, but before his death, Gonta reveals that he only pretended to kill Koremori and sacrificed his own wife and son to save the real Koremori and his family.
  • Kawatsura H˘gen Yakata: Yoshitsune (Nakamura Baigyoku) has taken refuge in the mountains of Yoshino at the mansion of an old ally. Tadanobu (Onoe Kikugor˘) arrives but has no recollection of Shizuka being placed under his care. Shizuka (Nakamura Fukusuke) herself soon arrives with the other Tadanobu and after an investigation they discover that he is actually a fox (Onoe Kikugor˘). In a touching story, the fox tells how he took on human form to be close to the hand drum which is made from the skins of his fox parents.
  • Okuniwa: The Heike warrior Noritsune (Matsumoto K˘shir˘), who is disguised as a priest, tries to attack the mansion. He has to face a pack of foxes and Yoshitsune's followers. He is easily captured, but Yoshitsune orders his release on one condition: Tadanobu will challenge the Heike warrior later to a duel to avenge the death of Tadanobu's brother, who was killed by Noritsune.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 9 ~ 25 March 2007
    Program

    Hachisu no Ito Koi no Mandara

    Casting

    Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Ichikawa Danjir˘, Ichikawa Ukon, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Juen, Ichikawa Shun'en, Ichikawa En'ya

    Comments

    (Threads of the Lotus Blossom: The Mandala of Love). A newly-created drama, starring Band˘ Tamasabur˘ and Ichikawa Danjir˘ in the roles of Hatsuse and H˘jumaru. The theme of the play is very old, but the playwright has a very contemporary concern with the role of Buddhism in today's world. There is an ancient legend about a woman named Princess Chűj˘ who was tormented by her stepmother and finally went to Taima Temple and miraculously wove a mandala, a pictorial depiction of the universe of Pure Land Buddhism. The story of Princess Chűj˘ has been dramatized in traditional theatre many times before, but usually focuses on her torment at the hands of her stepmother. The current dramatization emphasizes the incestuous passion of H˘jumaru and Princess Chűj˘'s (Hatsuse) steps toward going to Taima Temple with a balance of human passion and Buddhist miracles.

    Minamiza (Ky˘to)
    Dates 2 ~ 24 March 2007 (Sangatsu Hanagata Kabuki)
    Program

    Kiritar˘ Tengű no Sakamori

    Casting

    Nakamura Hashinosuke, Kataoka Ainosuke, Nakamura Kantar˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke

    Comments

    "Kiritar˘ the Tengűĺs Drinking Party", an action-filled play, is being staged for the first time in a hundred and eleven years in a revival at Ky˘toĺs Minamiza. Set in the Kamakura period, the play deals with Kiritar˘ the tengű (a mountain goblin), who tries to overthrow the legitimate Minamoto clan using his supernatural powers. Nakamura Hashinosuke will star in the role of Kiritar˘; Nakamura Kantar˘ plays H˘j˘ Yoshitoki; and Nakamura Shichinosuke plays the courtesan Sakuragi. Actors fly across the stage in a performance packed with the stunning special effects Kabuki is famous for.

    Source: Kabuki event info's website

     
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