MARCH 2008

5 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, National Theatre, Shinbashi Enbuj˘, Uchisaiwai Hall), 1 in Ky˘to (Minamiza) and 2 tours (Kabuki Forum, Kabuki Kansh˘ Ky˘shitsu)!

Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
Dates 2 ~ 26 March 2008 (Sangatsu ďkabuki)
MatinÚe

Haru no Kotobuki

  • Sanbas˘
  • Manzai
  • Yashiki Musume
  • Ichi-no-Tani Futaba Gunki
    (Jinmon, Kumiuchi)

    Onna Date

    Kuruwa Bunsh˘ (Yoshidaya)

    Evening

    Gozonji Suzu-ga-Mori

    Ky˘ganoko Musume D˘j˘ji

    Edo Sodachi Omatsuri Sashichi

    Casting

    Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Sakata T˘jűr˘, Onoe Kikugor˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Kataoka Nizaemon, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Tomijűr˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Kaishun, Kataoka Gat˘, Nakamura Kanjaku, Nakamura Senjaku, Kataoka Ainosuke, Kataoka Takatar˘, Nakamura Fukusuke, Ichikawa Sadanji, Band˘ Takesabur˘, Nakamura Kash˘, Kataoka Shinnosuke

    Comments

  • Sanbas˘: the sanbas˘ is an auspicious dance based on the ritual play "Okina" in the classical theater which shows an old man as a symbol of longevity and the energetic Sanbas˘ as a symbol of fertility and prosperity. With Kataoka Gat˘ as the Okina, his son Kataoka Shinnosuke as the Senzai attendant and Nakamura Kash˘ and Nakamura Kanjaku as the Sanbas˘.
  • Manzai: Manzai are performers with hand drums that would go from door to door at the New Year to perform auspicious songs and dances. This dance shows the lively songs of the Manzai, here performed by Nakamura Baigyoku.
  • Yashiki Musume: this dance shows two young women who are service at a samurai mansion and are excitedly going home for their one break in service for the year. Starring Nakamura Senjaku and Kataoka Takatar˘.
  • Jinmon/Kumiuchi: one of the greatest stories from the Japanese tradition is the encounter of the Genji warrior Kumagai and the young Heike general Atsumori. Although they are enemies, Kumagai would like to spare Atsumori because he is the same age as his own son, but the necessities of wartime force him to kill Atsumori nonetheless and this experience fills Kumagai with disgust at warfare and makes him become a priest. This Kabuki version of the story is filled with plot twists to emphasize the pathos of the situation. Starring Ichikawa Danjűr˘ as Kumagai and Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘ as Atsumori, with Nakamura Kaishun as Atsumori's lover Princess Tamaori.
  • Onna Date: Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘ stars as a woman in the pleasure quarters who swaggers and fights in the finest gallant style but who has a delicate sense of femininity as well.
  • Yoshidaya: the roots of this play go back to the earliest days of Kabuki. Izaemon, the son of a wealthy family, has been disowned for loving a courtesan and now has nothing but a paper kimono. This role is a classic example of the wagoto or soft style of acting that is one of the representative acting styles of the Kansai region. Kataoka Nizaemon stars as Izaemon, a role that is a specialty of his family's Kansai acting style. Featuring Nakamura Fukusuke as his lover, the courtesan Yűgiri, Ichikawa Sadanji and Kataoka Hidetar˘ as the proprietor and proprietress of the Yoshidaya teahouse and Kataoka Ainosuke as a comic entertainer in the pleasure quarters.
  • Gozonji Suzu-ga-Mori: The young samurai Shirai Gonpachi (the Living National Treasure Nakamura Shikan) is ambushed near the execution grounds of Edo on a dark night, but he manages to escape after a gruesome but humorous fight scene. He is watched by Banzuiin Ch˘bŕ (the Living National Treasure Nakamura Tomijűr˘), an Edo boss, who is impressed with his fighting skills and agrees to give him shelter in the city. This meeting between the handsome young Gonpachi and the heroic Ch˘bŕ is one of the most famous meetings in Kabuki.
  • 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. This monthĺs production stars Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, who performs his kiju kinen dance, as the maiden and also features a rare performance of the second part of the dance where the maiden appears as a serpent and is pushed back by a powerful hero played in the bombastic aragoto style. Ichikawa Danjűr˘ appears as the hero ďdate Samagor˘ Teruhide and aragoto is the specialty of his acting family.
  • Omatsuri Sashichi: the fireman Sashichi (Onoe Kikugor˘) is in love with the geisha Koito (Nakamura Tokiz˘), but their happiness is ruined by Koito's greedy mother and her constant schemes to get money from them. Her plots go too far when she claims that Koito's true father murdered Sashichi's father. Already angered by what he thinks are Koito's broken promises, Sashichi attacks her on a rainy night in a famous killing scene. Also featuring Kataoka Nizaemon.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 11 March 2008 (Kabuki Kansh˘ Ky˘shitsu)
    Program

    Ashiya D˘man ďuchi Kagami (Kuzu-no-Ha)

    Casting

    Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Tanetar˘

    Comments

    First edition of a spring educational program, sponsored by the National Theatre and called Kabuki Kansh˘ Ky˘shitu ("Kabuki appreciation class"). It is first staged at the National Theatre then it is followed by a short tour.

    Kuzu-no-Ha: Abe no Yasuna, a court astrologer in disgrace, has married a beautiful woman named Kuzu-no-Ha, not knowing that she is actually a fox that has taken human form to repay his kindness in saving his life. The couple has a child and lives happily together until the real woman whose form the fox borrowed appears. Knowing that she can no longer stay, Kuzu-no-Ha writes a tearful farewell poem on the paper screen and returns to the wilderness. Starring Nakamura Shibajaku as Kuzu-no-Ha and Nakamura Tanetar˘ as Yasuna.

    Kabuki Kansh˘ Ky˘shitsu
    Dates 14 ~ 21 March 2008
    Program

    Ashiya D˘man ďuchi Kagami (Kuzu-no-Ha)

    Casting

    Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Tanetar˘

    Comments

    This short tour goes through the National Theatre in Okinawa (14~17 March) and the Shimin Kaikan in Ishigaki (20~21 March).

    Kuzu-no-Ha: Abe no Yasuna, a court astrologer in disgrace, has married a beautiful woman named Kuzu-no-Ha, not knowing that she is actually a fox that has taken human form to repay his kindness in saving his life. The couple has a child and lives happily together until the real woman whose form the fox borrowed appears. Knowing that she can no longer stay, Kuzu-no-Ha writes a tearful farewell poem on the paper screen and returns to the wilderness. Starring Nakamura Shibajaku as Kuzu-no-Ha and Nakamura Tanetar˘ as Yasuna.

    Minamiza (Ky˘to)
    Dates 6 ~ 25 March 2008
    Program

    Botantei

    Y˘kihi

    Casting

    Band˘ Tamasabur˘

    Comments

    "Botantei" is a new creation initiated by the star Band˘ Tamasabur˘ and based on the famous Chinese Opera "The Peony Pavilion". The lyrics were written by Yumemakura Baku, who worked in 1991 with Band˘ Tamasabur˘ for the creation of "Y˘kihi", which is also staged to end this program. Band˘ Tamasabur˘ shares the stage with performers of Kunqu, one of the oldest forms of Chinese opera which originated in the Suzhou region. This program will be staged in May 2008 in Beijing (China).

    Uchisaiwai Hall (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 26 March 2008
    Program

    Ch˘ no Michiyuki

    Fuji Musume

    Ningyo no Koi (Yaobikuni)

    Casting

    Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Ky˘ju, Nakamura Ky˘sumi, Nakamura Ky˘yuki

    Comments

    The two first items are classic dances, which are performed by Nakamura Shibajaku's disciples. The last item, "Ningyo no Koi" ("The Love of a Mermaid"), is a new creation, a Kabuki hitori shibai (one man Kabuki show), which is about Yaobikuni, the octo-centenarian nun. This story is an old folk tale from the country of Wakasa. Yaohime, the daughter of a rich man, is afraid of getting old. She eats mermaids flesh, which allows her to be young and live forever. However, she finds immortality a very hard thing to have. Over the centuries, she marries too many men only to see their deaths. Suffering too much, she becomes a nun and goes on a pilgrimage to remove her mermaid-eating sin.

    Shinbashi Enbuj˘ (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 5 ~ 25 March 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.

    Kabuki Forum
    Dates 17 ~ 25 March 2008
    Program

    Kabuki no Oto (workshop)

    Anma to Dorob˘

    R˘go no Masaoka

    Casting

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    Comments

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