MARCH 2009

4 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, National Theatre, Shinbashi Enbuj˘)!

Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
Dates 2 ~ 26 March 2009 (Sangatsu ďkabuki)
Kabukiza Sayonara K˘en
MatinÚe

Genroku Chűshingura

  • Edoj˘ no Ninj˘
  • Saigo no Daihy˘j˘
  • Ohama Goten Tsunatoyo-ky˘
  • Evening

    Genroku Chűshingura

  • Nambuzaka no Yuki Wakare
  • Sengoku Yashiki
  • ďishi Saigo no Ichinichi
  • Casting

    Kataoka Nizaemon, Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Tomijűr˘, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Shibajaku, Kataoka Gat˘, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Fukusuke, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Nakamura T˘z˘, Nakamura Karoku, Ichikawa Somegor˘

    Comments

    3rd of the 16 Kabukiza Sayonara K˘en, the Kabukiza Farewell Performances, which will be held up to April 2010. Mayama Seika's Shinkabuki masterpiece "Genroku Chűshingura" is staged as a t˘shi ky˘gen but not in its integrity. The 6 most important parts are staged with the leading role of ďishi Kuranosuke performed by different stars: Matsumoto K˘shir˘ ("Saigo no Daihy˘j˘" and "ďishi Saigo no Ichinichi"), Kataoka Nizaemon ("Sengoku Yashiki") and Ichikawa Danjűr˘ ("Nambuzaka no Yuki Wakare"). There are few plays more popular in Kabuki than "Chűshingura" or the Treasury of the Forty-Seven Loyal Retainers, the story of a true incident when a samurai lord attacked another in the Sh˘gunĺs palace, was immediately sentenced to ritual suicide and his domain confiscated. After much hardship, forty-seven of the lordĺs retainers avenged their lordĺs death. When the event occurred, it was a sensation because it proved that despite a century of peace, samurai values had not disappeared completely. In the modern period, from 1934 to 1942 even as Japan was at war in China and then plunged in World War II, Mayama Seika (1878~1948) painstakingly reworked this play into "Genroku Chűshingura", a vast cycle of plays in ten parts focusing on different incidents and different characters in this revenge classic adding historical details reflecting the Genroku period.

  • Edoj˘ no Ninj˘:
    (The Attack in Edo Castle)
    This play begins right after the attack and follows the interrogation of Asano Takumi-no-Kami (Nakamura Baigyoku) by Tamura Uky˘dayű (Kataoka Gat˘) and culminates in Asanoĺs ritual suicide.
  • Saigo no Daihy˘j˘:
    (The Final Conference)
    The time to hand over the clanĺs castle has come and the members of the clan, led by chief retainer ďishi Kuranosuke (Matsumoto K˘shir˘), discuss what to do. Although he keeps his determination a secret, Kuranosuke decides that he will avenge his lordĺs death and he reveals this determination in a conversation with his old friend Iseki Tokubŕ (Nakamura Karoku). With Nakamura Kaishun as Kuranosukeĺs wife Oriku.
  • Ohama Goten Tsunatoyo-ky˘:
    (The Ohama Palace and Lord Tokugawa Tsunatoyo)
    One of the most popular parts of this play shows Tsunatoyo (Kataoka Nizaemon), who will be the next Sh˘gun, seemingly detached from the vendetta, but in fact, intensely interested in the progress of the quest of the band of loyal retainers. The play culminates in a confrontation between Tsunatoyo and Tominomori Sukeemon (Ichikawa Somegor˘), one of the retainers as Tsunatoyo tries to find out what the plans for the vendetta are. With Nakamura Shibajaku as Okiyo, Kataoka Hidetar˘ as Ejima and Living National Treasure Nakamura Tomijűr˘ as Tsunatoyoĺs teacher Arai Kageyű.
  • Nambuzaka no Yuki Wakare:
    (The Parting in the Snow at Nambuzaka)
    One snowy night, Kuranosuke (Ichikawa Danjűr˘) visits the widow of their lord and says that he plans to retire to the countryside. In fact, he has come to say a final farewell before the vendetta, but he cannot say this openly, since he is surrounded by spies. The widow of his lord scolds him severely for forgetting his master, before she realizes the truth. Featuring Living National Treasure Nakamura Shikan as Asanoĺs widow.
  • Sengoku Yashiki:
    (The Judgment at the Mansion of Lord Sengoku)
    After the successful attack on Kiraĺs mansion, the former retainers of Asano present themselves to the shogunate for judgment. Lord Sengoku (Nakamura Baigyoku), an official of the shogunate questions Kuranosuke (Kataoka Nizaemon) about the incident and gradually comes to admire him as he realizes how thoughtful and careful Kuranosuke was in planning the attack and justifying their cause.
  • ďishi Saigo no Ichinichi:
    (The Last Day of ďishi Kuranosuke's Life)
    "ďishi Saigo no Ichinichi is a particularly popular play, which is often performed independently and although it is the last play in the cycle, was the first to be written and its success inspired the cycle of plays. In this play. ďishi Kuranosuke (Matsumoto K˘shir˘) is shown being torn between the severe samurai duty that has made their mission a success and the desire to let a young couple meet one last time before they must die. The masterless samurai of the Ak˘ clan have successfully completed their unauthorized vendetta and are being housed at the mansion of a samurai lord while their fate is being decided. The vendetta has caused a sensation and a young boy comes to meet the men as they are imprisoned. The boy turns out to be a woman in disguise, Omino (Nakamura Fukusuke), hoping to meet her betrothed, Jűr˘zaemon (Ichikawa Somegor˘), one of the group. But until they know whether they will be able to have honorable deaths by ritual suicide or die by execution like common criminals, the leader of the group ďishi Kuranosuke, cannot allow her to meet her fiance.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 5 ~ 27 March 2009 (Sangatsu Hanagata Wakashu Kabuki)
    Program

    Shin Sarayashiki Tsuki no Amagasa

  • Otsuta Goroshi
  • Sakanaya S˘gor˘
  • Casting

    Kataoka Takatar˘, Onoe Sh˘roku

    Comments

    The story of S˘gor˘, the fishmonger is one of the most popular plays in Kabuki, but this is just a short portion of a play by Meiji playwright Kawatake Mokuami. This play 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. It reworks the legend of "Sarayashiki" or "the Plate Mansion". In the original story, a samurai lord kills a maid when she breaks one of a precious set of ten plates and throws her body into a well. But her ghost appears nightly counting the plates again and again in the desperate hope that this time the number will work out. The March program at the National Theatre is a rare full-length performance of this play with young actors in the major roles, under the supervision of Onoe Kikugor˘. Onoe Sh˘roku will play S˘gor˘, a very important role in his familyĺs acting tradition and Kataoka Takatar˘ will appear the two highly contrasting of Otsuta, the mistress of a samurai lord and S˘gor˘ĺs wife.

  • Otsuta Goroshi: Otsuta comes from a commoner family, but Lord Isobe Kazunosuke has fallen in love with her and made her his mistress. Unfortunately, she has become the object of lust of the retainer Tenz˘, who is plotting together with his brother to take over the clan. When Otsuta refuses Tenz˘ĺs advances, he takes advantage of the situation by claiming that she is having an affair with a young samurai in the mansion. When the lord hears this he is furious and kills her.
  • Sakanaya S˘gor˘: S˘gor˘, a fish seller, has taken a vow to not drink, but when he learns about the unjust murder of his sister Otsuta 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.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Shinbashi Enbuj˘ (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 4 ~ 23 March 2009 (Yayoi Hanagata Kabuki)
    Program

    Hitori Tabi Gojűsan Tsugi

    Casting

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

  • Hitori Tabi Gojűsan Tsugi:
    (Traveling Alone to the Fifty-three Stations)
    "Hitori Tabi Gojűsan Tsugi" was first performed in 1827, and was written by the famous playwright Tsuruya Nanboku IV (1755 - 1829). It built on the popular explosion of fascination of travel on this highway seen in the bestselling comic novel "Hizakurige" ("Shanks Mare") about the adventures of Yaji and Kita on the road and lavish series of multi-colored woodblock prints showing all fifty-three stations along the highway. But in addition to the expected travel scenes and comedy of Yaji and Kita, audiences also got a spectacular series of scenes scary, sexy and comic reworking all Nanboku's favorite themes including a monstrous cat. Ichikawa Ennosuke long specialized in reviving Nanbokuĺs plays, each production including Ennosukeĺs trademark fast-changes and flight through the air. March at Minamiza features the young actors of Ennosukeĺs troupe headed by Ichikawa Ukon in a full-length performance of this exciting and entertaining spectacle.
  • Source: Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Comments

    Revival at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ of the spectacular drama "Hitori Tabi Gojűsan Tsugi", which belongs to the Ennosuke Jűhachiban collection of plays. Ichikawa Ukon plays 15 roles in a drama full of keren and hayagawari.

     
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