MARCH 2014

4 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, National Theatre, Shinbashi Enbuj˘), 2 shows in Ky˘to (Minamiza) and 1 tour (Classics Tour)!

Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
Dates 2 ~ 26 March 2014 (Kokera Otoshi H˘˘sai Sangatsu ďkabuki)
Opening Ceremony Phoenix Festival March Grand Kabuki
MatinÚe

Kotobuki Soga no Taimen

Migawari Zazen

Koi Bikyaku Yamato ďrai (Fűin Giri)

Ninin Fuji Musume

Evening

Mekura Nagaya Ume-ga-Kagatobi

Kanjinch˘

Nihon Furisode Hajime (Orochi Taiji)

Casting

Sakata T˘jűr˘, Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Onoe Kikugor˘, Nakamura Kichiemon, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Kanjaku, Nakamura Senjaku, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Shibajaku, Kataoka Takatar˘, Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Kataoka Gat˘, Ichikawa Sadanji, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Matagor˘, Nakamura T˘z˘, Nakamura Matsue, Nakamura Kash˘, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Nakamura Kotar˘, Nakamura Yonekichi, Onoe Ukon

Comments

12th and last month celebrating the opening of the new Kabukiza within a 1-year long cycle of kokera otoshi programs. This special program is called H˘˘sai, which means Phoenix Festival. The Phoenix bird is the symbol of the Kabukiza as it is the mon of this theater. Next month programs will also be labeled as H˘˘sai. This program should have been the first month of the shűmei of Nakamura Utaemon VII and Nakamura Fukusuke X but it was postponed as the former actor was on sick leave.

  • Soga no Taimen: this is one of the oldest and most classical of all Kabuki plays. In the Edo period, every January, plays appeared about the vendetta carried out by the Soga brothers Jűr˘ and Gor˘ after eighteen years of hardship. In "Soga no Taimen" the brothers confront Kud˘ Suketsune, the man responsible for their father's death. More ceremony than play, it features each of the important Kabuki character types, including the bombastic aragoto style of Gor˘ and the soft wagoto style of Jűr˘. This month features a cast headed by Nakamura Baigyoku as Kud˘ and some of the most popular young stars in Kabuki with Nakamura Hashinosuke as Gor˘ and Kataoka Takatar˘ as Jűr˘. Featuring also Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Kaishun and Nakamura Karoku.
  • Migawari Zazen: a dance play adopted from a classical ky˘gen farce. A man (Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘) wants nothing more than to visit his lover Hanako, but he has one important problem, his homely and overbearing wife (Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon). He creates a scheme saying that he will be practicing Zen meditation all night and has his servant (Nakamura Matagor˘) take his place while he visits Hanako. He returns, giddy from a night of pleasure and tells his story to his servant in dance, unaware that his wife has discovered his deception and has taken his servant's place.
  • Fűin Giri:
    (Breaking the Seals)
    In the pleasure quarters, the most important possessions were money and reputation. In danger of losing his lover, the courtesan Umegawa, the money courier Kameya Chűbŕ breaks the seals on a package of money entrusted to him after being taunted by a rival, even though the use of such money is punishable by death. Starring Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘ as Chűbŕ, Nakamura Senjaku as Umegawa, Nakamura Kanjaku as Chűbŕ's treacherous friend Tanbaya Hachiemon, Kataoka Hidetar˘ as Oen, the proprietress of the teahouse, and Kataoka Gat˘ as Jiemon.
  • Ninin Fuji Musume: the spirit of wisteria blossoms dances of love in the form of a beautiful young maiden. The scene is set in ďtsu City near the Lake Biwa. This dance is one of Kabuki's most famous and colorful dances. Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ will give his definitive performance of this dance in a special double version together with young onnagata star Nakamura Shichinosuke.
  • Kagatobi: the firemen serving the fabulously wealthy Kaga clan were famous for their colorful spirit. This play features a short pageant of these firefighters combined with a dark story of the sinister masseur D˘gen who uses murder, theft and extortion to satisfy his lust and greed. The actor playing D˘gen doubles as one of the gallant bosses of the firefighting gang alongside the firefighter that unmasks D˘genĺs villainy. Starring Matsumoto K˘shir˘ as D˘gen and Nakamura Baigyoku as Matsuz˘, the firefighter that defeats him. Featuring also Ichikawa Sadanji and Kataoka Hidetar˘.
  • 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 features 3 Living National Treasures: Nakamura Kichiemon in the role of Benkei, with Sakata T˘jűr˘ and Onoe Kikugor˘ as Yoshitsune and the barrier keeper Togashi.
  • Orochi Taiji: this dance is a rare example of a story from ancient Japanese mythology adapted for the Kabuki theater. As part of an annual ritual, Princess Inada (Nakamura Yonekichi) has been chosen to be sacrificed to a fierce serpent that lives in the mountains of Izumo. The serpent (Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘) arrives in the guise of a beautiful princess, but before it can attack it is attracted to eight jars full of sake. The jars are a trap planted by the god Susanoo (Nakamura Kankur˘), who confronts the beast in its true form as an eight-headed serpent, to save the princess.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 26 March 2014
    Program

    Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami (Kurumabiki)

    Wakaba no Ume Ukina no Yokogushi (Kirare Otomi)

    Casting

    Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Band˘ Shűch˘, Ichikawa Omez˘, Kamimura Kichiya, Arashi Kitsusabur˘, Nakamura Mantar˘, Nakamura Hayato

    Comments

    Nakamura Tokiz˘ plays for the first time the role of Otomi, the leading role of the drama "Kirare Otomi".

  • Kurumabiki: this short but energetic play is a showcase for the bombastic aragoto style of acting. The brothers Ume˘maru (Nakamura Mantar˘) and Sakuramaru (Nakamura Hayato) are retainers of the exiled aristocrat Sugawara Michizane. They try to take revenge on Fujiwara Shihei, the man who falsely accused their lord, but are confronted by their other brother, Matsu˘maru (Nakamura Kinnosuke) who is a retainer of the villain Shihei. The two try to tear apart Shihei's carriage but are stopped by Matsu˘maru and the powerful glare of Shihei (Band˘ Shűch˘).
  • 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 Nakamura Tokiz˘ as Otomi, Arashi Kitsusabur˘ as the gang boss and Nakamura Kinnosuke as Yosabur˘.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Minamiza (Ky˘to)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 March 2014 (Sangatsu Hanagata Kabuki)
    March Young Actors Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Fubuki T˘ge

    Su˘ Otoshi

    Yowa Nasake Ukina no Yokogushi (Kirare Yosa)

  • Misome
  • Genjidana
  • Evening

    Gohiiki Kanjinch˘

  • Shibaraku
  • Imoarai Kanjinch˘
  • Ky˘ganoko Musume D˘j˘ji

    Casting

    Onoe Kikunosuke, Onoe Sh˘roku, Ichikawa Danz˘, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Ichimura Manjir˘, Kawarazaki Gonjűr˘, Nakamura Baishi, Onoe Matsuya, Band˘ Kamesabur˘, Band˘ Kametoshi, Kataoka Matsunosuke, Band˘ Minosuke, ďtani Hiromatsu, Band˘ Shingo, Ichimura Takematsu

    Comments

    A March program at the Minamiza with young actors. The spectacular drama "Gohiiki Kanjinch˘" has not been staged in Ky˘to between June 1945 and February 2014!

  • Fubuki T˘ge: Oen and Sukez˘, an adulterous couple, have to take refuge in a mountain hut built for pilgrims because of a violent snow storm. Oen was the wife of the gambler Naokichi, who was Sukez˘'s boss. They fell in love and, in order to escape death (a normal punishment for their immoral conduct), they had to elope. They now live as fugitives, in great fear of revenge by Naokichi. Fate has something in store for them as, this very night, Naokichi, who goes on pilgrimage, turns up and an interesting encounter takes place. A play by the modern playwright Uno Nobuo that shows the characters in a complex love relationship all thrown together in a house on a mountain pass in a snowstorm. Featuring Band˘ Kamesabur˘, Nakamura Baishi and Onoe Matsuya in the roles of Naokichi, Oen and Sukez˘.
  • Su˘ Otoshi:
    (The Dropped Coat)
    This play transforms a classical Ky˘gen farce into Kabuki dance. Delivering a message for his lord, the servant Tar˘kaja (Onoe Sh˘roku) charms a princess and in reward for a dance showing a famous battle, he receives a formal coat and large amounts of drink. Knowing his lord is a greedy man, he tries to hide the coat on his return, but unfortunately, the sake that helped him feel so good earlier works against him.
  • Kirare Yosa: Yosabur˘ (Onoe Kikunosuke), the refined young son of a wealthy merchant falls in love with Otomi (Nakamura Baishi) the moment he first sees her on the beach. But Otomi is the mistress of a powerful gangster, and when their relationship is discovered, the two are attacked. Yosabur˘ is cut from head to toe and the two are dumped into the sea. Otomi lives and is taken in by a rich merchant while Yosabur˘ is now covered with scars. Yosabur˘ turns into a petty thief and extortionist but one day, finds that the woman he is about to blackmail is none other than Otomi, alive and well. Featuring also Ichikawa Danz˘, Band˘ Hikosabur˘ and Onoe Sh˘roku.
  • Gohiiki Kanjinch˘: "Gohiiki Kanjinch˘" was first performed in 1773 as a lavish kaomise play. A kaomise was the first play of the new season and was not only the occasion when theatres showed off the new line up of stars for the season, but also had a variety of rules and rituals. Among these was that if a member of the Ichikawa Danjűr˘ line was appearing, the play would feature the routine "Shibaraku". In this routine, the superhuman hero Kumai Tar˘ (Onoe Sh˘roku) stops the villain Koreaki (Band˘ Hikosabur˘) by calling out "shibaraku", or "wait a minute!". "Gohiiki Kanjinch˘" not only features "Shibaraku", but also features an early version of "Kanjinch˘" (The Subscription List), now, one of the most famous plays in Kabuki. In "Kanjinch˘", the wise and powerful Benkei gets his master Yoshitsune through a barrier gate by using his wits. "Gohiiki Kanjinch˘" relies on the very old aragoto style of acting for a leisurely and comic version of the same story. Benkei (Onoe Sh˘roku) gets his master Yoshitsune (Nakamura Baishi) through the barrier by pretending to be very weak and allowing himself to be tied up. He cries like a baby when he is tormented by the barrier attendants. But when Benkei recognizes that his master is safe, he explodes with energy, showing off the bombastic aragoto style of acting. He breaks the ropes and pulls off the heads of the attendants, tossing them into a barrel and washing them like a bunch of potatoes. Featuring also Kawarazaki Gonjűr˘, Ichimura Manjir˘, Band˘ Kamesabur˘ and Band˘ Kametoshi.
  • 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. The role of the shiraby˘shi is played by Onoe Kikunosuke.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Shinbashi Enbuj˘ (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 5 ~ 29 March 2014 (SűpÔ Kabuki Sekando)
    Super Kabuki II
    Program

    Sora o Kizamu Mono

    Casting

    Ichikawa Ennosuke, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Ukon, Ichikawa Emiya, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Juen, Ichikawa K˘tar˘, Ichikawa Shun'en, Ichikawa En'ya, Fukushi Seiji, Asano Kazuyuki, Sasaki Kuranosuke

    Comments

    "Sora o Kizamu Mono" means the Man who sculptures the Sky. In 2014 Ichikawa Ennosuke IV starts on forming a theatrical space which has never existed before. It is called SűpÔ Kabuki Sekando (the second generation of SűpÔ Kabuki). He succeeds to the spirit of Super Kabuki (SűpÔ Kabuki) which was originated by his uncle Ichikawa Ennosuke III and creates a completely new theatrical space with talented actors who represent the present theatrical world. He performs with actors of modern plays in addition to the Kabuki actors who appeared on the stage of Super Kabuki. This play is written and directed by a young and spirited dramatist Maekawa Tomohiro. The scene is set in ancient Japan. A talented young sculptor of Buddhist images named Towa (performed by Ichikawa Ennosuke) lives in a mountain village. He is irritated at Buddhism which can save neither the villagers' living nor his ailing mother. Kazuma (performed by Sasaki Kuranosuke), a friend of Towa from his childhood, worries about the villagers who are troubled by poor crop. He goes to the capital and enters government service to improve their lives. Towa's mother dies. Towa fights against an official from the capital and has to leave the village. He is imprisoned, but matures as he associates with robbers. Kazuma on the other hand feels himself helpless as a lower-level official, though he has gone to the capital. Towa and Kazuma went their own ways according to their own thought. The day has come when their courses of life cross and they happen to meet again.

    Classics Tour
    Dates 6 ~ 25 March 2013 (Koten he no Izanai)
    Invitation to the Classics
    Program

    Opening Talk

    Shakky˘ ()

    Renjishi

    Casting

    Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Ichikawa Fukutar˘

    Comments

    An original tour in 7 cities (with a 4-day stay at the Yachiyoza from the 6th to the 10th of March 2014), which mixes talk, and Kabuki. The second item is the drama "Shakky˘", performed by Kanze Yoshimasa and Kamei Tadao. The third item is the Kabuki dance-drama "Renjishi". The opening talk is done by the young Kabuki star Ichikawa Ebiz˘.

  • Renjishi: 2 entertainers dance a tale of the legendary shishi or lion-like spirits that live at the foot of a holy Buddhist mountain. There is a comic interlude with 2 Buddhist pilgrims. Then, the shishi themselves appear and perform their dance with wild shaking of their long manes. The dance shows a parent shishi forcing his cub to undergo harsh training in order to grow up strong. This theme is often associated with the training a parent actor gives his son. This performance features Ichikawa Ebiz˘ in the role of the parent shishi and Ichikawa Fukutar˘ in the role of the cub.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

     
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