Ise Ondo: this play is famous for its classical
depiction of a woman who must pretend to reject her lover for his sake and
for the beautiful and gruesome dance-like killing scene at the end,
done to the music of the Ise pleasure quarters. Fukuoka Mitsugi (Ichikawa Ebiz˘),
a young apprentice at the holy Shrine of Ise tries to help find the stolen
treasured sword of his clan out of duty to his former lord. Mitsugi has the sword
in his possession, but must now find the certificate of authentication and
in order to get it for him, Okon (???), a courtesan who is in love with Mitsugi
must pretend to forsake Mitsugi. But he believes that she has truly betrayed
him and further angered by the humiliating accusations of Manno (???), the head
maid of the Aburaya brothel, Mitsugi inadvertently draws the sword, said
to be cursed, and the rampage begins. Featuring Kataoka Ainosuke and Nakamura Shid˘ as the cook Kisuke and the yakko Rimpei.
Yoshinoyama: a dance travel scene from the epic "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura".
Now in exile and disgrace, Yoshitsune has left his lover Shizuka in the safekeeping of his trusted retainer Tadanobu.
But she is unaware that this Tadanobu is actually a magical fox who has
disguised himself to be near the treasured drum that Shizuka carries,
a drum made from the skins of his fox parents.
Starring Onoe Sh˘roku as Tadanobu, with Onoe Kikunosuke as Shizuka.
Meiboku Sendai Hagi: this play is about the attempt to take over one of the most
famous samurai households in the Edo period, a scandal that caused a sensation in
Hanamizubashi: the daimy˘ Yorikane
(???) has fallen in love with a courtesan and has neglected responsibilities,
causing high ranking retainers to plot the takeover of his domain.
Returning from the pleasure quarters, he is attacked at Hanamizu Bridge, but
is able to escape thanks to the help of a sum˘ wrestler retainer.
Take-no-Ma/Goten: Masaoka (Onoe Kikunosuke), a loyal maidservant, is taking care of the
lord's young heir. Afraid he will be poisoned, she refuses to let anyone see
him who might try to assassinate him. She even fixes his meal in her quarters
using her delicate tea ceremony implements to cook rice. The plotting faction
does not give up, though, and sends poison in the form of candy as a present
from the Sh˘gun. Masaoka's son sacrifices his life for the young lord
by eating the poisoned candy, and when he is killed, she thinks only of
protecting her lord. Her fierce devotion to duty convinces the plotters
that she is on their side. Masaoka's actions help save the young lord,
and only when she is alone can she grieve for her son. With Kataoka Ainosuke
as the villainous Yashio, a court woman who kills Masaokaĺs son.
Yukashita: Another faithful retainer Otokonosuke (Nakamura Shid˘), stands guard
underneath the room, but the evil Nikki Danj˘ (Ichikawa Ebiz˘) appears as a giant rat,
but then slips away, walking calmly through the clouds.
Taiketsu/Ninj˘: the elderly Geki (???), a faithful retainer,
brings charges against Danj˘. Danj˘ cleverly protests his innocence, but his lies
are seen through by the wise judge Katsumoto (Onoe Sh˘roku). Condemned to death,
Nikki tries to take his revenge on Geki.
Ryűko: this is a modern piece created after the end of World War II
on the universal theme of the unending fight between the dragon, the greatest power in the sky,
and the tiger, the greatest power on land. Starring Kataoka Ainosuke as the spirit of the dragon and
Nakamura Shid˘ as the spirit of the tiger.
Source: Earphone Guide website