NOVEMBER 2009

6 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, National Theatre, Shinbashi Enbuj˘, NHK Hall), 1 in Kumamoto (Yachiyoza) and 1 tour (Sh˘chiku Grand Kabuki Tour)!

Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
Dates 1 ~ 25 November 2009 (Kichirei Kaomise K˘gy˘ Kabuki)
Kabukiza Sayonara K˘en
MatinÚe

Kanadehon Chűshingura

  • Kabuto Aratame
  • Shinmotsu, Ninj˘
  • Hangan Seppuku, Shiro Akewatashi
  • Michiyuki Tabiji no Hanamuko (Ochiudo)
  • Evening

    Kanadehon Chűshingura

  • Tepp˘ Watashi, Futatsudama
  • Kanpei Harakiri
  • Gion Ichiriki Jaya
  • Uchiiri, Okuniwa Sensui, Sumibeya, Ry˘gokubashi Hikiage
  • Casting

    Onoe Kikugor˘, Kataoka Nizaemon, Nakamura Kanzabur˘, Nakamura Tomijűr˘, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Fukusuke, Ichikawa Danshir˘, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Kataoka Takatar˘, Nakamura T˘z˘, Kawarazaki Gonjűr˘, Nakamura Kash˘

    Comments

    11th of the 16 Kabukiza Sayonara K˘en, the Kabukiza Farewell Performances, which will be held up to April 2010. The play "Kanadehon Chűshingura" (The Treasure of 47 Loyal Retainers) is the most popular in the Kabuki repertory and is known throughout the world.

  • Kabuto Aratame/Shinmotsu/Ninj˘: daimy˘ lords from around the country gather for an important ceremony in the presence of Tadayoshi, the younger brother of the Sh˘gun. Under the watchful eye of the official Moron˘ (Nakamura Tomijűr˘), lords En'ya Hangan (Nakamura Kanzabur˘) and Wakasanosuke (Nakamura Baigyoku) have been charged with making sure everything goes according to protocol. En'ya Hangan's wife Kaoyo (Nakamura Kaishun) is asked to identify a helmet to be used in the ceremony. Moron˘ is in love with Kaoyo and tries to woo her, but Wakasanosuke stops him. In return, Moron˘ uses his position of authority to berate the young lord and Wakasanosuke decides to kill Moron˘. But the next morning at the Sh˘gun's mansion, Wakasanosuke's head retainer bribes Moron˘ to keep his master from causing an incident and although Wakasanosuke is about to attack Moron˘, the aged official groveling stops him. As a result, though, Moron˘ is frustrated and angry and vents his feelings on En'ya Hangan, especially after Hangan innocently brings him a letter in which Kaoyo refuses Moron˘'s love. Moron˘ steadily insults Hangan, who tries to ignore the pressure, but finally draws his sword and attacks. Drawing a sword in the Sh˘gun's palace is a crime punishable by death, but Moron˘ himself escapes with only a slight wound as others within the mansion hurry in to stop Hangan.
  • Hangan Seppuku/Shiro Akewatashi: emissaries from the Sh˘gun arrive at En'ya Hangan's mansion to announce that he has received the strictest penalty for his actions. He is ordered to commit ritual suicide and his household is to be disbanded. Hangan's hate for Moron˘ grows when he hears that Moron˘ has received no punishment. Hangan waits and waits for his head retainer, but he does not arrive. Finally, Hangan plunges in the blade. At that moment, his head retainer Yuranosuke (Matsumoto K˘shir˘) arrives from their home province. With his last breaths, Hangan gives Yuranosuke the knife he used to commit suicide and tells him to take revenge. Now that the clan has been disbanded, Hangan's men become masterless samurai. Though some urge an immediate attack on Moron˘, Yuranosuke bids them not to do anything rash. When alone in front of the closed mansion gates, though, he secretly reveals his determination that his lord will not have died in vain. Featuring Kataoka Nizaemon and Ichikawa Danshir˘ in the roles of Ishid˘ Umanoj˘ and Yakushiji Jirozaemon.
  • Ochiudo: after the death of his lord, the retainer Kanpei (Onoe Kikugor˘) and his lover, the lady-in-waiting Okaru (Nakamura Tokiz˘) flee to Okaru's home, a farmer's house in the country. Kanpei feels responsible for the events since he was having a romantic tryst and was not at his master's side at the crucial moment. He tries to commit suicide, but Okaru stops him and convinces him that they should go to her home as husband and wife and wait for the right moment for him to be reinstated.
  • Tepp˘ Watashi/Futatsudama/Kanpei Harakiri: Kanpei (Onoe Kikugor˘) lives a poor life with Okaru (Nakamura Tokiz˘) at her parents' rural home. Kanpei desperately wants to take part in the vendetta against Moron˘, but must come up with the money necessary to finance his part in it. Secretly, Okaru and her family decide that the only way to raise the money is to sell her to the pleasure quarters. On a lonely highway, a highway thief named Sadakur˘ (Nakamura Baigyoku) kills her father while he is on the way home from sealing the deal and the money is stolen. In a bizarre twist of events, Kanpei kills the robber while hunting on a dark night and finds the money. The fabric of the wallet, though, seems to prove that he has murdered his father-in-law. Kanpei commits ritual suicide to take responsibility, not only for the death of this father-in-law, but also for being absent when his lord needed him most.
  • Gion Ichiriki Jaya: Yuranosuke (Kataoka Nizaemon) spends his days and nights in the pleasure quarters of Ky˘to in an effort to make Moron˘ believe he is not planning a vendetta. His acting is so good that even men in his own group believe he has given his life up to pleasure. Moron˘ is not so easily convinced, though, and has sent spies, including a former retainer of En'ya Hangan, to find Yuranosuke's true intentions. Yuranosuke finds himself tested to the limits by the spy, and is even forced to eat meat on the anniversary of Hangan's death, a strong taboo. Okaru (Nakamura Fukusuke), now a courtesan, is also at the Ichiriki Teahouse. She catches a glimpse of a letter to Yuranosuke detailing plans for the vendetta, but he sees her and offers to buy out her contract, knowing he must kill her to keep the vendetta a secret. Okaru's brother Teraoka Heiemon (Matsumoto K˘shir˘), a servant in the Hangan household, has also come to the teahouse and when he hears that Yuranosuke is to buy out her contract, he realizes his true intentions. Heiemon tries to convince Okaru to let him kill her as such an act may allow him to take part in the vendetta as well. Hearing that Kanpei is now dead, Okaru agrees, but observing their loyal actions, Yuranosuke spares Okaru and allows Heiemon to join the vendetta.
  • Uchiiri/Okuniwa Sensui/Sumibeya/Ry˘gokubashi Hikiage: disguised as firemen, En'ya Hangan's retainers attack Moron˘'s mansion on a snowy night. After a fierce fight, they find Moron˘ hiding in a charcoal shed and take revenge for their lord's wrongful death. Featuring Kataoka Nizaemon, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kash˘ and Nakamura Kinnosuke in the roles of Yuranosuke, Hattori Itsur˘, Kobayashi Heihachir˘ and Takemori Kitahachi.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 26 November 2009
    Program

    Uir˘ Uri

    Keisei Hangonk˘ (Domo Mata)

    ďtsue D˘j˘ji

    Casting

    Sakata T˘jűr˘, Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Senjaku, Nakamura Kanjaku, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Ichikawa Unosuke, Nakamura Kikaku, Band˘ Kamesabur˘, Band˘ Shingo, ďtani Keiz˘

    Comments

  • Uir˘ Uri: there are many plays based on the revenge by the Soga brothers on Kud˘ Suketsune, the man that arranged to have their father killed. In this particular play, this dramatic fight is transformed into light fantasy by showing one of the Soga brothers disguised as a peddler of Uir˘, a medicine that makes it possible to speak quickly and elegantly. The highlight of the play is a long speech full of puns and wordplays. Starring Ichikawa Danjűr˘ as the peddler.
  • Domo Mata: the artist Matahei has been refused a professional name because of his stuttering. He makes a poor life by drawing folk paintings and decides to make one last effort to gain respectability. His wife Otoku, who is given as much to chatter as Matahei is silent, pleads his case. Turned down again by his master, Matahei decides to take his life. He draws a farewell portrait of himself, a painting so skillful that the lines seep through solid rock and this miracle convinces his master to confer a professional name. Starring Ichikawa Danjűr˘ as Matahei and Sakata T˘jűr˘ as his wife Otoku.
  • ďtsue D˘j˘ji: "Musume D˘j˘ji" or "The Maiden at Dojoji Temple" is the most famous dance to display the alluring charm of an onnagata female role specialist and has inspired many variations. It shows the ghost of a woman who was transformed into a serpent out of passion and destroyed a temple bell. In this particular version, a mysterious figure appears as various characters famous from the cartoon like pictures called ˘tsue before revealing that this is the woman of the "D˘j˘ji" story. Featuring Sakata T˘jűr˘ in the 5 roles of this hengemono and Nakamura Kanjaku in the role of the Demon Queller.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Sh˘chiku Grand Kabuki Tour
    Dates 31 October ~ 25 November 2009
    Program

    Keisei Hangonk˘

  • Takashima Yakata / Takeyabu
  • Tosa Sh˘gen Kankyo (Domo Mata)
  • Casting

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

    Comments

  • Takashima Yakata: the story is about Kan˘ Shir˘jir˘ Motonobu (Ichikawa Emiya), a samurai who serves at the Palace of the Rokkaku Family in Takashima (province of ďmi). Princess Ich˘-no-Mae (Ichikawa Shun'en), the daughter of Rokkaku Yorikata, is in love with Motonobu. Nagoya Sanza, a senior retainer of the Rokkaku clan, helped the girl to make Motonobu exchange a cup of sake with Princess Ich˘-no-Mae, which means that the marriage between the two is concluded. Unfortunately for them, the evil and jealous Fuwa no D˘ken (Ichikawa En'ya), the senior retainer of the Rokkaku family and the father of Fuwa Banzaemon (the arch enemy of Nagoya Sanza), also covets her. He covers Motonobu with a false charge and makes him arrested. Tied to a pillar, Motonobu draws with his own blood the image of a tiger on a sliding paper-door. The image is such a masterpiece that the tiger takes on life, begins to move, picks up Motonobu on its back and disperses the enemies.
  • Takeyabu: this scene is a spectacular tachimawari in a bamboo grove, outside the moat of the Rokkaku palace. Utanosuke (Ichikawa Danjir˘), a young artist of the Kan˘ school and a disciple of Motonobu, tries unsuccessfully to fight the soldiers of Fuwa no D˘ken to protect Princess Ich˘-no-Mae, who had run away from the Palace with Motonobu.
  • Domo Mata: the artist Matahei (Ichikawa Ukon) has been refused a professional name because of his stuttering. He makes a poor life by drawing folk paintings and decides to make one last effort to gain respectability. His wife Otoku (Ichikawa Emisabur˘), who is given as much to chatter as Matahei is silent, pleads his case. Turned down again by his master, Matahei decides to take his life. He draws a farewell portrait of himself, a painting so skillful that the lines seep through solid rock and this miracle convinces his master to confer a professional name. Featuring Ichikawa Juen as Matahei's master Tosa Sh˘gen Mitsunobu and Ichikawa K˘tar˘ as Tosa Shűrinosuke.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website, except "Takashima Yakata" and "Takeyabu"

    Shinbashi Enbuj˘ (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 1 ~ 25 November 2009 (Hanagata Kabuki)
    MatinÚe

    Kamikakete Sango Taisetsu

    Yayoi no Hana Asakusa Matsuri

    Evening

    Sannin Kichisa Tomoe no Shiranami

    Onizoroi Momijigari

    Casting

    Onoe Kikunosuke, Ichikawa Kamejir˘, Kataoka Ainosuke, Onoe Sh˘roku, Ichikawa Somegor˘

    Comments

  • Kamikakete Sango Taisetsu: this play is a blend of "Chűshingura" with its tangled stories of loyalties and masterless samurai that ultimately avenge their master's death and the story of "Godairiki", about the love between a geisha named Koman and the samurai Satsuma Gengobŕ which is spoiled by the jealousy of a man named Sangor˘. Sasano Sangor˘ (Onoe Kikunosuke) is married to Koman (Ichikawa Kamejir˘), but she becomes a geisha to help him to raise the money to help his lord, a man that he has never seen. In the pleasure quarters the samurai Satsuma Gengobŕ (Ichikawa Somegor˘) falls in love with her and spends huge sums of money on her, despite the fact that he needs money for the sake of the "Chűshingura" vendetta. Finally Gengobŕ gets money and Sangor˘ and Koman decide to defraud him of the money, which results in a massacre in the pleasure quarters. Ironically, Gengobŕ is none other than the unknown master for whom Sangor˘ was trying to raise money. This story of passion and greed takes place against the background of inexplicable fate and the strict requirements of samurai society and adds ample doses of sardonic humor, the perfect play for our times.
  • Asakusa Matsuri: in the Edo period, there were virtuoso sets of dances with one actor changing from character to character with a series of spectacular quick changes (hengemono). This is a set of four dances, all featuring Kataoka Ainosuke and Onoe Sh˘roku in a series of roles. It begins in the ancient past with Empress Jing˘ and her aged minister Takeuchi Sukune. It is said that the empress delayed the birth of her child, the emperor, so that she could conduct an attack on the Asian continent. Then the scene changes to the exuberant Sanja festival and shows two fishermen who discover a sacred statue in a river. Suddenly, the fishermen are possessed by the spirits of Good and Evil and dance vigorously. The scene switches to the pleasure quarters with two patrons, a sophisticated urban playboy and a clumsy unfashionable man. Finally it ends on a fantastic note with the two dancers as lion spirits.
  • Sannin Kichisa:
    (Three Thieves Named Kichisa)
    The playwright Kawatake Mokuami excelled at portrayals of thieves and this short scene, with its music and poetic lines, is one of his most famous. A beautiful young woman helps out a woman who is lost on the road. But she is actually Oj˘ Kichisa, a male thief who is disguised as a woman. He steals an immense sum of money that the woman is carrying and this leads to an encounter on this riverbank of three thieves, all with the name Kichisa. The two others Kichisa are Osh˘ Kichisa, a bonze turned thief, and Ob˘ Kichisa, an ex-samurai turned thief Though they start out as rivals, they decide to become blood brothers and form a gang. Featuring Onoe Kikunosuke as Oj˘ Kichisa, Onoe Sh˘roku as Osh˘ Kichisa and Kataoka Ainosuke as Ob˘ Kichisa.
  • Onizoroi Momijigari:
    (The Autumn Leaves and the Demon of Mt. Togakushi)
    This dance is a modern adaptation of a colorful Kabuki play based on an austere classic. The aristocrat Koremochi (Onoe Sh˘roku) has travelled to view the autumn leaves and encounters a beautiful princess (Ichikawa Kamejir˘) and her entourage. The entire party of beautiful women turns out to be vicious demons and attack Koremochi after lulling him to sleep with a beautiful dream-like dance.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website


    Yachiyoza (Kumamoto)
    Dates 2 ~ 13 November 2009
    Program

    K˘j˘

    Ky˘ganoko Musume D˘j˘ji

    Casting

    Band˘ Tamasabur˘

    Comments

    A special Buy˘ program starring the amazing onnagata Band˘ Tamasabur˘ at the Yachiyoza, a traditional wooden-built theater, which celebrates the 100th anniversary of its opening.

  • K˘j˘: the close relationship between the actors and the audience is shown by these stage announcements, lavish ceremonies to commemorate various important events. This time, Band˘ Tamasabur˘ talks about the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Yachiyoza.
  • 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 Band˘ Tamasabur˘.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    NHK Hall (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 28 November 2009 (Koten Gein˘ Kansh˘ Kai)
    Program

    Kajiwara Heiz˘ Homare no Ishikiri
    (Ishikiri Kajiwara)

    Casting

    Nakamura Kichiemon, Nakamura Shibajaku, Ichikawa Danshir˘, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Kash˘

    Comments

    36th edition of Koten Gein˘ Kansh˘ Kai (literally the "Classics Entertainment Appreciation Association"), a yearly performance produced by the National TV network NHK. The program includes one ky˘gen, one Kabuki play, one traditional dance and traditional music.

  • Ishikiri Kajiwara: the Heike general Kajiwara (Nakamura Kichiemon) is asked to test the sharpness of a sword by slicing two live human beings in half. He deliberately makes the sword fail the test to keep the sword, a priceless heirloom belonging to the enemy Genji clan, from falling into the hands of his Taira clan. A miracle has convinced Kajiwara to change sides. Kajiwara finally demonstrates the true power of the sword by cutting a large stone basin in two.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

     
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