OCTOBER 2009

2 shows in Nagoya (Misonoza), 4 in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, National Theatre), 1 in Fukuoka (Hakataza) and 2 tours (Kinshű Tokubetsu K˘en, Zenshinza)!

Misonoza (Nagoya)
Dates 1 ~ 25 October 2009 (Kichirei Kaomise K˘gy˘ Kabuki)
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
  • Casting

    Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Kataoka Nizaemon, Kataoka Gat˘, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Fukusuke, Kataoka Ainosuke, Kataoka Takatar˘, Ichikawa Sadanji, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Kataoka Shinnosuke

    Comments

    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˘ (Ichikawa Sadanji), lords En'ya Hangan (Nakamura Hashinosuke) and Wakasanosuke (Kataoka Ainosuke) have been charged with making sure everything goes according to protocol. En'ya Hangan's wife Kaoyo (Nakamura Fukusuke) 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 (Ichikawa Danjűr˘) 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.
  • Ochiudo: after the death of his lord, the retainer Kanpei (Kataoka Nizaemon) and his lover, the lady-in-waiting Okaru (Kataoka Takatar˘) 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 (Kataoka Nizaemon) lives a poor life with Okaru (Kataoka Takatar˘) 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˘ (Kataoka Ainosuke) 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 (Ichikawa Danjűr˘) 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 (Nakamura Hashinosuke), 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: 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.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 1 ~ 25 October 2009 (Geijutsusai Jűgatsu ďkabuki)
    Kabukiza Sayonara K˘en
    MatinÚe

    Kenuki

    Kumo no Hy˘shimai

    Shinjű Ten no Amijima (Kawash˘)

    Otowa-ga-Dake Danmari

    Evening

    Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura

  • Tokaiya
  • Funayagura
  • Daimotsu no Ura
  • Yoshinoyama
  • Kawatsura H˘gen Yakata
  • Casting

    Onoe Kikugor˘, Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Kichiemon, Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Nakamura Tomijűr˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Kaishun, Ichikawa Danshir˘, Sawamura Tanosuke, Ichikawa Danz˘, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Kash˘, Nakamura T˘z˘, Ichimura Manjir˘, Kawarazaki Gonjűr˘, Band˘ Shűch˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Mantar˘, Band˘ Minosuke, Onoe Matsuya

    Comments

    10th of the 16 Kabukiza Sayonara K˘en, the Kabukiza Farewell Performances, which will be held up to April 2010.

  • Kenuki: in this play, which retains the light, festive atmosphere of early-period Kabuki, a princess has a mysterious ailment that makes her hair stand on end, an ailment that prevents her from carrying out her long-awaited marriage. Kumedera Danj˘ comes from the groom's household to investigate and finds a plot to take over the household when his tweezers float in mid-air. Band˘ Mitsugor˘ stars in a play that features the bombastic aragoto style of acting that is a specialty of his family.
  • Kumo no Hy˘shimai:
    (The Dance of the Spider-Woman)
    One of the favorite themes for the gala performances that would open a theatre year was the general Yorimitsu and his work in vanquishing ghosts and mysterious creatures. This particular dance is one of the oldest classics in the repertory, but only the music remains and what is presented today is a spectacular modern staging. The general Yorimitsu and his retainers Sadamitsu and Kintoki are keeping guard over the palace over the Kazan retired emperor and are astonished to find a mysterious woman in the mansion. She wants to see Yorimitsu's precious sword and they dance rhythmically to the names of famous sword makers, and with beautiful branches of cherry blossoms. But she is actually the spirit of the earth spider who is trying to capture Yorimitsu and make him her retainer and the dance ends with revealing her true form and fighting with magical spider webs. Starring Band˘ Tamasabur˘ in the role of the spirit of the earth spider. Featuring Onoe Kikunosuke in the role of Minamoto Raik˘. Featuring also Band˘ Mitsugor˘ and Onoe Sh˘roku as the shitenn˘ Sakata Kintoki and Usui Sadamitsu.
  • Kawash˘: this late love suicide play by Chikamatsu Monzaemon is considered by many to be his masterpiece. The paper seller Jihŕ (Sakata T˘jűr˘) is in love with the courtesan Koharu (Nakamura Tokiz˘) and all those around them are afraid that they will commit love suicide. Jihŕĺs wife Osan urgently pleads with Koharu to pretend that she does not love Jihŕ any more, in order to save his life. In the first and most famous scene in the Kawash˘ teahouse, Jihŕĺs brother Magoemon (Ichikawa Danshir˘) masquerades as a samurai to find out Koharuĺs true feelings. Jihŕ listens in from the outside and is astonished to hear her say that she does not want to commit love suicide. In a rage, Jihŕ breaks off all relations with her, while Magoemon is moved to learn that she has done this out of consideration for Osanĺs feelings. This play is a classic example of the ďsaka style of acting.
  • Otowa-ga-Dake Danmari:
    (The danmari on Otowa Peak)
    A danmari is a fight in the dark where all the characters grope in the dark over some key object. When it occurs in a play, it showcases the different characters, while the movement of objects creates plot complications that motivate the rest of the play. When a danmari is an independent play, it has some central characters and some special plot twist and each time it is performed, the rest of the cast is filled out with typical Kabuki characters to fit the actors who will appear. "Otowa-ga-Dake Dammari" was first performed in 1935 in memory of Onoe Kikugor˘ V. It is a special play for actors with the yag˘ or "house name" of Otowaya and this month celebrates the first appearance on stage (omemie) of little Fujima Taiga, the son of Onoe Sh˘roku. Featuring also the stars of the Otowaya guild, Onoe Kikugor˘ and Onoe Kikunosuke.
  • Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura:
    (Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees)
    This play was first performed in the Bunraku puppet theatre and is an epic story about the famous 12th century general Yoshitsune. After the end of the war between the Genji and Heike clans, the Genji clan was victorious, making its leader Yoritomo the ruler. But even though his brother Yoshitsuneĺs brilliant strategies were responsible for the victory, Yoritomo came to suspect Yoshitsune of treason and made him a fugitive. Although Yoshitsune is the title character, the main characters of the play are actually different and this month features the acts of the play about the Heike warrior Tomomori and the acts about the magical fox Tadanobu.
  • Tokaiya/Daimotsu no Ura: Yoshitsune (Nakamura Tomijűr˘) books passage on a boat to Kyűshű, but the captain is actually Taira no Tomomori (Nakamura Kichiemon), a general of the Heike clan that Yoshitsune helped to defeat. Tomomori was supposedly killed by Yoshitsune in the final battle of the war between their clans, but in this play, he is shown as surviving, living in disguise with the child emperor Antoku and his nursemaid Suke-no-Tsubone (Band˘ Tamasabur˘). Tomomori uses the opportunity to try to take his revenge on Yoshitsune, but is defeated again. Holding a giant anchor, Tomomori plunges to a watery death.
  • Yoshinoyama: this is a musical travel scene. Hearing that Yoshitsune has taken refuge in the mountains of Yoshino, Yoshitsuneĺs loyal retainer Tadanobu (Onoe Kikugor˘) and his lover Shizuka Gozen (Onoe Kikunosuke) go to try to meet him there. Although Tadanobu keeps disappearing, he always appears when Shizuka Gozen plays the precious drum that she received from Yoshitsune. In dance Tadanobu recounts episodes from the Genpei war, including the battle in which his brother died to save Yoshitsuneĺs life. Featuring Onoe Sh˘roku in the role of the comical villain Hayami no T˘ta.
  • Kawatsura H˘gen Yakata: Yoshitsune (Nakamura Tokiz˘) has taken refuge in the mountains of Yoshino at the mansion of an old ally. Tadanobu (Onoe Kikugor˘) arrives but has no recollection of Shizuka Gozen being placed under his care. Shizuka Gozen (Onoe Kikunosuke) herself soon arrives with the other Tadanobu and after an investigation they discover that he is actually a fox. In a touching story, the fox tells how he took on human form to be close to the hand drum, which is made from the skins of his fox parents. Moved, Yoshitsune gives the fox the drum and he flies away joyously.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 26 October 2009 (N˘ to Kabuki)
    Kabukiza Sayonara Tokubetsu K˘en
    Program

    Matsukaze

    Mura no Matsukaze Ninin Shiokumi

    Casting

    Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Nakamura Fukusuke

    Comments

    A special 1-day program called " and Kabuki", with one play and one Kabuki dance. The "Matsukaze" stars Kanze Kiyokazu and Kanze Yoshinobu. The Kabuki dance "Ninin Shiokumi" stars Band˘ Tamasabur˘ and Nakamura Fukusuke in the roles of Matsukaze and Murasame.

  • Ninin Shiokumi: in the classical Theatre, there are few plays as evocative as Matsukaze, the story of a court noble exiled to the seacoast where he falls in love with two fisher women. The women make their living scooping up heavy buckets of sea water to make salt and this has become a famous dance. Starring Band˘ Tamasabur˘ and Nakamura Fukusuke as the two fisher women.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 4 ~ 27 October 2009
    Program

    Ky˘-o Midasu Uwasa no Kagizume
    (Ningenhy˘ no Saigo)

    Casting

    Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Ichikawa Somegor˘

    Comments

    There are few writers who have been more popular than Edogawa Rampo (1894-1965). His pen name is based on Edgar Allan Poe and he introduced detective stories to Japan with his super detective Akechi Kogor˘. The writer also was a master of the grotesque and erotic and created characters with strange passions, masquerading as chairs to get close to the beloved, trying to preserve the bodies of beautiful men and women by turning them into perfect looking mannequins.

    In November 2008 the National Theatre presented "Edo no Yami Ayashi no Kagizume", a new Kabuki play that dramatized one of Edogawa Rampoĺs most haunting and popular novels, "Ningenhy˘" ("The Were-Panther"), about a man who has the lustful and bloodthirsty tastes of an animal and even resembles a panther, with glittering eyes, huge mouth and sharp teeth. He comes to battle the master detective Akechi Kogor˘ and stalks the women that are nearest and dearest to him. But instead of the jazzy atmosphere of the 1920ĺs of the original, the play was transferred to the Edo Period (1603-1868). That play ended with the villain escaping on a giant kite. In October 2009, the National Theatre will present a sequel, that takes the villain into the turbulent days of Ky˘to during the battles that brought the Tokugawa Shogunate to an end. Starring Matsumoto K˘shir˘ as Akechi Kogor˘ and Ichikawa Somegor˘ as the were-panther.

    Hakataza (Fukuoka)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 October 2009 (Kinshű Hanagata Kabuki)
    Program

    Narukami Fud˘ Kitayama Zakura

    Casting

    Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Nakamura Shibajaku, ďtani Tomoemon, Ichikawa Ukon, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Unosuke, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Band˘ Shinsha, Ichikawa Shun'en, Ichikawa En'ya, Sawamura S˘nosuke

    Comments

    T˘shi ky˘gen production of the spectacular drama "Narukami Fud˘ Kitayama Zakura", which includes "Kenuki", "Narukami" and "Fud˘" (which all belong to the Kabuki Jűhachiban). Ichikawa Ebiz˘ plays the roles of Kumedera Danj˘, the wicked priest Narukami, Prince Hayagumo, Abe Kiyoyuki and the Deity Fud˘ My˘˘. The role of Princess Taema is played by Nakamura Shibajaku.

    Kinshű Tokubetsu K˘en
    Dates 8 ~ 24 October 2009
    Program

    Taiko

    Tsugaru Jamisen

    Ninin Wankyű

    Shin

    Casting

    Nakamura Kantar˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke

    Comments

    The first item in this program is a taiko show (led by Hayashi Eitetsu), the second one is a tsugaru jamisen concert (led by Takahashi Chikud˘), the third one is a Kabuki dance and the last one ("Shin") is a new creation mixing all the previous arts (with a choreography done by Fujima Kanjűr˘ VIII and the collaboration of Tanaka Denzaemon XII for the musical accompaniment).

    Zenshinza Tour
    Dates 1 ~ 31 October 2009
    Program

    Narukami

    Casting

    Arashi Keishi, Kawarazaki Kunitar˘, Arashi Hironari, Anegawa Shinnosuke, Ikushima Kigor˘, Matsunami Kihachir˘

    Comments

    The Zenshinza troupe is on tour all over Japan:

  • Narukami: one of the most popular and universally appealing plays in the Kabuki Jűhachiban collection of plays featuring the bombastic aragoto style of acting. The holy man Narukami (Arashi Keishi) is angry at the Imperial Court and has taken refuge in the mountains where he has imprisoned inside a waterfall the dragon that brings rain, bringing a severe drought to the country. Princess Taema (Kawarazaki Kunitar˘) is sent by the Imperial Court to try to seduce Narukami, destroying his magical powers and release the rain. When he finds that he has been betrayed, anger transforms Narukami into a Thunder God.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

     
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