Nakamura Kankur˘ VI celebrates his shűmei in Nagoya at the Misonoza!
Yaegiri Kuruwa Banashi: Yamamba, or the mountain hag, has been celebrated
for centuries in traditional Japanese dance and theater. In the Kabuki version,
Yamamba becomes a beautiful woman, a courtesan who becomes the wife of the samurai
Tokiyuki and retreats to the mountains to miraculously give birth to the powerful
warrior Sakata Kintoki. This play was originally by the great Chikamatsu Monzaemon I
and is a classic of Kansai style Kabuki.
Nakamura Tokiz˘ appears as the courtesan who tells the humorous story of a
fight between courtesans over a handsome man and then mysteriously becomes pregnant
by the spirit of her husband. Starring Nakamura Senjaku and Band˘ Yajűr˘ in the roles of
Yaegiri's husband Sakata Tokiyuki and the villain ďta Jűr˘.
Ch˘ no Michiyuki:
(The Love Suicide of the Butterflies)
When people die, it is said that their spirits become butterflies. Having committed
double suicide, the butterfly spirits of Sukekuni (Onoe Kikunosuke) and Komaki (Nakamura Shichinosuke)
dance in human form remembering the time they first met and their love for each other.
But their happiness is brief as they are again tormented by hell.
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 (the new Nakamura Kankur˘),
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 (Onoe Kikunosuke), 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 (Onoe Kikugor˘), the head
maid of the Aburaya brothel, Mitsugi inadvertently draws the sword, said
to be cursed, and the rampage begins. Featuring also Kataoka Nizaemon in the role of the cook Kisuke.
Kikubatake: it is a great classic of period play Kabuki originally adapted from the Bunraku puppet theatre,
full of larger-than-life characters and a stage full of dazzling color.
In a garden of brilliant yellow and white chrysanthemums, there is Kiichi (Ichikawa Sadanji),
an elderly strategist working for the dictator Kiyomori, his beautiful daughter
Minazuru (Nakamura Tokiz˘) and two footmen, the elegant young Toraz˘ (Onoe Kikugor˘) and the
powerful Chienai (Kataoka Nizaemon). But in fact, Toraz˘ is a young general from the enemy
side here to steal Kiichiĺs secrets of strategy. Chienai is his retainer.
But Kiichi has realized why they are there and also knows that Chienai
is actually his younger brother. At the same time, Minazuru has fallen
deeply in love with Toraz˘.
K˘j˘: the close relationship between the actors and the audience
is shown by these stage announcements, lavish ceremonies to commemorate various
important events. In this case, all the stars of the cast assemble to celebrate
the shűmei of Nakamura Kankur˘ VI at the Misonoza.
Yoshitsune Sembon 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 fleeing from the
wrath of his brother Yoritomo, after the end of the war. Although Yoshitsune
is the title character, the main characters of the play are actually different
and this month features the three acts of the play about the magical fox
Michiyuki Hatsune no Tabi:
The story continues with a musical travel scene. Hearing that Yoshitsune has
taken refuge in the mountains of Yoshino, Tadanobu (the new Nakamura Kankur˘)
and Shizuka (Nakamura Shichinosuke) go to try to meet him there. Although Tadanobu keeps
disappearing, he always appears when Shizuka plays the precious drum
that she received from Yoshitsune. In dance Tadanobu recounts
episodes from the Gempei war,
including the battle in which his brother died.
Kawatsura H˘gen Yakata:
(The Mansion of the Priest Kawatsura)
Yoshitsune (Onoe Kikunosuke) has taken refuge in the mountains of Yoshino at the
mansion of an old ally. Tadanobu arrives but has no recollection
of Shizuka being placed under his care. Shizuka 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.
Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website