A special program called "Shűzan Matsuri" (the festival of Shűzan) is produced at the Kabukiza to commemorate the 120th anniversary of
the birth of the great actor Nakamura Kichiemon I, whose's haimy˘ was Shűzan.
The stars of this program are his descendants Nakamura Kichiemon II and Matsumoto K˘shir˘.
Kurumabiki: this short scene shows the three brothers that dominate
the drama "Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami",
each with a distinctive personality. Sakuramaru and Ume˘maru have been rendered
masterless by Kan Sh˘j˘'s exile. The third brother Matsu˘maru serves
the villain Shihei, who is responsible for the downfall of Kan Sh˘j˘.
Sakuramaru and Ume˘maru try to destroy Shihei's carriage but are stopped by Matsu˘maru
and the magical glare of Shihei. Finally the brothers agree to suspend their disputes
until they all meet at their father's seventieth birthday party.
The performance stars Ichikawa Somegor˘,
Onoe Sh˘roku and
Ichikawa Kamejir˘ in the roles of
Matsu˘maru, Ume˘maru and Sakuramaru.
Hikimado: originally written for the puppet theater,
this play shows a tragedy of commoners caught between their duty and their
feelings toward their loved ones. A sum˘
wrestler named Nuregami Ch˘gor˘ (Nakamura Tomijűr˘)
has killed a man and takes refuge at the home of his mother.
Unfortunately, her son (Nakamura Kichiemon) has been ordered to arrest him.
All of these complicated conflicts are symbolized by the lightness and
darkness created by the humble skylight (hikimado in Japanese)
as a rope is pulled to move a wooden shutter.
Rokkasen: two selections from a humorous series of dances, which
show the ancient poetic geniuses famous from classical Japananese literature,
reinterpreted to the tastes of Edo period audiences. Ono no Komachi,
the only woman of the six, was famous as a great beauty.
In this dance, all the other poets are in love with her and try to make her
their own. First there is an encounter between the two most famous lovers
of the Heian period, Ono no Komachi and Ariwara no Narihira (Nakamura Baigyoku).
Then the scene changes to a dance showing the low-ranking court noble
Yasuhide (Ichikawa Somegor˘), counted as one of the "Six Poetic Geniuses."
He pursues the fabulously beautiful Ono no Komachi, but instead encounters
some very homely court women in a kind of comic fantasy on the theme of love.
With Living National Treasure Nakamura Jakuemon as Komachi.
Terakoya: Genz˘ and his wife Tonami run a small school and are
protecting Kan Sh˘j˘'s son and heir, saying that he is their son. However,
word has gotten out Kan Sh˘j˘'s son is there and Genz˘ has been ordered to
behead him. Moreover, Matsu˘maru is to come to inspect the head. Their only
alternative is to kill one of the other students as a substitute, but all of
the students are farmer's children who could never pass for the son of a court
aristocrat. However, a new boy arrives that day and Genz˘ makes the terrible
decision to kill him in the place of his lord. As it turns out, Matsu˘maru has
sent his own son to be sacrificed, because of his family's long loyalty to
Kan Sh˘j˘. But he must face the most terrible situation for a father,
inspecting the head of his own son and lying when he says that it is the
genuine head of the son of Kan Sh˘j˘. Finally Matsu˘maru reveals his true
feelings to Genz˘ and he and his wife Chiyo mourn their dead son.
Starring Matsumoto K˘shir˘ as Matsu˘maru, Nakamura Kichiemon as Genz˘,
Nakamura Shikan as Chiyo and
Nakamura Kaishun as Tonami.
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 Shibajaku) and two footmen, the elegant young Toraz˘ (Ichikawa Somegor˘) and the
powerful Chienai (Matsumoto K˘shir˘). 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˘.
Kagotsurube: one of the most sensational plays of late Kabuki, this is a
rare full-length performance showing not only the story of Jir˘zaemon and the
courtesan Yatsuhashi, but also rarely performed scenes about Tachibanaya Ch˘bŕ
(Matsumoto K˘shir˘) and his wife Okitsu (Nakamura T˘z˘). The play shows a humble, pockmarked merchant
from the country named Sano Jir˘zaemon (Nakamura Kichiemon). He is wealthy, but because
of the way he looks, has never thought that it would be possible to have a woman.
He and his servant go sightseeing in the Yoshiwara pleasure quarters and a
chance look at top courtesan Yatsuhashi (Nakamura Fukusuke) who smiles at him, makes
Jir˘zaemon fall in love. However, the pleasure quarters are full of intrigue,
and on the eve of the day that Jir˘zaemon is to buy up Yatsuhashi's contract,
her true love Einoj˘ (Nakamura Baigyoku) forces her to reject and humiliate Jir˘zaemon
in the middle of the celebratory banquet. Jir˘zaemon seems to forgive her,
but returns with the sword Kagotsurube to exact his revenge.
Onizoroi Momijigari: this dance is a modern adaptation of a Kabuki
classic. The aristocrat Koremochi (Nakamura Shinjir˘) has travelled to view the autumn
leaves and encounters a beautiful princess (Ichikawa Somegor˘) and her entourage.
The entire party of beautiful women turn out to be vicious demons and attack
Koremochi after lulling him to sleep with a beautiful dream-like dance.
Source: Earphone Guide website