SEPTEMBER 2008

6 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, Shinbashi Enbuj˘, Akasaka Act Theater, Mitsukoshi Gekij˘), 1 in Nagoya (Chűky˘ Daigaku Bunka Shimin Kaikan) and 1 tour (Western Provinces)!

Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
Dates 2 ~ 26 September 2008 (Shűzan Matsuri Kugatsu ďkabuki)
MatinÚe

Ry˘ma ga Yuku

Hirakana Seisuiki (Sakaro)

Nihon Furisode Hajime

Evening

ďmi Genji Senjin Yakata
(Moritsuna Jin'ya)

Tobae

Kumo ni Magou Ueno no Hatsuhana (K˘chiyama)

Casting

Nakamura Kichiemon, Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Nakamura Tomijűr˘, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Fukusuke, Ichikawa Sadanji, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Kash˘, Ichikawa Kamejir˘, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Nakamura Tamatar˘, Nakamura Takanosuke, Nakamura Yoshio

Comments

This is the 3rd edition of a special program called "Shűzan Matsuri" (the festival of Shűzan), which is produced at the Kabukiza to commemorate the great actor Nakamura Kichiemon I, whose's haimy˘ was Shűzan. The star of this program is his adopted son Nakamura Kichiemon II.

  • Ry˘ma ga Yuku: this is a dramatization of the middle section of the tremendously popular historical novel by Shiba Ry˘tar˘ (1923~1996) about Sakamoto Ry˘ma (1836~1867), a visionary revolutionary at the end of the Tokugawa Period who brought various rival factions together to battle the Shogunate and would have led Japan boldly, if he had not been assassinated in a bloody battle. Starring Somegoro as Ry˘ma with Ichikawa Kamejir˘, Onoe Sh˘roku and Nakamura Kinnosuke.
  • Sakaro:
    (The Rise and Fall of the Heike Clan - Reverse Rowing)
    A period play taken from the Bunraku puppet theater which combines a historical tale with the daily life of commoners. Matsuemon (Nakamura Kichiemon) has married into the family of a country boatman. Having learned the special rowing skills of his father-in-law, he is invited to transport the Genji general Yoshitsune. But Matsuemon is actually the warrior Higuchi Kanemitsu, a leading retainer of a general killed by Yoshitsune and he sees this as a perfect opportunity to take his revenge. Before he can put his plan into action, though, his identity is discovered and he is captured in a spectacular battle on sea and land. Featuring Living National Treasure Nakamura Tomijűr˘ in the role of Hatakeyama Shigetada.
  • Nihon Furisode Hajime: this dance is a rare example of a story from ancient Japanese mythology in a puppet play by Chikamatsu Monzaemon adapted for the Kabuki theater. As part of an annual ritual, Princess Inada has been chosen to be sacrificed to a fierce serpent that lives in the mountains of Izumo. The serpent arrives in the guise of a beautiful princess, but before it can attack it is attracted to eight jars full of sake. The jars are a trap planted by the god Susanoo, who confronts the beast in its true form as an eight-headed serpent, to save the princess. Starring Band˘ Tamasabur˘ as the serpent, with Ichikawa Somegor˘ and Nakamura Fukusuke in the roles of Susanoo and Princess Inada.
  • Moritsuna Jin'ya: this play is one of the greatest classics of the jidaimono historical play style. Two brothers, Moritsuna and Takatsuna are generals on opposing sides. Moritsuna's forces are greater in number and strength, but his brother's brilliant strategies allow him to escape by preying on Moritsuna's psychological weaknesses. Ruthlessly, Takatsuna has his son sacrifice his life to force Moritsuna to identify the head of an imposter as that of his dead brother. Starring Nakamura Kichiemon as Moritsuna, with Nakamura Shikan as Mimy˘, the mother of the two brothers, Nakamura Fukusuke as Kagaribi, the wife of Takatsuna, and Ichikawa Sadanji as the crafty general Wada no Hy˘e.
  • Tobae: tobae are light, comical sketches drawn by the monk of Toba. This dance shows a man awakened late at night to see what he imagines is the pestle from a kitchen mortar and pestle growing wings and flying -an image worthy of a tobae -only to find that it is a giant rat. He performs a series of comical dances with the rat, including a highly exaggerated love scene. Starring Living National Treasure Nakamura Tomijűr˘ as the man and his son Nakamura Takanosuke as the rat.
  • K˘chiyama: the tea priest K˘chiyama (Nakamura Kichiemon) is a skilled thief and extortionist, but cannot turn down a request to help those in need. He disguises himself as a high-ranking priest to try to gain the freedom of a girl held by a powerful samurai lord (Ichikawa Somegor˘) because she will not become his mistress. Using the famous poetic cadences of the late 19th century playwright Mokuami, K˘chiyama not only succeeds in his mission to rescue the girl, but he manages to extort a fair amount for himself.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Shinbashi Enbuj˘ (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 1 ~ 25 September 2008 (Shinshű Kugatsu ďkabuki)
    MatinÚe

    Genpei Nunobiki no Taki

    Makura Jishi

    Evening

    Kagamiyama Koky˘ no Nishikie

    Iro Moy˘ Chotto Karimame (Kasane)

    Casting

    Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Ichikawa Kamejir˘, Ichikawa Danz˘, Kawarazaki Gonjűr˘, Ichikawa Unosuke, Ichimura Kakitsu, ďtani Tomoemon, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Ichikawa Omez˘, Onoe Matsuya, Nakamura Baishi

    Comments

  • Yoshikata Saigo: a play about the early days of the rivalry between the Genji and Heike warrior clans, and the early rise of the Genji clan after a time of oppression. Yoshikata (Ichikawa Ebiz˘) is the lone member of the Genji clan and pretends to have no interest in reviving its fortunes, but Yukitsuna (Kawarazaki Gonjűr˘) a good-humored footman who is actually a spy, realizes his true intentions. Yoshikata is about to have a son, the general Yoshinaka, who will lead the Genji to victory, but Yoshikata himself is attacked and surrounded and dies in a spectacular scene where he falls from the top of a flight of stairs.
  • Chikubushima Yűran: the Heike dictator Kiyomori is attempting to eliminate all the heirs to the rival Genji clan and has sent The warrior Sait˘ Bett˘ Sanemori (Ichikawa Ebiz˘) to search them out, unaware that Sanemori feels a strong bond of loyalty to the Genji clan. Sanemori comes to a pleasure boat on Lake Biwa when a woman (Ichikawa Monnosuke) comes swimming, holding a white banner. She is named Koman and being pursued and to prevent the banner from going to the Heike, Sanemori accuses her of being a hateful woman and cuts off her arm, which sinks into the lake together with the banner.
  • Sanemori Monogatari: Sanemori (Ichikawa Ebiz˘) has been charged by Kiyomori with finding Aoi Gozen, the pregnant wife of the leader of the enemy Genji clan. He is to kill her child if it is a son who can succeed to head of the clan, but old loyalties to the Genji lead him to protect the boy. Sanemori tells the story of how Koman (Ichikawa Monnosuke), the daughter of the old couple who is protecting Aoi Gozen, bravely fought to protect the sacred standard of the Genji from the Heike. Koman mysteriously comes back to life when her severed arm is rejoined to it.
  • Makura Jishi: the keisei Yayoi performs a dance expressing her bitterness toward her dreary life in the gay quarters, but she gradually finds herself under the control of the lion spirit. In the second half of the dance, the lion spirit itself appears and performs its crazed dance among peonies and fluttering butterflies. Starring Nakamura Tokiz˘ as both the courtesan Yayoi and the spirit of the lion.
  • Kagamiyama: "Kagamiyama" is the ultimate play about rivalry and revenge in the women's quarters of a samurai mansion. It is said to be based on life in the Sh˘gun's castle since the original play was written by a doctor familiar with things in that exalted realm far from the eyes of the common people. Starring Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘ and Ichikawa Kamejir˘ in the roles of the evil Iwafuji, the gentle Onoe and the valorous Ohatsu.
  • Kasane: one can never escape past evils. Yoemon is fleeing to the countryside, but Kasane, the woman he abandoned, refuses to let him go. She catches up with him at a lonely river bank. A skull stabbed with a scythe appears and Kasane is possessed by its spirit, actually the spirit of her dead father, and her face suddenly becomes disfigured. She pours out her feelings of jealousy and resentment and Yoemon kills Kasane, but even after her death, he cannot escape her vengeful spirit. Starring Ichikawa Kamejir˘ as Kasane and Ichikawa Ebiz˘ as Yoemon.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Kabuki Tour in the Western Provinces
    Dates 31 August ~ 25 September 2008
    Program

    Ashiya D˘man ďuchi Kagami (Kuzu-no-Ha)

    Kanjinch˘

    Casting

    Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Baigyoku, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Nakamura Matsue, Matsumoto Kingo, Nakamura Utae, Band˘ Kametoshi

    Comments

  • Kuzu-no-Ha: Abe no Yasuna, a court astrologer in disgrace, has married a beautiful woman named Kuzu-no-Ha, not knowing that she is actually a fox that has taken human form to repay his kindness in saving his life. The couple has a child and lives happily together until the real woman whose form the fox borrowed appears. Knowing that she can no longer stay, Kuzu-no-Ha writes a tearful farewell poem on the paper screen and returns to the wilderness. Starring Nakamura Kaishun as Kuzu-no-Ha and Ichikawa Komaz˘ as Yasuna.
  • Kanjinch˘: probably the most popular Kabuki play today, it includes dance, comedy and the heart-warming pathos of a band of heroes during their last days. Disguised as a band of traveling priests the fugitive general Yoshitsune and his small band of retainers are stopped at a road barrier. They escape only through the quick thinking of the head retainer, a warrior priest named Musashib˘ Benkei, who improvises the text of an elaborate imperial decree. Having escaped danger Benkei and the others describe their days of glory and hardships on the road to escape in a moving dance. This program stars Matsumoto K˘shir˘ in the role of Benkei, with Nakamura Kaishun and Nakamura Baigyoku as Yoshitsune and the barrier keeper Togashi.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Akasaka Act Theater (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 20 September 2008 (Akasaka ďkabuki)
    Program

    Korikori Banashi

    B˘ Shibari

    Casting

    Nakamura Kanzabur˘, Nakamura Senjaku, Ichikawa Kamejir˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Kataoka Kamez˘, Nakamura Kantar˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke

    Comments

  • Korikori Banashi:
    (Bewitching Foxes and Badgers)
    In Japan, foxes and tanuki badgers are said to have the power to take the shape of humans, and in that form, they play mischievously, sometimes causing great harm. In this play by the contemporary playwrite H˘j˘ Hideji (1902~1996), foxes and badgers do not appear, but the scheming of human beings is no less crafty than that of those magical creatures.
  • B˘ Shibari:
    (Tied to a Pole)
    A dance play based on a classical Ky˘gen farce. A master (Kataoka Kamez˘) is irritated that his two servants always drink his wine while he is out. He plots with his servant Tar˘kaja (Nakamura Shichinosuke) to trick the other servant Jir˘kaja (Nakamura Kantar˘) into demonstrating his skill at stick fighting, tying him to the stick. The master then ties up Tar˘kaja as well. But he is outsmarted when the two still manage to drink his wine while tied up. Their happy singing and dancing while tied up is a dazzling display of virtuoso dancing and star two of the finest young dancers in Kabuki.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Mitsukoshi Gekij˘ (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 19 September 2006
    Program

    Jiisan Baasan

    Tenaraiko

    Niwaka Jishi

    Casting

    Nakamura Hashinosuke, Kataoka Takatar˘, Nakamura Kikaku, Band˘ Kamesabur˘, Band˘ Shingo, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Nakamura Muneo, Nakamura Kunio

    Comments

    "Mitsukoshi Kabuki", a special Kabuki program at the Mitsukoshi Theatre, starring some young rising stars.

  • Jiisan Baasan: based on a short story by Mori ďgai, this modern play by Uno Nobuo shows a loving young couple. The samurai Iori travels to Ky˘to with his lord, leaving Run, his beloved wife, behind. While there, he attacks another man in a fight over a sword and is forced into house arrest, separating him from his wife. Many years later, he returns to his home as an old man. There he meets an elderly woman and they do not recognize each other until she sees the one thing that has not changed with age, Iori's peculiar habit of putting his hand to his nose. Starring Nakamura Hashinosuke and Kataoka Takatar˘ as Iori and Run.
  • Tenaraiko: a girl dawdles on her way home from school, plays with the butterflies in the field and dreams of love. Starring Kataoka Takatar˘.
  • Niwaka Jishi: this lively dance evokes the atmosphere of an Edo period festival. The highlight of the piece is the lion dance performed by two of the handsome young men of the neighborhood. Featuring Nakamura Hashinosuke as the firefighter boss and two of his sons as the tobi.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Chűky˘ Daigaku Bunka Shimin Kaikan
    Dates 26 ~ 28 September 2008
    Program

    Gedatsu no Kinu Momiji Kasane

    Casting

    Arashi Keishi, Kawarazaki Kunitar˘, Segawa Kikunoj˘, Fujikawa Yanosuke, Arashi Hironari, Yamazaki Tatsusabur˘, Anegawa Shinnosuke

    Comments

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