SEPTEMBER 2009

2 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza), 2 in Nagoya (Heisei Nakamuraza), 1 in Kanazawa (Kanazawaj˘) and 2 tours (Western Provinces, Zenshinza)!

Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
Dates 2 ~ 26 September 2009 (Kugatsu ďkabuki)
Kabukiza Sayonara K˘en
MatinÚe

Ry˘ma ga Yuku (Saigo no Ichinichi)

Toki-ha Ima Kiky˘ no Hataage (Badarai)

Omatsuri

Kumo ni Magou Ueno no Hatsuhana (K˘chiyama)

Evening

Ukiyozuka Hiyoku no Inazuma

  • Sayaate
  • Suzu-ga-Mori
  • Kanjinch˘

    Sh˘chikubai Yushima no Kakegaku

    Casting

    Nakamura Kichiemon, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Tomijűr˘, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun, Kataoka Takatar˘, Nakamura Fukusuke, Ichikawa Danshir˘, Nakamura T˘z˘, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Kash˘, Nakamura Matsue

    Comments

    9th of the 16 Kabukiza Sayonara K˘en, the Kabukiza Farewell Performances, which will be held up to April 2010.

  • Saigo no Ichinichi:
    (Sakamoto Ry˘maĺs Final Day)
    This is a dramatization of the last 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 Ichikawa Somegor˘ as Sakamoto Ry˘ma.
  • Badarai: based on the true historical story of Akechi Mitsuhide who betrayed his lord Oda Nobunaga and ruled Japan for a few short days before being defeated by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, this play focuses on Mitsuhide and his tortured relationship with the arrogant and unreasonable lord Nobunaga. It is one of the few period plays by Tsuruya Nanboku IV still performed today and brings the same sharp psychological insight and eye for the attractiveness of evil characters that make his ghost plays and plays about commoners so powerful. Featuring Nakamura Kichiemon, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Kaishun and Nakamura Tomijűr˘ in the roles of Takechi Mitsuhide (because of strict censorship, the real names were not used), Shih˘ten Tajima-no-Kami, Mitsuhide's wife Satsuki and Oda Harunaga.
  • Omatsuri: a special gala version of the favorite dance "Omatsuri" showing people at a festival. This month, the top stars in Kabuki will appear as gallant firemen bosses, geisha and dancers at a festival to say farewell to Kabukiza. Featuring Living National Treasure Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Shibajaku, Kataoka Takatar˘ and Nakamura Kinnosuke.
  • K˘chiyama: the tea priest K˘chiyama (Matsumoto K˘shir˘) 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 (Nakamura Baigyoku) 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.
  • Ukiyozuka Hiyoku no Inazuma: originally based on a comic book which wittily showed the daily life of famous historical characters fallen on hard times, the full length play dramatized the stories of the handsome young samurai Nagoya Sanza and Shirai Gonpachi, creating the classical versions of these old characters that have become standard today. Two sections of Tsuruya Nanboku IV's play are staged this month:
  • Sayaate: Two rivals for the love of one of the top courtesans in the pleasure quarters encounter one another and confront each other in a series of sarcastic, poetic and stately speeches. A play full of the color and ceremony of the most stylized age of Kabuki. Featuring Ichikawa Somegor˘, Onoe Sh˘roku and Nakamura Shibajaku in the roles of Nagoya Sanza, Fuwa Banzaemon and the tea house mistress Oky˘.
  • Suzu-ga-Mori: The young samurai Shirai Gonpachi (Nakamura Baigyoku) is ambushed near the execution grounds of Edo on a dark night, but he manages to escape after a gruesome but humorous fight scene. He is watched by Banzuiin Ch˘bŕ (Nakamura Kichiemon), an Edo boss, who is impressed with his fighting skills and agrees to give him shelter in the city. This meeting between the handsome young Gonpachi and the heroic Ch˘bŕ is one of the most famous meetings in Kabuki.
  • 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 Ichikawa Somegor˘ and Nakamura Kichiemon as Yoshitsune and the barrier keeper Togashi. This production celebrates the 60th anniversary of the passing away of Matsumoto K˘shir˘ VII.
  • Yushima no Kakegaku: Oshichi was a grocer's daughter who fell in love with a temple page named Kichisabur˘ when her family took refuge in a temple after a fire. She so wanted to see him that she set a fire, even though the penalty for arson was death. The story of Oshichi is famous in many theatrical versions, but this particular one features the antics of the middle-aged man Beniya Ch˘bŕ (commonly called Bench˘) who is in love with her. Starring Nakamura Kichiemon as Bench˘, Nakamura Fukusuke as Oshichi and Nakamura Kinnosuke as Kichisabur˘.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Heisei Nakamuraza (Nagoya)
    Dates 4 ~ 26 September 2009
    MatinÚe

    Sumidagawa Gonichi no Omokage (H˘kaib˘)

    Evening

    Keisei Hangonk˘ (Domo Mata)

    Kiwametsuki Banzui Ch˘bŕ

    Genroku Hanami Odori

    Casting

    Nakamura Kanzabur˘, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Senjaku, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Kataoka Kamez˘, Sasano Takashi, Nakamura Kantar˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke

    Comments

    The Heisei Nakamuraza is in Nagoya for the second time. The first time, it was a short stay as part of the long September 2006 tour in the western provinces. This time, it is a month-long project, with two different programs, including one classic of the Nakamuraya guild ("H˘kaib˘").

  • H˘kaib˘: a full-length performance of a comic play featuring the antics of an evil begging priest named H˘kaib˘. In this case, it is a special version of this Kabuki classic staged by modern theater director Kushida Kazuyoshi. H˘kaib˘ is in love with the beautiful, young Okumi who is herself in love with Y˘suke, a servant at her father's store. Y˘suke is actually an aristocrat searching for the lost treasure of his family. He regains possession only to have the scroll stolen by H˘kaib˘. Y˘suke accepts Okumi's love, but is also pursued by Princess Nowake, his true fiancee. In a grim but humorous scene at a graveyard, everyone tries to get Okumi and the scroll. But H˘kaib˘ ends up killing Princess Nowake and is killed himself before he can enjoy the fruits of his villainy. The last scene, "Futa Omote Mizu ni Terutsuki", is one of the great classics of dance and is often performed separately. Y˘suke and Okumi try to run off together only to find a strange figure that looks exactly like Okumi. Y˘suke tries to find out which is the real Okumi. In fact, in a virtuoso turn for the star actor who plays this double role, the mysterious figure is made up of the combined spirits of H˘kaib˘ and Princess Nowake, each questing for love even after death. Featuring Nakamura Kanzabur˘, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Senjaku, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Kataoka Kamez˘, Sasano Takashi, Nakamura Kantar˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke.
  • 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. Featuring Nakamura Kantar˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke.
  • Banzui Ch˘bŕ: in the early Edo period, gallant men like Banzuiin Ch˘bŕ led the commoners. But this incurred the wrath of members of the samurai class, who were theoretically in control. This play begins with a recreation of Kabuki in its earliest days, then a fight breaks out which is settled by Ch˘bŕ. But this frustrates the ambitions of the samurai Mizuno who invites Ch˘bŕ to visit. All of Ch˘bŕ's men tell him not to go because it is a trap, but Ch˘bŕ decides to meet his end and bids farewell to his wife and son. Finally, Ch˘bŕ is killed when he is defenseless in the bath. Featuring Nakamura Kanzabur˘, Nakamura Hashinosuke and Nakamura Senjaku.
  • Hanami Odori: this dance is a very lively one describing the merriment of cherry-blossoms viewing at Ueno hill (present Ueno Park in T˘ky˘, a famous cherry- blossoms viewing place) in the Genroku Era (1688~1704). Genroku is the segment of Edo period, during which Japanese culture reached a zenith of gorgeousness and the epicurean tendencies of people came to extremity. Featuring Nakamura Kantar˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website, except "Genroku Hanami Odori" (www.komuso.com)

    Kabuki Tour in the Western Provinces
    Dates 31 August ~ 25 September 2009
    Program

    Sakata T˘jűr˘ no Omemie (Goaisatsu)

    Koi Bikyaku Yamato ďrai (Fűin Giri)

    Renjishi

    Casting

    Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Kanjaku, Kataoka Ainosuke, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Nakamura Kikaku, Nakamura Kazutar˘

    Comments

    Chikamatsuza tour in the Western provinces:

  • Goaisatsu: the close relationship between the actors and the audience is shown by this goaisatsu (literally greetings) k˘j˘, lavish ceremonies to commemorate various important events. In this case, the goaisatsu is performed by Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘ as an extension in the western provinces of his 2005/2006 shűmei.
  • Fűin Giri:
    (Breaking the Seals)
    In the pleasure quarters, the most important possessions were money and reputation. In danger of losing his lover, the courtesan Umegawa, the money courier Kameya Chűbŕ breaks the seals on a package of money entrusted to him after being taunted by a rival, even though the use of such money is punishable by death. Starring Sakata T˘jűr˘ as Chűbŕ, T˘jűr˘'s grandson Nakamura Kazutar˘ as Umegawa, Kataoka Ainosuke as Chűbŕ's treacherous friend Tanbaya Hachiemon and Kataoka Hidetar˘ as Oen, the proprietress of the teahouse.
  • Renjishi: 2 entertainers dance a tale of the legendary shishi or lion-like spirits that live at the foot of a holy Buddhist mountain. There is a comic interlude with 2 Buddhist pilgrims. Then, the shishi themselves appear and perform their dance with wild shaking of their long manes. The dance shows a parent shishi forcing his cub to undergo harsh training in order to grow up strong. This theme is often associated with the training a parent actor gives his son. This performance features Nakamura Kanjaku in the role of the parent shishi and his son Kataoka Ainosuke in the role of the cub.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Zenshinza Tour
    Dates 13 ~ 28 September 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

    Kanazawaj˘ Kabuki 2009
    Dates 29 ~ 30 September 2009
    Program

    Renjishi

    Casting

    Nakamura Kanzabur˘, Nakamura Kantar˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke

    Comments

    A special Kabuki program in the precincts of the Kanazawa Castle (Kanazawaj˘), a large and well-restored castle in the heart of the city of Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture.

     
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