SEPTEMBER 2012

3 shows in T˘ky˘ (Shinbashi Enbuj˘, National Theatre), 2 in ďsaka (Sh˘chikuza), 1 show in Ky˘to (Minamiza) and 1 tour (Western Provinces)!

Shinbashi Enbuj˘ (T˘ky˘)
Dates 1 ~ 25 September 2012 (Shűzan Matsuri Kugatsu ďkabuki)
Shűzan's Festival September Grand Kabuki
MatinÚe

Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami (Terakoya)

Kumo ni Magou Ueno no Hatsuhana (K˘chiyama)

Evening

Toki-ha Ima Kiky˘ no Hataage (Badarai)

Ky˘ganoko Musume D˘j˘ji

Casting

Nakamura Kichiemon, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Fukusuke, Nakamura Kaishun, Kataoka Takatar˘, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Matagor˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Nakamura Kash˘, Nakamura Matsue, Sawamura Yoshijir˘, ďtani Keiz˘, Sawamura S˘nosuke, Band˘ Kametoshi, Matsumoto Kingo, ďtani Hirotar˘, ďtani Hiromatsu, Nakamura Tanenosuke, Nakamura Hayato, Nakamura Yonekichi, Nakamura Kichinosuke

Comments

This is the 6th edition in T˘ky˘ of a special program called "Shűzan Matsuri" (the festival of Shűzan), which is produced at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ 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.

  • 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 Nakamura Kichiemon as Matsu˘maru, Nakamura Baigyoku as Genz˘, Nakamura Fukusuke as Chiyo and Nakamura Shibajaku as Tonami.
  • 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 (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. Featuring also Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Nakamura Karoku and Nakamura Matagor˘.
  • 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, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun and Nakamura Karoku 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. Featuring also Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Ichikawa Komaz˘ and Nakamura Matagor˘.
  • Musume D˘j˘ji: a beautiful young woman dances under cherry blossoms at a dedication ceremony for a temple bell. She dances the many aspects of a woman in love, but is actually the spirit of a serpent, driven to destroy the bell out of jealousy. In addition to being the most famous of all Kabuki dances, "Musume D˘j˘ji" is considered to be the pinnacle of the art of the onnagata. This monthĺs production stars Nakamura Fukusuke as the maiden and also features a rare performance of the second part of the dance where the maiden appears as a serpent and is pushed back by ďdate Samagor˘ Teruhide (Onoe Sh˘roku), a powerful hero played in the bombastic aragoto style.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Sh˘chikuza (ďsaka)
    Dates 1 ~ 25 September 2012 (Kugatsu ďkabuki)
    September Grand Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Imoseyama Onna Teikin
    (Mikasayama Goten)

    Niwaka Jishi

    Dango Uri

    Mabuta no Haha

    Evening

    Onna Shibaraku

    K˘j˘

    Amagoi Gitsune (Kankur˘ Rokuhenge)

    Kari no Tayori

    Casting

    Nakamura Kankur˘, Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Nakamura Kanjaku, Nakamura Senjaku, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Kataoka Gat˘, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Band˘ Takesabur˘, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Kataoka Kamez˘, Nakamura Kikaku, Kamimura Kichiya, Band˘ Shinsha, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Band˘ Shingo

    Comments

    Nakamura Kankur˘ VI celebrates his shűmei in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza!

  • Mikasayama Goten: a fantastic Kabuki period play showing intrigues in the imperial court in the earliest days of Japan. The dictator Soga no Iruka has set up his own court and now seeks to destroy his opponent Kamatari. A mysterious fisherman named Fukashichi (Nakamura Hashinosuke) comes as a messenger from Kamatari, claiming to bring a message of surrender. Meanwhile, Iruka's younger sister, Princess Tachibana (Nakamura Kazutar˘) has fallen in love with a handsome young man named Motome (Band˘ Shingo). But Motome is actually the son of Kamatari and says that he will only grant her love if she will cut off Iruka's head. Moreover, a country girl named Omiwa (Nakamura Shichinosuke) has also followed Motome. Omiwa's blood and the work of all these people combined are what is necessary to finally defeat the magical powers of the evil Iruka. Featuring also Nakamura Kanjaku.
  • 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 Senjaku (the geisha) and Nakamura Hashinosuke (the firefighter).
  • Dango Uri:
    (The Dumpling Peddlers)
    the mortar and pestle used for pounding rice cakes and dumplings are a symbol of a happily married couple. This short, lively dance shows a couple peddling dumplings with a series of songs and dances. Starring Nakamura Shichinosuke and the new Nakamura Kankur˘ in the roles of the husband and the wife.
  • Mabuta no Haha:
    (The Remembered Mother)
    first performed in 1931, "Mabuta no Haha" is a play by Hasegawa Shin (1884~1963), who specialized in gritty realistic representations of the lower classes in the Edo period. Banba no Chűtar˘ (the new Nakamura Kankur˘) is a rough gangster, but has always regretted not knowing his mother (Band˘ Tamasabur˘). After helping a friend and his mother, he decides to search for his own. He believes to have found her in Ohama, the mistress of a restaurant, but she refuses to acknowledge him to protect the reputation of her daughter, who is about to be married. Unable to meet his mother, he closes his eyes and tries to imagine her as the beautiful woman he remembers, not the horror of reality. Featuring also Band˘ Yajűr˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Kataoka Kamez˘ and Band˘ Takesabur˘.
  • Onna Shibaraku: more ceremony than play, "Shibaraku" is one of the oldest pieces in Kabuki. Just as an evil villain is about to execute a group of loyal retainers, a voice calls out for him to wait and a hero appears to save the day. This version is a parody, though, as the hero is played by an onnagata female role specialist, who mixes the super-human strength of an aragoto hero with the soft gentleness of a Kabuki heroine. Featuring Band˘ Tamasabur˘ as the heroine and Nakamura Hashinosuke as the larger-than-life villain, with the new Nakamura Kankur˘ as a friendly stage attendant who makes sure that everything goes right. Featuring also Nakamura Kanjaku, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Kataoka Kamez˘, Kamimura Kichiya and Kataoka Hidetar˘.
  • 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 (including Kataoka Gat˘) assemble to celebrate the shűmei of Nakamura Kankur˘ VI at the Sh˘chikuza.
  • Amagoi Gitsune:
    (The Fox Praying for Rain)
    They say that when it rains while the sun is shining, this means that the bridal procession of a fox is passing. That is what is shown in this relatively modern dance starring a talented dancer as a magical fox that does a series of dances in six highly contrasting roles: a fox, a shrine maiden praying for rain, a blind masseur, Ono no T˘fű (one of the greatest calligraphers in the history of Japan), the fox bride in a bridal procession and a paper lantern. The six roles are danced by the new Nakamura Kankur˘.
  • Kari no Tayori: an unusual play in the ďsaka acting style originally written in the 19th century by Nakamura Utaemon III. A barber (Nakamura Kanjaku) finds his feelings twisted one way and another by the events in the neighboring samurai mansion where the lord is trying to force Tsukasa (Nakamura Kazutar˘), a beautiful woman, to become his mistress. The play shows the barber's changing reactions to two letters from the beautiful woman declaring her love for him. One letter is sincere, the other is a forgery but both turn out to be dangerous traps. Featuring also Nakamura Senjaku and Band˘ Yajűr˘.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Kabuki Tour in the western provinces
    Dates 31 August ~ 26 September 2012
    Program

    Kabuki no Mikata

    Ichi-no-Tani Futaba Gunki (Kumagai Jin'ya)

    Onna Date

    Casting

    Ichikawa Ukon, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Emiya, Ichikawa En'ya, Ichikawa Juen, Ichikawa K˘tar˘

    Comments

  • Kabuki no Mikata: a lively presentation of Kabuki done by Ichikawa En'ya.
  • Kumagai Jin'ya: this play is a dramatization of the clash between the Genji general Kumagai Jir˘ Naozane and the Heike warrior Taira no Atsumori at the battle of Ichi-no-Tani, one of the most famous passages of the epic "Tales of the Heike". In the Kabuki version, on the cryptic orders of the Genji leader Yoshitsune, Kumagai hides the enemy warrior Atsumori and has his own son take the warrior's place. On the battlefield, Kumagai has to kill his own son in Atsumori's place. Things become worse when his wife Sagami and Atsumori's mother Fuji-no-Kata arrive at his camp. In the highlight of the play, he tells them the story of his mortal battle with Atsumori, keeping Atsumori's well-being and his own sacrifice a secret. He then shows the head of Atsumori for inspection by his leader to see if he has interpreted his orders correctly. This performance stars Ichikawa Ukon as Kumagai, with Ichikawa Emisabur˘ as Kumagai's wife Sagami, Ichikawa Emiya as Fuji-no-Kata, Ichikawa Monnosuke as Yoshitsune and Ichikawa En'ya as Midaroku.
  • Onna Date: Ichikawa Emiya stars as a woman in the pleasure quarters who swaggers and fights in the finest gallant style but who has a delicate sense of femininity as well.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 1 ~ 2 September 2012 (Matsuo-juku Kodomo Kabuki)
    Matsuo Academy of Kabuki ~ Kabuki for Kids Performance
    Program

    Kanjinch˘

    Ume no Yoshibŕ

    Nagauta Suehirogari

    K˘j˘

    Comments

    The Matsuo-juku Kodomo Kabuki [website in Japanese] is a kodomo shibai troupe, founded in ďsaka in 1988 by Matsuo Hazue, the wife of Matsuo Kuniz˘ (1899~1984), whose name is closely associated to the Matsuo Artistic Awards (Matsuo Gein˘ Sh˘). The troupe is now led by Matsuo Hazue's daughter Matsuo Hideko. The troupe celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2012!

    Minamiza (Ky˘to)
    Dates 28 ~ 30 September 2012 (Koten he no Izanai)
    Invitation to the Classics
    Program

    Opening Talk

    Hann˘ Shakky˘

    Renjishi

    Casting

    Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Nakamura Kazutar˘

    Comments

    An original program, which mixes (second item in the program) and Kabuki Buy˘ (third item in the program). The opening talk is done by the young Kabuki star Ichikawa Ebiz˘.

  • 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 Ichikawa Ebiz˘ in the role of the parent shishi and his son Nakamura Kazutar˘ in the role of the cub.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

     
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