The Heisei Nakamuraza is back in T˘ky˘ in the popular district of Asakusa.
This time, it is a 7-month project (performances up to May 2012!) for this temporary theater built within the Sumida Park.
Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami:
(Sugawara and the Secrets of Calligraphy)
Sugawara no Michizane (known in this play as Kan Sh˘j˘) was a high-ranking imperial court
minister who was a brilliant calligrapher and scholar. But political rivalries forced him to
be exiled to distant Kyűshű, where he died. After Michizane's death, a series of disasters
in the imperial capital were attributed to his angry spirit and he was appeased by being
made a god known as Tenjin, and he is now revered as the god of learning. His story was
dramatized as an epic puppet drama in 1746 and the play remains a favorite in both Kabuki
and the Bunraku puppet theatre.
(The Tug-of-War Over the Carriage)
There are three brothers serving three masters. Ume˘maru serves Kan Sh˘j˘.
Sakuramaru serves imperial prince Tokiyo. Kan Sh˘j˘ has been sent into exile and Tokiyo
is in disgrace. Ume˘maru (Nakamura Kantar˘) and Sakuramaru (Onoe Kikunosuke) lament the disaster that has overtaken their masters.
But they hear that the carriage of Fujiwara no Shihei (Kataoka Kamez˘) is coming. Shihei is the villain
that has sent Kan Sh˘j˘ into exile. But when the two brothers confront the carriage,
they are stopped by their brother Matsu˘maru (Band˘ Yajűr˘), who serves Shihei.
Nonetheless, they attack the carriage and are driven back by the magical powers of Shihei.
The three brothers agree to meet again at the seventieth birthday of their father, Shiratayű.
Ga no Iwai:
(The Birthday Celebration)
Shiratayű has long served Kan Sh˘j˘ and when he had three sons, he named them after
the favorite trees in his garden, the pine (matsu),
the plum (ume) and the cherry (sakura)
and had them all take service with important court nobles. However, the three lords of his
sons have all been torn to separate sides. Today is Shiratayű's birthday and all three sons
are to come. Chiyo (Onoe Matsuya), Matsu˘maru's wife, Haru (Band˘ Shingo), Ume˘maru's wife, and Yae (Nakamura Shichinosuke), Sakuramaru's wife,
all prepare festive food for the happy event. Since the brothers haven't arrived yet, Shiratayű (Band˘ Yajűr˘)
goes away with Yae to a shrine to pray. Matsu˘maru (Kataoka Kamez˘) and Ume˘maru (Nakamura Kantar˘) appear and immediately start
wrestling with each other, almost like mischievous children. They accidentally break the
branches of the cherry tree, an omen prefiguring the tragic conclusion of this act.
Sakuramaru (Onoe Kikunosuke) commits ritual suicide to atone for being responsible for Kan Sh˘j˘'s exile.
(The Village School)
Genz˘ (Onoe Kikunosuke) and his wife Tonami (Nakamura Shichinosuke) 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 (Nakamura Kanzabur˘) 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 (Nakamura Senjaku) mourn their
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 Senjaku as Kuzu-no-Ha and Onoe Matsuya as Yasuna.
Featuring also Kataoka Kamez˘ as Shinoda no Sh˘ji.
Seki no To:
(The Snowbound Barrier)
A snow-covered barrier decorated by a mysteriously blooming cherry tree provides
the background for the larger-than-life story of a traitorous aristocrat
disguised as a barrier guard and the beautiful woman, actually a supernatural
spirit in disguise, that will defeat him. Onoe Kikunosuke (the keisei Sumizome, in reality the spirit of Komachi's cherry tree),
Nakamura Kantar˘ (Sekibŕ, in reality ďtomo no Kuronushi),
Nakamura Shichinosuke (Ono no Komachi) and Nakamura Senjaku (Yoshimine Munesada)
star in what is considered to be one of the greatest Kabuki dance-dramas.
Matsuura no Taiko: Lord Matsuura (Nakamura Kanzabur˘) lives next door to the
enemy of the loyal retainers and is disgusted because they do not seem to be
interested in avenging the death of the lord. He is especially upset because
he studied with the same fighting teacher as Kuranosuke, the senior retainer
who should be leading the vendetta. Moreover, he learns from the haiku teacher
Takarai Kikaku (Band˘ Yajűr˘) that his student ďtaka Gengo (Onoe Kikunosuke) who should be part of
the vendetta left a poem suggesting that he was forgetting his former lord and
going to take service with another samurai lord. Gengo's sister Onui (Nakamura Shichinosuke)
serves Lord Matsuura and in disgust he is about to dismiss her, when there
is a disturbance from next door. The attack has begun, and in joy, Lord Matsuura
counts out the strokes of the drum, struck in a pattern that is only
known by students of his fighting teacher.
Source: Earphone Guide website