27th edition of the Kansai Kabuki Lovers Society July Grand Kabuki in ďsaka.
Matsumoto Haku˘ II and his son Matsumoto K˘shir˘ X
celebrate their shűmei in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza.
Kuruwa Sanbas˘: the sanbas˘ is an auspicious dance based on the
ritual play Okina in the classical N˘ theater which shows an old man as a symbol
of longevity and the energetic sanbas˘ as a symbol of fertility and prosperity.
In Kabuki there are many different versions, but this particular one sets the dance
in the pleasure quarters and has a beautiful top-ranking courtesan in place of
the old man and a taiko mochi
entertainer instead of the boisterous sanbas˘.
This dance features Kataoka Takatar˘ as the courtesan, Nakamura Kazutar˘ as the shinz˘ and Nakamura Kash˘ as the taiko mochi.
Kurumabiki: this short scene shows the three brothers that dominate
the drama "Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami",
each with a distinctive personality. Sakuramaru (Nakamura Senjaku) and
Ume˘maru (Nakamura Ganjir˘) have been rendered
masterless by Kan Sh˘j˘'s exile. The third brother Matsu˘maru (Nakamura Matagor˘) serves
the villain Shihei (Band˘ Yajűr˘), 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.
K˘chiyama: the tea priest K˘chiyama (Matsumoto Haku˘) 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 (kA() 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 Band˘ Yajűr˘, Nakamura Kazutar˘ and Ichikawa Komaz˘.
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 Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon and his son Kataoka Takatar˘ as the barrier keeper Togashi and Yoshitsune.
Ohama Goten: there are few plays more popular in Kabuki than
"Chűshingura" or the Treasury of the Forty-Seven Loyal
Retainers. In the modern period, this play was reworked by Mayama Seika as
"Genroku Chűshingura", a play focusing on different incidents
and different characters in this revenge classic adding historical
details reflecting the Genroku period.
One of the most popular parts of this play shows the man that will be the next
Sh˘gun, seemingly detached from the vendetta, but in fact, intensely interested
in the progress of the quest of the band of loyal retainers.
Starring Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon as Lord Tsunatoyo and Ichikawa Chűsha as Tominomori Sukeĺemon.
With Nakamura Kazutar˘ as Okiyo, Nakamura Senjaku as Ejima and Nakamura Karoku as Tsunatoyoĺs teacher Arai Kageyű.
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 assemble to celebrate the shűmei in ďsaka of Matsumoto Haku˘ II and Matsumoto K˘shir˘ X.
Featuring Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘.
Abura no Jigoku: this play has become phenomenally popular in modern times for its
hard-boiled sensibility and sensuous killing scene with the protagonists
slipping and struggling through puddles of spilled oil, but was virtually ignored at the time it was written.
It shows Yohŕ, the wastrel son of a well-to-do merchant, who constantly tries to borrow money from Okichi,
the wife of a neighboring oil merchant. Pressed for funds, he tries to blackmail her,
but ends up killing her in the long, dream-like scene that gives this plays its title, "the woman killer and the hell of oil".
Starring Matsumoto K˘shir˘ and Ichikawa Ennosuke in the roles of Yohŕ and Okichi.
Featuring also Nakamura Ganjir˘, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Matagor˘, Ichikawa Chűsha, Band˘ Takesabur˘ and Ichikawa Komaz˘.
Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website