This program celebrates the 120th anniversary of the first Kabuki performance given for the Emperor (the 21st of April 1887) with the
dance-drama "Kanjinch˘" and the 6th anniversary (7th memorial service) of
the death of Ichimura Uzaemon XVII witht the drama "Onna Shibaraku":
Dorob˘ to Wakatono:
(The Thief and the Samurai Lord)
This is a new play that is a dramatization of a story by popular historical novelist
Yamamoto Shűgor˘. It shows a surprising encounter between a thief and a
high-ranking samurai lord. Starring Onoe Sh˘roku as the thief and
Band˘ Mitsugor˘ as the samurai lord.
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 Ichikawa Danjűr˘ in the role of Benkei,
with Nakamura Baigyoku and Onoe Kikugor˘ as Yoshitsune and the barrier keeper Togashi.
Kirare Yosa: Yosabur˘ (Ichikawa Ebiz˘), the refined young son of a wealthy merchant falls
in love with Otomi (Onoe Kikunosuke) the moment he first sees her on the beach.
But Otomi is the mistress of a powerful gangster, and when their relationship
is discovered, the two are attacked. Yosabur˘ is cut from head to toe and
the two are dumped into the sea. Otomi lives and is taken in by a rich
merchant while Yosabur˘ is now covered with scars. Yosabur˘ turns into
a petty thief and extortionist but one day, finds that the woman he is
about to blackmail is none other than Otomi, alive and well.
Onna Date: Nakamura Shikan 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.
Onna Shibaraku: Ichimura Uzaemon XVII
was one of the mainstays of Kabuki. Rich in knowledge of Kabukiĺs acting tradition,
he was also a skilled player of mature male roles. To commemorate the seventh
anniversary of his death, the first play in the evening program features his
three sons Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Ichimura Manjir˘ and Kawarasaki Gonjűr˘ in a spectacular play that shows old-fashioned
Kabuki at its best. 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
hero with the soft gentleness of a Kabuki heroine. Featuring Ichimura Manjir˘ as
the heroine and Band˘ Hikosabur˘ as the larger-than-life villain,
with Band˘ Mitsugor˘ as a friendly stage attendant who makes sure that
everything goes right.
Ame no Gor˘: Soga no Gor˘ is one of the most famous heroes in the
Kabuki world, super-strong and quick to fight. However, this dance shows the soft
side of this hero as well as he travels nightly to the pleasure quarter to visit
his lover. Starring Onoe Sh˘roku as Gor˘.
(The Babysitter with Three Masks)
This short charming dance shows a young girl who is a babysitter and she entertains
her charge with a series of games and dances. The highlight is when she does a
short sketch with three comic masks which shows a romantic quarrel between the
plump, homely woman Okame and the drunken god of prosperity Ebisu.
Finally Hyottoko with his funny, twisted up mouth steps in to mediate the fight.
Starring Band˘ Mitsugor˘, one of the finest dancers of the younger generation of actors.
Megumi no Kenka: they used to say that fights and fires were the
flowers of the city of Edo and many plays feature the gallent members of
firefighting troupes, who were popular heroes. This particular play depicts a
rivalry between the members of the Megumi firefighting band and a group of
sum˘ wrestlers, which ultimately is
a confrontation between the firefighters, who represent the commoner class and
the samurai patrons of the sum˘ wrestlers.
The fight begins with a minor incident, but grows into a situation of such tension,
that when Tatsugor˘, the leader of the firefighting gang, goes to his final fight,
he goes with the full intention that this may be a fight to the death.
Before he leaves, he has an emotional parting from his family.
Featuring Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘ as Tatsugor˘ and Ichikawa Danjűr˘ as the
leader of the group of sum˘ wrestlers.
Source: Earphone Guide website