8th of the 16 Kabukiza Sayonara K˘en, the Kabukiza Farewell Performances, which will be held up to April 2010.
In August, the season of gala programs at Kabukiza to say farewell to the old theater building
continues with a group of popular young stars headed by Nakamura Kanzabur˘ and
Band˘ Mitsugor˘ in three short programs of Kabuki, perfect to fight the heat of summer.
(Record of an Unruly Life)
Katsu Kokichi (Nakamura Hashinosuke), a low-ranking warrior, is universally disliked for his dissolute behavior
but he reforms for the sake of his small son who later becomes Katsu Kaishű, one of the leading figures of the Meiji
Restoration of 1868. A modern historical play, it was written by Mayama Seika, one of the most important Japanese dramatists
of the twentieth century.
Rokkasen: a rare full-length performance of a humorous series of dances, which show the ancient poetic
geniuses famous from classical Japanese literature, reinterpreted to the tastes of Edo period audiences.
Ono no Komachi, the only woman of the six, was famous as a great beauty and in this dance, all the other poets are in love with her.
The first dances are filled with the atmosphere of the Heian period imperial court,
but then changes to a contemporary scene. Starring Band˘ Mitsugor˘ in the five male roles (Henj˘, Bun'ya, Narihira, Kisen and Kuronushi)
and Nakamura Fukusuke in the role of Ono no Komachi.
Toyoshiga no Shi: the story of the vengeful spirit of the horribly disfigured woman Kasane is one of the
most famous in Japanese folklore. In the Meiji period, rakugo storyteller
Sanyűtei Ench˘ reworked this into a modern tale of psychology. The most famous episode shows Toyoshiga (Nakamura Fukusuke), a middle-aged music
teacher who is passionately in love with her young student Shinkichi (Nakamura Kantar˘). Shinkichi is in love with an attractive young neighbor,
Ohisa (Nakamura Baishi) and wants to get away from Toyoshiga, who is ill and demanding, but even death will not stop her desperate passion.
Funa Benkei: although he won a war against the enemy Heike clan,
the young general Yoshitsune (Nakamura Fukusuke) has gained the disfavor of his brother, the Sh˘gun, and tries to flee to Kyűshű by boat.
Before he sets sail, he must say farewell to his lover Shizuka (Nakamura Kanzabur˘), who performs a dance expressing her grief at their separation.
Once the boat sets sail, the spirit of the great Heike general Tomomori (Nakamura Kanzabur˘),
killed by Yoshitsune in battle at sea, appears and attacks to take revenge for the destruction of his clan.
They are only saved by the prayers of Yoshitsune's companion, the warrior-priest Benkei (Nakamura Hashinosuke).
The roles of both Shizuka and Tomomori are played by the same actor.
Okuni to Gohei: this play was written by the famous 20th century novelist Tanizaki Jun'ichir˘.
Okuni (Nakamura Senjaku) has set out on a vendetta against a former lover Tomonoj˘ (Band˘ Mitsugor˘) for killing her husband. When she finds him, he reveals that
he has actually been following her all the time during her long search disguised as a traveling priest.
Tomonoj˘ begs for her forgiveness, but Okuni is still forced to kill him, as he has seen that she has fallen in love
with her servant Gohei (Nakamura Kantar˘) who has accompanied her on her journey.
Chibusa no Enoki:
(The Ghost and the Milk-Giving Tree)
Based on a rakugo story by Sanyűtei Ench˘, this is a showpiece for the star
actor (Nakamura Kanzabur˘) who plays multiple roles, culminating in a thrilling fight scene in a waterfall where he switches
rapidly from one to another. An artist named Hishikawa Shigenobu (Nakamura Kanzabur˘) is killed by a handsome samurai named Isogai Namie
who makes love to Shigenobu's wife Oseki (Nakamura Fukusuke). He carries out the murder with the help of Shigenobu's honest,
but simple minded, servant Sh˘suke (Nakamura Kanzabur˘) and the tattooed villain Uwabami no Sanji (Nakamura Kanzabur˘).
But the baby is rescued by the ghost of Shigenobu and finally the boy avenges the death of his father by killing Isogai.
Source: Earphone Guide website