JULY 2008

4 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, National Theatre, Nissay Theatre), 2 in ďsaka (Sh˘chikuza), 1 in Ky˘to (Enryakuji), 1 in Matsumoto (Matsumoto Performing Arts Centre) and 2 tours (Eastern Provinces, Central Provinces)!

Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
Dates 7 ~ 31 July 2008 (Shichigatsu ďkabuki)
MatinÚe

Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura

  • Torii Mae
  • Yoshinoyama
  • Kawatsura H˘gen Yakata
  • Evening

    Yasha-ga-Ike

    K˘ya Hijiri

    Casting

    Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Nakamura Karoku, Ichikawa Shun'en, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Danjir˘, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Kataoka Ichiz˘

    Comments

    July at Kabukiza features some of the most famous acts of one of Kabuki's greatest classics "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura", Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees, with two of the hottest stars in Kabuki, Ichikawa Ebiz˘ and onnagata superstar Band˘ Tamasabur˘. The program also features the young stars of Ichikawa Ennosuke's troupe of actors. The evening program is a rare presentation of two plays by the fantastic writer Izumi Ky˘ka (1873~1939), including a second-time performance of a dramatization of Ky˘ka's most famous novel, "K˘ya Hijiri". He created a fantastic world of demonic gods, princesses, handsome warriors under the sea, on top of a castle tower or at the bottom of a cold mountain lake and a world of geisha and their patrons that is the heart of the repertory of the Shinpa theater. No actor knows every facet of Izumi Ky˘ka's works better than Band˘ Tamasabur˘, who has acted in his plays, directed his works on stage and in film. The evening program is a rare program of two plays by Izumi Ky˘ka. The entire program is supervised by Band˘ Tamasabur˘ who also stars in "K˘ya Hijiri".

  • Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura:
    (Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees)
    This play was first performed in the Bunraku puppet theatre and is an epic story about the famous 12th century general Yoshitsune fleeing from the wrath of his brother Yoritomo, after the end of the war. Although Yoshitsune is the title character, the main characters of the play are actually different and this month features the three acts of the play about the magical fox Tadanobu.
  • Torii Mae:
    (In Front of the Fushimi Inari Shrine)
    Yoshitsune (Ichikawa Danjir˘) is forced to flee from the troops sent by his brother Yoritomo. The trip will be hard and he decides that he must leave behind his lover Shizuka Gozen (Ichikawa Shun'en), despite her passionate pleas to remain with him. As a reminder of himself, he presents her with a precious hand drum that he had received from the emperor. Yoshitsune's retainer Tadanobu (Ichikawa Ebiz˘) rescues Shizuka from Yoritomo's troops and Yoshitsune decides to leave her in his care.
  • Yoshinoyama:
    (Mt. Yoshino)
    The story continues with a musical travel scene. Hearing that Yoshitsune has taken refuge in the mountains of Yoshino, Tadanobu (Ichikawa Ebiz˘) and Shizuka (Band˘ Tamasabur˘) go to try to meet him there. Although Tadanobu keeps disappearing, he always appears when Shizuka plays the precious drum that she received from Yoshitsune. In dance Tadanobu recounts episodes from the Genpei war, including the battle in which his brother died.
  • Kawatsura H˘gen Yakata:
    (The Mansion of the Priest Kawatsura)
    Yoshitsune (Ichikawa Monnosuke) has taken refuge in the mountains of Yoshino at the mansion of an old ally. Tadanobu (Ichikawa Ebiz˘) arrives but has no recollection of Shizuka being placed under his care. Shizuka (Band˘ Tamasabur˘) herself soon arrives with the other Tadanobu and after an investigation they discover that he is actually a fox (Ichikawa Ebiz˘). In a touching story, the fox tells how he took on human form to be close to the hand drum which is made from the skins of his fox parents. Moved, Yoshitsune gives the fox the drum and he flies away joyously. This scene features the Kabuki technique of flying through the air.
  • Yasha-ga-Ike: a cold, forbidding lake deep in the mountains contains a secret. It is ruled by a fierce beauty, Princess Shirayuki, who longs to join her lover in another mountain lake. But she is constrained by a promise to stay there and keep the waters of the lake tame as long as the temple bell is rung regularly each day. To keep this promise and drawn by the beauty of Yuri, a village girl, Hagiwara Akira, a scholar from T˘ky˘, has become the bell ringer. He was drawn by the folklore of the countryside, little knowing that fate is about to transform him into one of its legends. Starring Ichikawa Shun'en as Yuri, Ichikawa Emisabur˘ as Princess Shirayuki and Ichikawa Danjir˘ as Hagiwara Akira.
  • K˘ya Hijiri: this is a staging of Izumi Ky˘kaĺs most famous novel with new direction. A Buddhist priest named Shűch˘ (Ichikawa Ebiz˘) tells the story of a strange encounter with a beautiful woman (Band˘ Tamasabur˘) deep in the mountains. Although she seems to be married and have a family, they have a sensuous meeting by a waterfall as she wipes the sweat and dirt of the road from his body. But she also seems to have the power to turn unwanted men into animals, the creatures that fill her stable. Also starring Kataoka Ichiz˘ and Nakamura Karoku.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Sh˘chikuza (ďsaka)
    Dates 5 ~ 29 July 2008 (Shichigatsu ďkabuki)
    MatinÚe

    Haru no Shirabe Musume Nanakusa

    Kimura Nagato-no-Kami

    Meiboku Sendai Hagi

  • Hanamizubashi
  • Goten
  • Yukashita
  • Taiketsu
  • Ninj˘
  • Evening

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

    Kurotegumi Kuruwa no Tatehiki
    (Kurotegumi Sukeroku)

    Hagoromo

    Dango Uri

    Casting

    Kataoka Nizaemon, Sakata T˘jűr˘, Onoe Kikugor˘, Kataoka Gat˘, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Nakamura Kaishun, Ichikawa Sadanji, Sawamura Tanosuke, Kataoka Ainosuke, Onoe Kikunosuke, Kataoka Takatar˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Kataoka Shinnosuke

    Comments

  • Musume Nanakusa: in the Edo period, every New Year, plays appeared about the medieval vendetta carried out by the Soga brothers Jűr˘ and Gor˘. This colorful, old-fashioned dance mixes this tradition with that of eating porridge containing seven auspicious herbs on the seventh day of the new year. As the brothers Jűr˘ (Onoe Kikunosuke) and Gor˘ (Onoe Sh˘roku) prepare to face their father's murderer and take revenge, along with beautiful Shizuka Gozen (Kataoka Takatar˘), they cut the herbs, as a symbolic act of vengeance.
  • Kimura Nagato-no-Kami: ???
  • Meiboku Sendai Hagi: this play is about the attempt to take over one of the most famous samurai households in the Edo period, a scandal that caused a sensation in its day.
  • Hanamizubashi: the daimy˘ Yorikane (Onoe Kikunosuke) has fallen in love with a courtesan and has neglected responsibilities, causing high ranking retainers to plot the takeover of his domain. Returning from the pleasure quarters, he is attacked at Hanamizu Bridge, but is able to escape thanks to the help of a sum˘ wrestler retainer.
  • Take-no-Ma/Goten: Masaoka (Sakata T˘jűr˘), a loyal maidservant, is taking care of the lord's young heir. Afraid he will be poisoned, she refuses to let anyone see him who might try to assassinate him. She even fixes his meal in her quarters using her delicate tea ceremony implements to cook rice. The plotting faction does not give up, though, and sends poison in the form of candy as a present from the Sh˘gun. Masaoka's son sacrifices his life for the young lord by eating the poisoned candy, and when he is killed, she thinks only of protecting her lord. Her fierce devotion to duty convinces the plotters that she is on their side. Masaoka's actions help save the young lord, and only when she is alone can she grieve for her son. With Kataoka Nizaemon as the villainous Yashio, a court woman who kills Masaokaĺs son.
  • Yukashita: Another faithful retainer Otokonosuke (Onoe Sh˘roku), stands guard underneath the room, but the evil Nikki Danj˘ (Kataoka Nizaemon) appears as a giant rat, but then slips away, walking calmly through the clouds.
  • Taiketsu/Ninj˘: the elderly Geki (Ichikawa Sadanji), a faithful retainer, brings charges against Danj˘. Danj˘ cleverly protests his innocence, but his lies are seen through by the wise judge Katsumoto (Onoe Kikugor˘). Condemned to death, Nikki tries to take his revenge on Geki.
  • 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 Kataoka Nizaemon as Kumagai, with Kataoka Hidetar˘ as Kumagai's wife Sagami, Kataoka Takatar˘ as Fuji-no-Kata, Sakata T˘jűr˘ as Yoshitsune and Kataoka Gat˘ as Midaroku.
  • Kurotegumi Sukeroku: this play by the 19th century playwright Kawatake Mokuami combines the sunny world of the Kabuki classic "Sukeroku", the handsome hero Sukeroku and his lover Agemaki, the top courtesan in the Yoshiwara, with his own dark world of thieves and absconding clerks and the ironic twists of karma. Featuring Onoe Kikugor˘ as Sukeroku and the comic clerk Gonkur˘ and Nakamura Kaishun as Agemaki. Also starring Ichikawa Sadanji, Sawamura Tanosuke, Onoe Kikunosuke and Onoe Sh˘roku.
  • Hagoromo: the legend of the angel who came to earth to bathe and then had her heavenly feathered robe stolen by a fisherman is famous in all forms of Japanese theater. This month features an elegant dance version of the story with Onoe Sh˘roku as the fisherman and Onoe Kikunosuke as the angel.
  • 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 Kataoka Ainosuke and Kataoka Takatar˘ in the roles of the husband and the wife.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 24 July 2008 (Shichigatsu Kabuki Kansh˘ Ky˘shitsu)
    Program

    Kabuki no Mikata

    Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura
    (Kawatsura H˘gen Yakata)

    Casting

    Nakamura Kash˘, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Nakamura Tanetar˘

    Comments

    Educational program at the National Theatre called Kabuki Kansh˘ Ky˘shitu ("Kabuki Appreciation Class"). This is a very interesting formula for the beginners because there is lively presentation of Kabuki (or some aspects of the art like music, stage tricks or fighting scenes) on stage, followed by the drama "Shi-no-Kiri":

  • Kawatsura H˘gen Yakata: Yoshitsune (Nakamura Tanetar˘) has taken refuge in the mountains of Yoshino at the mansion of an old ally. Tadanobu (Nakamura Kash˘) arrives but has no recollection of Shizuka being placed under his care. Shizuka (Ichikawa Komaz˘) herself soon arrives with the other Tadanobu and after an investigation they discover that he is actually a fox. In a touching story, the fox tells how he took on human form to be close to the hand drum which is made from the skins of his fox parents.
  • Matsumoto Performing Arts Centre (Matsumoto)
    Dates 5 ~ 13 July 2008 (Shinshű Matsumoto ďkabuki)
    Program

    Natsu Matsuri Naniwa Kagami

  • Otai Jaya
  • Sumiyoshi Torii Mae
  • Tsuribune Sabu Uchi
  • Nagamachi Ura
  • Tajima-ch˘/Yane Ue
  • Casting

    Nakamura Kanzabur˘, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Senjaku, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Nakamura Kantar˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Sasano Takashi

    Comments

    The Heisei Nakamuraza troupe, led by the star Nakamura Kanzabur˘, performs for the first time in the city of Matsumoto. This exceptional program is called Shinshű Matsumoto ďkabuki (Shinshű is an old name for the province of Nagano, whose main city is Matsumoto):

  • Natsu Matsuri: this grisly murder story became a smashing hit when it was first performed in 1745 because of the chivalrous spirit of the many ďsaka characters appearing in this story, the contrast between a brutal murder and the jovial mood of a summer festival, and the splashing of real water used on the stage. Danshichi, a gallant fishmonger, does everything he can to protect the weak young son of his patron with the help of his companion Tokubŕ and the older Sabu. Although even Tokubŕ's wife Otatsu heroically helps out, in the end, Danshichi is betrayed by his evil father-in-law Giheiji and, in the most famous scene of the play, must kill him in a mud-covered fight in a lonely alley with the shouts of the local festival nearby. This program stars Nakamura Kanzabur˘ as Danshichi, with Nakamura Hashinosuke, Band˘ Yajűr˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke as Tokubŕ, Sabu and Otatsu.
  • Kabuki Tour in the Central Provinces
    Dates 30 June ~ 31 July 2008
    Program

    Hashi Benkei

    K˘j˘

    Hikosan Gongen Chikai no Sukedachi (Keya-mura)

    Kanda Matsuri

    Casting

    Nakamura Kinnosuke, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura T˘z˘, Nakamura Matsue, Nakamura Baishi

    Comments

    Nakamura Kinnosuke celebrates his shűmei in the Central provinces, playing the role of Rokusuke in the drama "Keya-mura".

  • Hashi Benkei:
    (Benkei on the Bridge)
    There are many legends about Benkei, the warrior-priest who was the faithful companion of the general Yoshitsune. This dance shows the first meeting of Benkei and Yoshitsune. Benkei goes nightly to the bridge at the Fifth Avenue of Ky˘to, defeating men night after night and taking their swords. Finally he encounters a delicate young man that he thinks will be an easy opponent, but is defeated himself instead. This young man was Yoshitsune, under his childhood name of Ushiwakamaru. Benkei is so impressed that he becomes Yoshitsuneĺs retainer, right there and then. Starring Nakamura Matsue as Benkei and Nakamura Baishi as Ushiwakamaru.
  • K˘j˘: there is a close relationship between the stage and the audience in Kabuki and this is shown by these ceremonial stage announcements where the top stars of the company address the audience directly. For this tour, the actors celebrate the shűmei of Nakamura Kinnosuke.
  • Keya-mura: Rokusuke (Nakamura Kinnosuke), a sword master who lives a simple country life, is taking care of a small foundling child. He hangs the boy's kimono outside his house in the hope that the boy's relatives will see it and know where he is. One day he finds himself attacked by a woman named Osono (Nakamura Tokiz˘) who turns out to be the aunt of the child. As they talk, they find that they are in fact linked by promises of marriage although they have never met directly. Osono is searching for the killer of her father, Rokusuke's master, and Rokusuke promises to help in her vendetta.
  • Kanda Matsuri: ???
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Kabuki Tour in the Eastern Provinces
    Dates 30 June ~ 31 July 2008
    Program

    Ayatsuri Sanbas˘

    K˘j˘

    Benten Musume Meo no Shiranami

  • Hamamatsuya
  • Inasegawa Seizoroi
  • Casting

    Ichikawa Danshir˘, Ichikawa Kamejir˘, Band˘ Takesabur˘, Nakamura Kikaku, ďtani Keiz˘, Band˘ Minosuke

    Comments

  • Ayatsuri Sanbas˘:
    (The Puppet Sanbas˘)
    The Sanbas˘ is part of the ritual play "Okina", a prayer for prosperity and in Kabuki the vigorous Sanbas˘ dance is often performed separately. To make the dance especially auspicious, the old man Okina and attendant Senzai appear as well. In Kabuki, the Sanbas˘ dance appears in all kinds of versions. In this particular version, the Sanbas˘ is actually a giant marionette (Ichikawa Kamejir˘), dancing lightly until his antics tangle his strings, creating problems for his puppeteer (Nakamura Kikaku).
  • K˘j˘: there is a close relationship between the stage and the audience in Kabuki and this is shown by these ceremonial stage announcements where the top stars of the company address the audience directly.
  • Benten Musume: this play is a sewamono (realistic play about commoners) written by the late 19th century playwright Mokuami who is famous for his plays about thieves. The thief Benten Koz˘ dresses up as a woman to commit extortion, but his plans are ruined when his disguise is seen through. In the highlight of the play, he undresses, showing his colorful tattoos and introduces himself in a famous poetic speech. Afterwards, he is joined by the members of his gang on a riverbank, and, using the playwright's famous poetic rhythms, in turn, they each boast of their careers as thieves. Ichikawa Kamejir˘ stars as Benten Koz˘, with Ichikawa Danshir˘ as Nippon Daemon, Nakamura Kikaku as Nang˘ Rikimaru, ďtani Keiz˘ as Tadanobu Rihei and Band˘ Minosuke as Akaboshi Jűzabur˘.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Enryakuji Temple (Ky˘to)
    Dates 19 ~ 25 July 2008 (Hieizan Takigi Kabuki)
    Program

    ďmi no Okane

    Shiraby˘shi no Hana no En

    Hiire no Gi

    Fujito

    Casting

    Nakamura Kichiemon, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Kanjaku, Nakamura Fukusuke, Nakamura Kazutar˘

    Comments

    Original outdoors Kabuki performance, in the precincts of the famous Enryakuji temple which is located on mount Hiei.

    Nissay Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 27 ~ 29 July 2008
    Program

    Date Musume Koi no Higanoko (Yagura no Oshichi)

    Kabuki no Tanoshimi

    Uma Nusubito

    Casting

    Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Nakamura Kanjaku, Onoe Ukon, Band˘ Shűch˘, Nakamura Kazutar˘

    Comments

    Short program called International Family Festival, aiming at gathering together children and parents to enjoy Kabuki.

     
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