AUGUST 2011

6 shows in T˘ky˘ (Shinbashi Enbuj˘, National Theatre), 2 in Ky˘to (Heian Jingű, Shunjűza) and 2 in ďsaka (National Bunraku Theatre)!

Shinbashi Enbuj˘ (T˘ky˘)
Dates 6 ~ 27 August 2011 (Hachigatsu Hanagata Kabuki)
August Young Actors Kabuki
MatinÚe

Oirans˘

Date Musume Koi no Higanoko (Yagura no Oshichi)

Afternoon

Akegarasu Koi no Manegoto

Natsu Tama Matsuri

Evening

Yado no Tsuki

Kaidan Chibusa no Enoki

Casting

Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Senjaku, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Fukusuke, Nakamura Shid˘, Nakamura Kantar˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Kataoka Kamez˘, Nakamura Utae, Ichimura Manjir˘, Band˘ Shingo, Band˘ Minosuke, Nakamura Kunio, Nakamura Yoshio

Comments

  • Oirans˘: A modern play by Hojo Hideji, this shows a low-ranking Kabuki actor and a down and out geisha who happen to meet while taking refuge in a field after a massive earthquake. They go to the country side and live together, but are not lovers until finally their relationship changes suddenly. Featuring Nakamura Senjaku, Nakamura Fukusuke, Nakamura Kantar˘, Nakamura Shid˘ and Band˘ Yajűr˘.
  • Yagura no Oshichi:
    (Yaoya Oshichi and the Fire Watchtower)
    This short dance scene comes from a puppet play that is based on the famous story of Yaoya Oshichi who was a young girl who fell in love with a temple page named Kichisa when her family took refuge in a temple after a fire. Later, Oshichi wanted to meet Kichisa again and thought that the best way to do that would be by setting another fire. But arson was punishable by death. In the theater this has been changed to Oshichi climbing a fire watchtower and pounding a drum as a false alarm. The desperate Oshichi climbs in the midst of the snow and the intensity of her passion is represented by the actor copying the movements of a Bunraku puppet. Starring Nakamura Shichinosuke in the role of Yaoya Oshichi.
  • Akegarasu Koi no Manegoto: this is a new play by the popular playwright G2 who are known for their fast and exciting plays set in the Edo period. This is a story of rivalry over a courtesan who is murdered in the confusion of a great fire in the Yoshiwara pleasure quarters but returns in the form of a life-size doll that becomes the center of passion and wild rumors. Featuring Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Senjaku, Nakamura Fukusuke, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Kantar˘, Nakamura Shid˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘ and Kataoka Kamez˘.
  • Natsu Tama Matsuri: this is a short dance that shows the geisha and maiko of Ky˘to as they wait for the giant bonfires on the mountainside in various shapes and Chinese characters at the Obon festival. This is the time when the spirits of the dead are supposed to return and the fires light the way for the spirits to go back to the land of the dead. The women think about their loved ones in the hot atmosphere of a summer night in Ky˘to. Featuring Nakamura Shikan and his two sons Nakamura Hashinosuke and Nakamura Fukusuke.
  • Yado no Tsuki:
    (The House of the Moon)
    This short dance evokes two symbols of longevity, the tortoise and the crane with a young couple, Kametar˘ (Nakamura Hashinosuke) and Tsuru (Nakamura Senjaku) who get married with only the light of the moon to serve as go-between.
  • 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 Kantar˘) 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 Kantar˘) is killed by a handsome samurai named Isogai Namie (Nakamura Shid˘) who makes love to Shigenobu's wife Oseki (Nakamura Shichinosuke). He carries out the murder with the help of Shigenobu's honest, but simple minded, servant Sh˘suke (Nakamura Kantar˘) and the tattooed villain Uwabami no Sanji (Nakamura Kantar˘). But the baby is rescued by the ghost of Shigenobu and finally the boy avenges the death of his father by killing Isogai.
  • National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 4 August 2011 (Ne no Kai)
    Program

    Yoshiwara Suzume

    Shiki no Hanazato

    Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami (Kurumabiki)

    Comments

    13th edition of the summer program of the association Ne no Kai (the Sound Association). The first two items feature only the geza musicians and the Nagauta music ensemble. The last one is a Kabuki drama, which stars disciples of major actors.

    Dates 13 ~ 16 August 2011 (Chigyokai/Kabukikai)
    Program

    Kotobuki Soga no Taimen

    Kiichi H˘gen Sanryaku no Maki
    (Ichij˘ ďkura Monogatari)

    Modori Kago Iro ni Aikata

    Comments

    17th edition of the common program for 2 associations, the Chigyokai (the Young Fishes Association) and the Kabukikai (the Kabuki Association), which stars stars' disciples in the leading roles of all the items in the program.

    Dates 19 ~ 21 August 2011 (Kamejir˘ no Kai)
    Program

    Ashiya D˘man ďuchi Kagami (Kuzu-no-Ha)

    Bakuchi Jű˘

    Casting

    Ichikawa Kamejir˘

    Comments

    The 9th edition of the gala of the association Kamejir˘ no Kai, which supports the young and talented actor Ichikawa Kamejir˘.

    Dates 27 ~ 28 August 2011 (Matsuo-juku Kodomo Kabuki)
    Matsuo Academy of Kabuki ~ Kabuki for Kids Performance
    Program

    Shinrei Yaguchi no Watashi (Tonbŕ Sumika)

    Keisei Awa no Naruto
    (Kuni Namari Futaba no Oizuru)

    Tsuri Onna

    Comments

    The Matsuo-juku Kodomo Kabuki [website in Japanese] is a kodomo shibai troupe, founded in ďsaka in 1988 by Matsuo Hazue, the wife of Matsuo Kuniz˘ (1899~1984), whose name is closely associated to the Matsuo Artistic Awards (Matsuo Gein˘ Sh˘). The troupe is now led by Matsuo Hazue's daughter Matsuo Hideko.

    National Bunraku Theatre (ďsaka)
    Dates 13 ~ 14 August 2011 (Matsuo-juku Kodomo Kabuki)
    Matsuo Academy of Kabuki ~ Kabuki for Kids Performance
    Program

    Shinrei Yaguchi no Watashi (Tonbŕ Sumika)

    Keisei Awa no Naruto
    (Kuni Namari Futaba no Oizuru)

    Tsuri Onna

    Comments

    The Matsuo-juku Kodomo Kabuki [website in Japanese] is a kodomo shibai troupe, founded in ďsaka in 1988 by Matsuo Hazue, the wife of Matsuo Kuniz˘ (1899~1984), whose name is closely associated to the Matsuo Artistic Awards (Matsuo Gein˘ Sh˘). The troupe is now led by Matsuo Hazue's daughter Matsuo Hideko.

    Dates 21 ~ 22 August 2011 (Kamigata Kabukikai)
    Program

    Ehon Taik˘ki (Amagasaki Kankyo)

    Matsu no Hagoromo

    Keisei Hangonk˘ (Domo Mata)

    Comments

    21st edition of the Kamigata Kabukikai (the Kamigata Kabuki Association), a summer program in ďsaka which stars Kamigata Kabuki stars' disciples in the leading roles of all the items.

    Heian Jingű (Ky˘to)
    Dates 6 ~ 7 August 2011 (Band˘ Tamasabur˘ Ky˘ no Tanabata Kabuki)
    Band˘ Tamasabur˘ Ky˘to Star Festival Kabuki
    Program

    Funa Benkei

    Y˘kihi

    Casting

    Band˘ Tamasabur˘

    Comments

    This special Kabuki performance within the precincts of the famous Heian Jingű shrine in Ky˘to is staged for the Star Festival, one of the seasonal events this summer in the old Imperial Capital [more details]. The Star Festival is a traditional Japanese event. If you decorate a bamboo tree and bind a strip of paper with a wish written on it, it is said that this wish will come true. The festival was created on the basis of a Chinese legend, which was brought to Japan in the Nara Era (ca. 710~784). The legend is a sad but romantic story about two constellations. Hikoboshi (Altair) and Orihime (Vega) were in love with each other but their destiny only allowed them to meet once a year: one summer evening. The 2011 Ky˘to Star Festival will be held on the 7th of August.

  • Funa Benkei: in this powerful dance-drama, which is based on the well-known play of the same title, Band˘ Tamasabur˘ performs two strikingly different characters, Yoshitsune's mistress Shizuka and the ghost of Taira no Tomomori. The first part of the drama shows Benkei persuading Yoshitsune to part with Shizuka. Then, when Yoshitsune and his retinue embark, the ghost of Tomomori, believed to have perished in the battle of Dan-no-Ura between the Minamoto and Taira forces in 1185, emerges from the raging waves and begins to attack Yoshitsune. Overpowered by Benkei's fervent prayer, Tomomori's ghost finally retreats in agony.
  • Y˘kihi: this is a rare performance of a play by Osaragi Jir˘, the novelist most famous for the Robin Hood-like character Kurama Tengű. The play was originally written for a Shinpa troupe and dramatizes one of the most famous incidents in Chinese history. Yang Guifei (Y˘kihi in Japanese) was a beautiful woman from a humble family who became the mistress of the Tang emperor. His love for her was such that the entire empire nearly crumbled. The play focuses on Y˘kihi's rise and her relationship with the young court official that loves her, first brings her to the emperor and serves her faithfully as a court eunuch. Finally he begs to be the one to kill her when rebellion and a coup d'etat threaten the empire. Starring Band˘ Tamasabur˘ in the role of Y˘kihi.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide website
    Sasaguchi Rei for "Funa Benkei"

    Shunjűza (Ky˘to)
    Dates 14 August 2011 (Matsuo-juku Kodomo Kabuki)
    Matsuo Academy of Kabuki ~ Kabuki for Kids Performance
    Program

    Shinrei Yaguchi no Watashi (Tonbŕ Sumika)

    Keisei Awa no Naruto
    (Kuni Namari Futaba no Oizuru)

    Tsuri Onna

    Comments

    The Matsuo-juku Kodomo Kabuki [website in Japanese] is a kodomo shibai troupe, founded in ďsaka in 1988 by Matsuo Hazue, the wife of Matsuo Kuniz˘ (1899~1984), whose name is closely associated to the Matsuo Artistic Awards (Matsuo Gein˘ Sh˘). The troupe is now led by Matsuo Hazue's daughter Matsuo Hideko.

     
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