DECEMBER 2008

2 shows in Ky˘to (Minamiza), 3 in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, National Theatre) and 1 tour (Nakamura Kantar˘/Nakamura Shichinosuke Special Tour)!

Minamiza (Ky˘to)
Dates 30 November ~ 26 December 2008 (Kichirei Kaomise K˘gy˘ Kabuki)
MatinÚe

Sh˘fudatsuki Kongen Kusazuri

Hachijin Shugo no Honj˘

Fuji Musume

Na-mo Takashi Homare no Ishikiri
(Ishikiri Kajiwara)

Jiisan Baasan

Evening

Keisei Hangonk˘ (Domo Mata)

Genroku Chűshingura
(ďishi Saigo no Ichinichi)

Shinano Momiji no Onizoroi

Genji Monogatari

Casting

Sakata T˘jűr˘, Kataoka Nizaemon, Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Nakamura Kichiemon, Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Kanjaku, Kataoka Gat˘, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Nakamura Senjaku, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Kataoka Takatar˘, Kataoka Ainosuke, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Emiya, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Shun'en, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Kash˘, Band˘ Takesabur˘, Kamimura Kichiya, Sawamura Yoshijir˘, Kataoka Shinnosuke, ďtani Keiz˘, Nakamura Tanetar˘

Comments

  • Kusazuri:
    (the Tug-of-War Over the Armor)
    A short dance in the oldest style of Kabuki, leisurely and full of humor, combining the charm of an onnagata female role specialist with the larger-than-life heroism of the bombastic aragoto style of acting. The strong woman Maizuru stops the powerful, but rash, warrior Soga no Gor˘ from rushing to a fight by pulling on the set of armor he is carrying. Starring Kataoka Takatar˘ and Kataoka Ainosuke as Maizuru and Gor˘.
  • Hachijin: this is a jidaimono period piece that dramatizes true historical events. Kat˘ Kiyomasa (1562~1611) was one of the fiercest generals under Toyotomi Hideyoshi and continued to defend the family and Hideyoshiĺs young heir Hideyori even after the world came to be ruled by crafty Tokugawa Ieyasu, who searched for any excuse he could find to destroy the clan of his most powerful rival. In the Edo period, the Shogunate banned all mention of contemporary events on stage and was especially sensitive to all mention of the Toyotomi clan and anyone associated with it. On stage, Kat˘ Kiyomasa always appeared under the thinly disguised name of Sat˘ Masakiyo. In this play, the aged Masakiyo defends the young heir of his late lord when he is summoned to a meeting with an old feudal lord who now rules the land. Masakiyo does not budge from his post even when he is weakened by poison. Starring Kataoka Gat˘ and Kataoka Hidetar˘ as Masakiyo and Hinaginu (the wife of Masakiyo's son).
  • Fuji Musume: the spirit of wisteria blossoms dances of love in the form of a beautiful young maiden. One of Kabuki's most famous and colorful dances, it will feature the dancing skills of Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘.
  • Ishikiri Kajiwara: the Heike general Kajiwara (Nakamura Kichiemon) is asked to test the sharpness of a sword by slicing two live human beings in half. He deliberately makes the sword fail the test to keep the sword, a priceless heirloom belonging to the enemy Genji clan, from falling into the hands of his Taira clan. A miracle has convinced Kajiwara to change sides. Kajiwara finally demonstrates the true power of the sword by cutting a large stone basin in two.
  • Jiisan Baasan: based on a short story by Mori ďgai, this modern play by Uno Nobuo shows a loving young couple. The samurai Iori travels to Ky˘to with his lord, leaving Run, his beloved wife, behind. While there, he attacks another man in a fight over a sword and is forced into house arrest, separating him from his wife. Many years later, he returns to his home as an old man. There he meets an elderly woman and they do not recognize each other until she sees the one thing that has not changed with age, Iori's peculiar habit of putting his hand to his nose. Starring Kataoka Nizaemon and Band˘ Tamasabur˘ as Iori and Run.
  • Domo Mata: the artist Matahei has been refused a professional name because of his stuttering. He makes a poor life by drawing folk paintings and decides to make one last effort to gain respectability. His wife Otoku, who is given as much to chatter as Matahei is silent, pleads his case. Turned down again by his master, Matahei decides to take his life. He draws a farewell portrait of himself, a painting so skillful that the lines seep through solid rock and this miracle convinces his master to confer a professional name. Starring Nakamura Kanjaku as Matahei and his father Sakata T˘jűr˘ as his wife Otoku.
  • ďishi Saigo no Ichinichi:
    (The Last Day of ďishi Kuranosuke's Life)
    This modern play comes from a series by Mayama Seika based on the famous revenge classic but based on historical sources of the sensational event. In this particular act, ďishi Kuranosuke is shown being torn between the severe samurai duty that has made their mission a success and the desire to let a young couple meet one last time before they must die. The masterless samurai of the Ak˘ clan have successfully completed their unauthorized vendetta and are being housed at the mansion of a samurai lord while their fate is being decided. The vendetta has caused a sensation and a young boy comes to meet the men as they are imprisoned. The boy turns out to be a woman in disguise, Omino (Nakamura Shibajaku), hoping to meet her betrothed, Jűr˘zaemon (Nakamura Kinnosuke), one of the group. But until they know whether they will be able to have honorable deaths by ritual suicide or die by execution like common criminals, the leader of the group ďishi Kuranosuke (Nakamura Kichiemon) cannot allow her to meet her fiance.
  • Shinano Momiji no Oni Zoroi: ???
  • Genji Monogatari: ???
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 December 2008 (Jűnigatsu ďkabuki)
    MatinÚe

    Takatoki

    Ky˘ganoko Musume D˘j˘ji

    Sakura Giminden

    Evening

    Na-mo Takashi Homare no Ishikiri
    (Ishikiri Kajiwara)

    Takatsuki

    Kagotsurube Sato no Eizame

    Casting

    Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Nakamura Tomijűr˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Fukusuke, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Ichikawa Danshir˘, Nakamura T˘z˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Ichikawa Komaz˘, ďtani Tomoemon, Nakamura Matsue, Nakamura Takanosuke

    Comments

  • Takatoki: the last H˘j˘ regent in the Kamakura period was arrogant and given to pleasure and in this play we see him mocked by a band of flying tengű goblins. First performed in 1884, this is one of the most famous of the "Living History" plays (katsureki) that replaced the fantasies of Edo Period history plays with a new attention to historical accuracy. Starring Nakamura Baigyoku as Takatoki.
  • Musume D˘j˘ji: one of the greatest showpieces of the skills of an onnagata female role specialist, a series of dances unfolds in a temple full of cherry blossoms as a young girl expresses her feelings of love in all its many aspects. Todayĺs performance features Band˘ Mitsugor˘, the head of the Band˘ school of Japanese dance and one of the finest dancers in Kabuki today. This performance will also feature a very rare version of the travel scene as the girl goes to the temple featuring the Tokiwazu school of music.
  • Sakura Giminden: this play is rare among classics in having a political theme. It depicts a country landlord Kiuchi S˘g˘ (Matsumoto K˘shir˘) who cannot stand the suffering of the farmers around him. A series of bad harvests has made things very hard, but corrupt officials refuse to lower taxes or relent in any way. Finally, S˘g˘ decides to bring the case directly to the Sh˘gun, a move punishable by death. The play shows S˘g˘ as he persuades the old keeper of the river crossing (Ichikawa Danshir˘) to let him pass and says a final farewell to his wife Osan (Nakamura Fukusuke) and children. Meanwhile, he is watched by a villainous informer, Maboroshi no Ch˘kichi (Band˘ Mitsugor˘). Finally, S˘g˘ brings his case directly to the Sh˘gun (Ichikawa Somegor˘), knowing that whether he is successful or not, he will be executed.
  • Ishikiri Kajiwara: the Heike general Kajiwara (Nakamura Tomijűr˘) is asked to test the sharpness of a sword by slicing two live human beings in half. He deliberately makes the sword fail the test to keep the sword, a priceless heirloom belonging to the enemy Genji clan, from falling into the hands of his Taira clan. A miracle has convinced Kajiwara to change sides. Kajiwara finally demonstrates the true power of the sword by cutting a large stone basin in two. Featuring Nakamura Tomijűr˘'s son Nakamura Takanosuke in the role of the yakko Takahei. The normal title of this classic drama is "Kajiwara Heiz˘ Homare no Ishikiri" but it was changed this time in honour of Nakamura Takanosuke.
  • Takatsuki: in this relatively modern dance-comedy adapted from the style of classical Ky˘gen farces, the servant Jir˘kaja (Ichikawa Somegor˘) is ordered by his lord to buy a takatsuki, which is a kind of ceremonial sake cup on a stand. Jir˘kaja does not understand his lord's orders and is persuaded by a fast-talking geta clog salesman (Band˘ Yajűr˘) to buy a pair of clogs instead, thinking that this is the stand for which he was sent. After drinking a good amount of sake, he brings his purchase to the lord and responds to the lord's anger with a dance on the clogs, a virtuoso routine inspired by tap dancing, showing off the dancing skills of Ichikawa Somegor˘.
  • Kagotsurube: one of the most sensational plays of late Kabuki, it shows a humble, pockmarked merchant from the country named Sano Jir˘zaemon (Matsumoto K˘shir˘). He is wealthy, but because of the way he looks, has never thought that it would be possible to have a woman. He and his servant go sightseeing in the Yoshiwara pleasure quarters and a chance look at top courtesan Yatsuhashi (Nakamura Fukusuke) who smiles at him, makes Jir˘zaemon fall in love. However, the pleasure quarters are full of intrigue, and on the eve of the day that Jir˘zaemon is to buy up Yatsuhashi's contract, her true love Einoj˘ (Ichikawa Somegor˘) forces her to reject and humiliate Jir˘zaemon in the middle of the celebratory banquet. Jir˘zaemon seems to forgive her, but returns with the sword Kagotsurube to exact his revenge.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 26 December 2008
    Program

    T˘yama Zakura Tenp˘ Nikki

    Casting

    Onoe Kikugor˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Onoe Sh˘roku

    Comments

    There are few characters in TV samurai dramas more popular than T˘yama Kinshir˘, commonly called T˘yama no Kin-san. The city magistrate in charge of judging criminal cases, he also goes around the world of commoners incognito. Then, in court, when the criminals try to say they are innocent, Kin-san says that he knows of their guilt from direct knowledge and exposes his distinctive tattoo. The stories about T˘yama no Kin-san are mostly fictional, but he was a historical figure and from the end of the 19th century, he became a popular figure for plays and stories. One of these plays will be revived at the National Theatre in December, featuring all the talents of the Onoe Kikugor˘ Theatre Troupe. This full-length play features Onoe Kikugor˘ in the contrasting roles of the magistrate T˘yama Kinshir˘ and the villainous Ikuta Kakudayű, a former samurai who becomes a notorious thief wielding a pistol and then disguises himself as a blind masseur. As the pistol wielding thief, he becomes so notorious that he decides to let someone else take the blame, a defrocked Buddhist priest named Tengaku (Onoe Sh˘roku). But in the end, this seals his fate.

    Source: Earphone Guide website

    Nakamura Kantar˘/Nakamura Shichinosuke Special Tour
    Dates 30 November ~ 12 December 2006
    Program

    Shitadashi Sanbas˘

    Geidan

    Fűryűjin

    Yuki Keisei

    Makasho

    Casting

    Nakamura Kantar˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke

    Comments

    This short tour stars the two young stars Nakamura Kantar˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke. The second item in this program is a speech about the art of Kabuki. The tour goes through T˘ky˘ (Bunky˘ Civic Hall), ďsaka, Nagoya, Nagaoka, Sendai, Shizuoka, Funabashi, Nagasaki and Kumamoto.

     
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