FEBRUARY 2007

2 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza), 2 in Fukuoka (Hakataza) and 1 tour (Kabuki Forum)!

Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
Dates 1 ~ 25 February 2007 (Nigatsu ďkabuki)
MatinÚe

Kanadehon Chűshingura

  • Kabuto Aratame
  • Shinmotsu, Ninj˘
  • Hangan Seppuku, Shiro Akewatashi
  • Michiyuki Tabiji no Hanamuko (Ochiudo)
  • Evening

    Kanadehon Chűshingura

  • Tepp˘ Watashi, Futatsudama
  • Kanpei Harakiri
  • Gion Ichiriki Jaya
  • Uchiiri, Okuniwa Sensui, Shibabeya
  • Casting

    Kataoka Nizaemon, Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Onoe Kikugor˘, Nakamura Kichiemon, Nakamura Tomijűr˘, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun, Ichikawa Sadanji

    Comments

    The play "Kanadehon Chűshingura" (The Treasure of 47 Loyal Retainers) is the most popular in the Kabuki repertory and is known throughout the world.

  • Kabuto Aratame/Shinmotsu/Ninj˘: daimy˘ lords from around the country gather for an important ceremony in the presence of Tadayoshi, the younger brother of the Sh˘gun. Under the watchful eye of the official Moron˘ (Nakamura Tomijűr˘), lords En'ya Hangan (Onoe Kikugor˘) and Wakasanosuke (Nakamura Kichiemon) have been charged with making sure everything goes according to protocol. En'ya Hangan's wife Kaoyo (Nakamura Kaishun) is asked to identify a helmet to be used in the ceremony. Moron˘ is in love with Kaoyo and tries to woo her, but Wakasanosuke stops him. In return, Moron˘ uses his position of authority to berate the young lord and Wakasanosuke decides to kill Moron˘. But the next morning at the Sh˘gun's mansion, Wakasanosuke's head retainer bribes Moron˘ to keep his master from causing an incident and although Wakasanosuke is about to attack Moron˘, the aged official groveling stops him. As a result, though, Moron˘ is frustrated and angry and vents his feelings on En'ya Hangan, especially after Hangan innocently brings him a letter in which Kaoyo refuses Moron˘'s love. Moron˘ steadily insults Hangan, who tries to ignore the pressure, but finally draws his sword and attacks. Drawing a sword in the Sh˘gun's palace is a crime punishable by death, but Moron˘ himself escapes with only a slight wound as others within the mansion hurry in to stop Hangan.
  • Hangan Seppuku/Shiro Akewatashi: emissaries from the Sh˘gun arrive at En'ya Hangan's mansion to announce that he has received the strictest penalty for his actions. He is ordered to commit ritual suicide and his household is to be disbanded. Hangan's hate for Moron˘ grows when he hears that Moron˘ has received no punishment. Hangan waits and waits for his head retainer, but he does not arrive. Finally, Hangan plunges in the blade. At that moment, his head retainer Yuranosuke (Matsumoto K˘shir˘) arrives from their home province. With his last breaths, Hangan gives Yuranosuke the knife he used to commit suicide and tells him to take revenge. Now that the clan has been disbanded, Hangan's men become masterless samurai. Though some urge an immediate attack on Moron˘, Yuranosuke bids them not to do anything rash. When alone in front of the closed mansion gates, though, he secretly reveals his determination that his lord will not have died in vain.
  • Ochiudo: after the death of his lord, the retainer Kanpei (Nakamura Baigyoku) and his lover, the lady-in-waiting Okaru (Nakamura Tokiz˘) flee to Okaru's home, a farmer's house in the country. Kanpei feels responsible for the events since he was having a romantic tryst and was not at his master's side at the crucial moment. He tries to commit suicide, but Okaru stops him and convinces him that they should go to her home as husband and wife and wait for the right moment for him to be reinstated.
  • Tepp˘ Watashi/Futatsudama/Kanpei Harakiri: Kanpei (Onoe Kikugor˘) lives a poor life with Okaru (Band˘ Tamasabur˘) at her parents' rural home. Kanpei desperately wants to take part in the vendetta against Moron˘, but must come up with the money necessary to finance his part in it. Secretly, Okaru and her family decide that the only way to raise the money is to sell her to the pleasure quarters. On a lonely highway, a highway thief named Sadakur˘ (Nakamura Baigyoku) kills her father while he is on the way home from sealing the deal and the money is stolen. In a bizarre twist of events, Kanpei kills the robber while hunting on a dark night and finds the money. The fabric of the wallet, though, seems to prove that he has murdered his father-in-law. Kanpei commits ritual suicide to take responsibility, not only for the death of this father-in-law, but also for being absent when his lord needed him most.
  • Gion Ichiriki Jaya: Yuranosuke (Nakamura Kichiemon) spends his days and nights in the pleasure quarters of Ky˘to in an effort to make Moron˘ believe he is not planning a vendetta. His acting is so good that even men in his own group believe he has given his life up to pleasure. Moron˘ is not so easily convinced, though, and has sent spies, including a former retainer of En'ya Hangan, to find Yuranosuke's true intentions. Yuranosuke finds himself tested to the limits by the spy, and is even forced to eat meat on the anniversary of Hangan's death, a strong taboo. Okaru (Band˘ Tamasabur˘), now a courtesan, is also at the Ichiriki Teahouse. She catches a glimpse of a letter to Yuranosuke detailing plans for the vendetta, but he sees her and offers to buy out her contract, knowing he must kill her to keep the vendetta a secret. Okaru's brother Heieimon (Kataoka Nizaemon), a servant in the Hangan household, has also come to the teahouse and when he hears that Yuranosuke is to buy out her contract, he realizes his true intentions. Heieimon tries to convince Okaru to let him kill her as such an act may allow him to take part in the vendetta as well. Hearing that Kanpei is now dead, Okaru agrees, but observing their loyal actions, Yuranosuke spares Okaru and allows Heieimon to join the vendetta.
  • Uchiiri/Okuniwa Sensui/Shibabeya: disguised as firemen, En'ya Hangan's retainers attack Moron˘'s mansion on a snowy night. After a fierce fight, they find Moron˘ hiding in a charcoal shed and take revenge for their lord's wrongful death.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Hakataza (Fukuoka)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 February 2007 (Nigatsu Hanagata Kabuki)
    MatinÚe

    Takatoki

    Shunky˘ Kagami Jishi

    Yamatogana Ariwara Keizu
    (Ranpei Monogurui)

    Evening

    Ochikubo Monogatari

    Funa Benkei

    Hikoichi Banashi

    Casting

    Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Onoe Sh˘roku, Ichikawa Danz˘, Ichikawa Unosuke, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Kataoka Kamez˘, Onoe Matsuya, Band˘ Kamesabur˘, Band˘ Kametoshi

    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 Ichikawa Ebiz˘ as Takatoki.
  • Kagami Jishi: one of the most important dances for onnagata female role specialists and is an audience favorite. The maidservant Yayoi performs an auspicious lion dance for the Sh˘gun in his opulent palace, but she gradually finds herself under the control of the lion spirit. In the second half of the dance, the lion spirit itself appears and performs its crazed dance among peonies and fluttering butterflies. Starring Onoe Kikunosuke as both Yayoi and the spirit of the lion.
  • Ranpei Monogurui: in order to recover a treasure, Ranpei claims to go mad at the sight of a sword. But he is unmasked and the play ends with one of the most spectacular fight scenes in Kabuki including a struggle on top of a high ladder held up on the hanamichi runway. Starring Onoe Sh˘roku as Ranpei.
  • Ochikubo Monogatari: ???
  • Funa Benkei: in this powerful dance-drama, which is based on the well-known play of the same title, Ichikawa Ebiz˘ performs two strikingly different characters, Yoshitsune's mistress Shizuka and the ghost of Taira no Tomomori. The first part of the drama shows Benkei (Ichikawa Danz˘) persuading Yoshitsune (Onoe Matsuya) 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.
  • Hikoichi Banashi: ???
  • Sources: Earphone Guide website
    Sasaguchi Rei for "Funa Benkei"

    Kabuki Forum
    Dates 31 January ~ 22 February 2007
    Program

    Niwaka Jishi

    Tsuri Onna

    ďishi Tsuma Kowakare

    Casting

    Nakamura Kamenoj˘, Nakamura Ky˘tae, Nakamura Matanosuke

    Comments

    21st edition of an original program dedicated to the rediscovery of the spirit of small Kabuki theaters with stars' disciples in the main roles. It is staged at the Edo T˘ky˘ Museum (T˘ky˘) from the 31st of January to the 16th of Feburary. It is also staged at the Asakusa K˘kaid˘ (T˘ky˘) the 19th of February and at the xxx K˘kaid˘ (T˘ky˘) the 22nd.

     
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