JANUARY 2006

6 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, National Theatre, Asakusa K˘kaid˘, Zenshinza Gekij˘) and 2 in ďsaka (Sh˘chikuza) !

Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
Dates 2 ~ 26 January 2006 (Kotobuki Hatsuharu ďkabuki)
MatinÚe

Kakuju Senzai

Yűgiri Nagori no Sh˘gatsu

ďshű Adachi-ga-Hara (Sodehagi Saimon)

Manzai

Sonezaki Shinjű

Evening

T˘jűr˘ no Koi

K˘j˘

Meiboku Sendai Hagi

  • Goten
  • Yukashita
  • Shima no Senzai

    Sekisan Yakko

    Casting

    Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Jakuemon, Nakamura Kichiemon, Nakamura Shikan, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Kataoka Gat˘, Nakamura Kanjaku, Nakamura Senjaku, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Ichikawa Danshir˘, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Fukusuke, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Nakamura Kash˘, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura T˘z˘, Kataoka Shinnosuke, Nakamura Kichinoj˘, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Nakamura Toranosuke

    Comments

    Sakata T˘jűr˘ celebrates his shűmei in T˘ky˘, playing the roles of Fujiya Izaemon, Tenmaya Ohatsu and Masaoka in the dramas "Yűgiri Nagori no Sh˘gatsu", "Sonezaki Shinjű" and "Meiboku Sendai Hagi".

  • Kakuju Senzai: an elegant dance to celebrate the New Year, with Nakamura Baigyoku as the male crane and Nakamura Tokiz˘ as the female crane.
  • Yűgiri Nagori no Sh˘gatsu: the roots of this play go back to the earliest days of Kabuki. The young lover Izaemon has been disowned by his family for loving a courtesan and now has nothing but a paper kimono. This role is a classic example of wagoto, the gentle style of acting that was popular in the Kansai region. Sakata T˘jűr˘ stars as Izaemon, a role that is a specialty of his family's Kansai acting style. His lover Yűgiri, the fabulous courtesan who falls ill pining away with love for him is played by Nakamura Jakuemon. This particular version of the play was originally written by Chikamatsu Monzaemon and shows Izaemon with the ghost of Yűgiri. But since the original script has long been lost, this month features a newly written version of the story. Sakata T˘jűr˘ will also wear a real paper kimono, the trademark of Sakata T˘jűr˘ I.
  • Sodehagi Saimon: a larger-than-life history play originally written for the puppet theater, this is an epic of the intrigues in the T˘hoku region of Japan. It shows the larger political movements of the region as the individual tragedies of various people that are caught in this turmoil. In the most famous section, this play tells the tragic story of Sodehagi (Nakamura Fukusuke), a woman disowned by her family after falling in love with a man that they did not accept. Now she is alone and blind from weeping. She wanders with her child, supporting them as a musician and comes to her family's house. They do not let her in and sitting outside in the snow, she sings her tragic tale. Meanwhile, her husband (Nakamura Kichiemon) is inside the house, in a story of political intrigue.
  • Manzai: Manzai are performers with hand drums that would go from door to door at the New Year to perform auspicious songs and dances. This dance shows the lively songs of the Manzai, here performed by Nakamura Shikan.
  • Sonezaki Shinjű: a young merchant named Tokubŕ has long been in love with the courtesan Ohatsu and is diligently trying to buy out her contract. But he is swindled out of his money by someone he considered a friend. Then he is beaten and humiliated in the precincts of the Ikutama shrine. He sneaks into the teahouse where Ohatsu is and she hides him under the veranda. At this point, Tokubŕ's "friend" comes and calls him a criminal. Ohatsu fiercely defends Tokubŕ and asks whether he is prepared to defend his honor by committing love suicide. Silently, from under the veranda, he holds her bare foot and draws it across his neck. The journey to the forest where they commit love suicide is like a dream, half-way between this world and the next and has some of the most famous lines in Japanese theatre: "Farewell to this world and to this night, farewell. To what should we who go to our deaths be likened? We are like the frost on the road leading to the graveyard, vanishing with each step". Starring Nakamura Kanjaku and Sakata T˘jűr˘ in the roles of Tokubŕ and Ohatsu.
  • T˘jűr˘ no Koi: this modern play by writer and publisher Kikuchi Kan shows T˘jűr˘ at the peak of his career when he has a new challenge, to play a man who seduces a married woman, a serious thing when adultery could be punished by death. In order to find inspiration for the role, he finds it in real life by seducing Okaji, the owner of a restaurant. Yet when T˘jűr˘ sees that his method of creating a role has succeeded, he leaves, giving no thought how he has ruined Okaji's life. Starring the new Sakata T˘jűr˘'s son Nakamura Senjaku as T˘jűr˘ and Nakamura Tokiz˘ as Okaji.
  • Meiboku Sendai Hagi: this play is about the attempt to take over one of the most famous samurai households in the Edo period, the Date clan ruling Sendai, a scandal that caused a sensation in its day. After the death of the lord of the clan, his young heir is the target of villains. Masaoka (Sakata T˘jűr˘), the boy's nurse is desperately afraid that he will be poisoned. She refuses to let anyone see him who might try to assassinate him and attempts to keep him safe in the women's quarters where men are forbidden. 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 Senmatsu sacrifices his life for the young lord by eating the poisoned candy, and when he is killed, Masaoka 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. As another faithful retainer Otokonosuke (Nakamura Kichiemon), stands guard underneath the room, the evil Nikki Danj˘ (Matsumoto K˘shir˘) appears as a giant rat, but then slips away, walking calmly through the clouds.
  • Shima no Senzai: this elegant dance shows the original shiraby˘shi, or court dancer, attractive women who wore male court costume to dance. Starring Nakamura Fukusuke.
  • Sekisan Yakko: there are many dances featuring yakko, the boisterous footmen to samurai lords who accompanied their masters to the pleasure quarters or formed part of his ceremonial parade carrying ornamental spears decorated with white fringe. This particular dance is named after Seki Sanjűr˘ II, the actor who created it and features a vigorous dance with these ceremonial spears. Starring Nakamura Hashinosuke and Ichikawa Somegor˘.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Sh˘chikuza (ďsaka)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 January 2006 (Kotobuki Hatsuharu ďkabuki)
    MatinÚe

    Genpei Nunobiki no Taki (Yoshikata Saigo)

    Sato Moy˘ Azami no Ironui (Izayoi Seishin)

    Evening

    Shinrei Yaguchi no Watashi (Tonbŕ Sumika)

    Kanadehon Chűshingura

  • Tepp˘ Watashi, Futatsudama
  • Kanpei Harakiri
  • Haru no Shirabe Musume Nanakusa

    Casting

    Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Kataoka Nizaemon, Kataoka Ainosuke, Kataoka Takatar˘, Ichikawa Kamejir˘, Ichikawa Ukon, Ichikawa Danjir˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Band˘ Takesabur˘, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Juen, Ichikawa En'ya, Ichikawa Shun'en, Band˘ Shinsha

    Comments

  • Yoshikata Saigo: the full-length play shows the early rise of the Genji clan after a time of oppression. Yoshikata (Kataoka Ainosuke) is the lone member of the Genji clan and pretends to have no interest in reviving its fortunes, but Yukitsuna (Ichikawa Danjir˘) a good-humored footman who is actually a spy, realizes his true intentions. Yoshikata is about to have a son, the general Yoshinaka, who will lead the Genji to victory, but Yoshikata himself is attacked and surrounded and dies in a spectacular scene where he falls from the top of a flight of stairs.
  • Izayoi Seishin: love suicides are common in Kabuki, but usually as the conclusion of a play, a tragic end to a love that cannot be. The playwright Kawatake Mokuami gave this play an ironic turn by putting the love suicide at the very beginning of the play. The priest Seishin (Kataoka Nizaemon) and the courtesan Izayoi (Band˘ Tamasabur˘) are ostracized for having an affair. Seishin decides to forget her and concentrate on his religious training. Before he can leave, though, Izayoi convinces him to die with her. They throw themselves into a river, but both survive. Unaware that Izayoi is still alive and given the chance to start again, Seishin gives up his religious vows and turns to a life of crime.
  • Yaguchi no Watashi: this play was written by Hiraga Gennai, an Edo inventor, explorer and writer of comic fiction. Young Ofune is the obedient daughter of her evil father Tonbŕ, the keeper of a river crossing. She meets and falls in love with a young fugitive. Unfortunately, her father wants to capture the fugitive for a reward and Ofune can only save his life by sacrificing her own. Starring Kataoka Takatar˘ and Band˘ Yajűr˘ in the roles of Ofune and Tonbŕ.
  • Tepp˘ Watashi/Futatsudama/Kanpei Harakiri: this section of the classic "Kanadehon Chűshingura" is about Hayano Kanpei (Kataoka Nizaemon) and his wife Okaru (Band˘ Tamasabur˘). Kanpei survives as a hunter and is desperate for the money that will allow him to become a samurai again. He encounters two former retainers of Lord En'ya Hangan who offer to allow him to participate in a vendetta to avenge Lord En'ya Hangan's death by attacking K˘ no Moron˘. Unknown to him, though, Okaru's family has decided to raise the memory by selling her into prostitution as a courtesan in the Gion district of Ky˘to. Okaru's father travels on a dark mountain road, eager to bring the first half of the money to Kanpei. But he is attacked and robbed by Sadakur˘ (Kataoka Ainosuke), also a former retainer of Lord En'ya Hangan who has gone bad and become a thief. At this point, Kanpei aims and fires at s wild boar and instead kills Sadakur˘. He finds the purse with all the money and, thinking that is the gift of heaven, rushes home. At home, the brothel keeper is already there to collect Okaru and Kanpei wants to refuse to let her go, until he realizes where the money came from and believes that he killed Okaru's father by mistake. He urges Okaru to go to the pleasure quarters, not wanting her to know what has happened. In one of the dramatic highlights of the play, Kanpei commits suicide to atone for his multiple failures in duty.
  • 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˘ (Ichikawa Danjir˘) and Gor˘ (Ichikawa En'ya) prepare to face their father's murderer and take revenge, along with beautiful Shizuka Gozen (Ichikawa Shun'en), they cut the herbs, as a symbolic act of vengeance.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 27 January 2006 (Hatsuharu ďkabuki)
    Program

    Soga Ky˘dai Omoi no Hariyumi

    Casting

    Onoe Kikugor˘, Nakamura Tomijűr˘, Nakamura Shibajaku, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Sawamura Tanosuke, Onoe Kikunosuke, Onoe Sh˘roku, Nakamura Shinjir˘

    Comments

    Rare revival of Tsuruya Nanboku IV's sogamono "Soga Ky˘dai Omoi no Hariyumi", which was a great success at the Miyakoza when it was premiered in January 1818. This play took the world of the Soga brothers and wraps it in the gritty detail of lower-class society of Nanboku's time. For example, characters who live in noble poverty in the original become low-class prostitutes and thieves. Moreover, Nanboku combined it with the stories of the gallant carpenter Rokusa and his love for the geisha Osono and the middle-aged man Ch˘emon and his love for the young girl next door, Ohan. The play was so brilliant that it was remembered for decades, even becoming a comic book many years later.

    Asakusa K˘kaid˘ (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 January 2006 (Hatsuharu Hanagata Kabuki)
    MatinÚe

    Otoshidama

    Narukami

    Kanadehon Chűshingura

  • Tepp˘ Watashi, Futatsudama
  • Kanpei Harakiri
  • Evening

    Otoshidama

    Kanadehon Chűshingura

  • Tepp˘ Watashi, Futatsudama
  • Kanpei Harakiri
  • Kumo no Ito Azusa no Yumihari

    Casting

    Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Kamejir˘, Ichikawa Omez˘, Nakamura Shid˘, Nakamura Kikaku, Nakamura Kantar˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke

    Comments

    The yearly show for young promising actors at the Asakusa K˘kaid˘ in the heart of Asakusa, a lively and colorful neighboorhood that keeps the scent of old Edo.

    Zenshinza Gekij˘ (Kichij˘ji)
    Dates 3 ~ 10 January 2006
    Program

    Sannin Kichisa Tomoe no Shiranami

    Casting

    Fujikawa Yanosuke, Kawarasaki Kunitar˘, Segawa Kikunoj˘

    Comments

    The Kawatake Mokuami's masterpiece "Sannin Kichisa", staged by the Zenshinza troupe, narrates the adventures of three thieves whose common features are the same first name (Kichisa) and a strong sense of honour. Osh˘ Kichisa, an ex-bonze turned thief, is played by Fujikawa Yanosuke. Oj˘ Kichisa, a thief who dresses like a young woman to steal people, is played by Kawarasaki Kunitar˘. Ob˘ Kichisa, an ex-samurai turned thief, is played by Segawa Kikunoj˘.

     
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