MAY 2007

5 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, Shinbashi Enbuj˘, National Theatre), 1 in Ky˘to (Minamiza), 1 in in ďsaka (Wahha Kamigata Engei Hall) and 1 tour (Chikamatsuza)!

Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
Dates 1 ~ 25 May 2007 (Dankikusai Gogatsu ďkabuki)
MatinÚe

Dorob˘ to Wakatono

Kanjinch˘

Yowa Nasake Ukina no Yokogushi (Kirare Yosa)

  • Misome
  • Genjidana
  • Onna Date

    Evening

    Onna Shibaraku

    Ame no Gor˘

    Mitsumen Komori

    Kami no Megumi Wag˘ no Torikumi
    (Megumi no Kenka)

    Casting

    Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Onoe Kikugor˘, Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Ichikawa Danz˘, Ichikawa Sadanji, Nakamura Kanjaku, Ichimura Manjir˘, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Onoe Sh˘roku, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Omez˘, Sawamura Tanosuke, Kataoka Ichiz˘, ďtani Tomoemon, Band˘ Shűch˘, Kataoka Kamez˘, Ichikawa Unosuke, Ichimura Kakitsu, Kawarasaki Gonjűr˘, Band˘ Kamesabur˘, Band˘ Kametoshi, Nakamura Toranosuke, Ichimaura Takematsu, Ichimura Hikaru

    Comments

    This program celebrates the 120th anniversary of the first Kabuki performance given for the Emperor (the 21st of April 1887) with the dance-drama "Kanjinch˘" and the 6th anniversary (7th memorial service) of the death of Ichimura Uzaemon XVII witht the drama "Onna Shibaraku":

  • Dorob˘ to Wakatono:
    (The Thief and the Samurai Lord)
    This is a new play that is a dramatization of a story by popular historical novelist Yamamoto Shűgor˘. It shows a surprising encounter between a thief and a high-ranking samurai lord. Starring Onoe Sh˘roku as the thief and Band˘ Mitsugor˘ as the samurai lord.
  • Kanjinch˘: probably the most popular Kabuki play today, it includes dance, comedy and the heart-warming pathos of a band of heroes during their last days. Disguised as a band of traveling priests the fugitive general Yoshitsune and his small band of retainers are stopped at a road barrier. They escape only through the quick thinking of the head retainer, a warrior priest named Musashib˘ Benkei, who improvises the text of an elaborate imperial decree. Having escaped danger Benkei and the others describe their days of glory and hardships on the road to escape in a moving dance. This program stars Ichikawa Danjűr˘ in the role of Benkei, with Nakamura Baigyoku and Onoe Kikugor˘ as Yoshitsune and the barrier keeper Togashi.
  • Kirare Yosa: Yosabur˘ (Ichikawa Ebiz˘), the refined young son of a wealthy merchant falls in love with Otomi (Onoe Kikunosuke) the moment he first sees her on the beach. But Otomi is the mistress of a powerful gangster, and when their relationship is discovered, the two are attacked. Yosabur˘ is cut from head to toe and the two are dumped into the sea. Otomi lives and is taken in by a rich merchant while Yosabur˘ is now covered with scars. Yosabur˘ turns into a petty thief and extortionist but one day, finds that the woman he is about to blackmail is none other than Otomi, alive and well.
  • Onna Date: Nakamura Shikan stars as a woman in the pleasure quarters who swaggers and fights in the finest gallant style but who has a delicate sense of femininity as well.
  • Onna Shibaraku: Ichimura Uzaemon XVII was one of the mainstays of Kabuki. Rich in knowledge of Kabukiĺs acting tradition, he was also a skilled player of mature male roles. To commemorate the seventh anniversary of his death, the first play in the evening program features his three sons Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Ichimura Manjir˘ and Kawarasaki Gonjűr˘ in a spectacular play that shows old-fashioned Kabuki at its best. More ceremony than play, "Shibaraku" is one of the oldest pieces in Kabuki. Just as an evil villain is about to execute a group of loyal retainers, a voice calls out for him to wait and a hero appears to save the day. This version is a parody, though, as the hero is played by an onnagata female role specialist, who mixes the super-human strength of an aragoto hero with the soft gentleness of a Kabuki heroine. Featuring Ichimura Manjir˘ as the heroine and Band˘ Hikosabur˘ as the larger-than-life villain, with Band˘ Mitsugor˘ as a friendly stage attendant who makes sure that everything goes right.
  • Ame no Gor˘: Soga no Gor˘ is one of the most famous heroes in the Kabuki world, super-strong and quick to fight. However, this dance shows the soft side of this hero as well as he travels nightly to the pleasure quarter to visit his lover. Starring Onoe Sh˘roku as Gor˘.
  • Mitsumen Komori:
    (The Babysitter with Three Masks)
    This short charming dance shows a young girl who is a babysitter and she entertains her charge with a series of games and dances. The highlight is when she does a short sketch with three comic masks which shows a romantic quarrel between the plump, homely woman Okame and the drunken god of prosperity Ebisu. Finally Hyottoko with his funny, twisted up mouth steps in to mediate the fight. Starring Band˘ Mitsugor˘, one of the finest dancers of the younger generation of actors.
  • Megumi no Kenka: they used to say that fights and fires were the flowers of the city of Edo and many plays feature the gallent members of firefighting troupes, who were popular heroes. This particular play depicts a rivalry between the members of the Megumi firefighting band and a group of sum˘ wrestlers, which ultimately is a confrontation between the firefighters, who represent the commoner class and the samurai patrons of the sum˘ wrestlers. The fight begins with a minor incident, but grows into a situation of such tension, that when Tatsugor˘, the leader of the firefighting gang, goes to his final fight, he goes with the full intention that this may be a fight to the death. Before he leaves, he has an emotional parting from his family. Featuring Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘ as Tatsugor˘ and Ichikawa Danjűr˘ as the leader of the group of sum˘ wrestlers.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Shinbashi Enbuj˘ (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 1 ~ 25 May 2007 (Gogatsu ďkabuki)
    MatinÚe

    Narukami

    Onihei Hankach˘ (ďkawa no Inkyo)

    Tsuri Onna

    Evening

    Imoseyama Onna Teikin
    (Mikasayama Goten)

    Sumidagawa Gonichi no Omokage (H˘kaib˘)

    Futa Omote Mizu ni Terutsuki

    Casting

    Nakamura Kichiemon, Nakamura Shibajaku, Ichikawa Danshir˘, Nakamura Tomijűr˘, Nakamura Fukusuke, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Nakamura Kash˘, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Kichinoj˘, Nakamura Matsue, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Nakamura Tamatar˘

    Comments

    Nakamura Kichiemon is for the second time the zagashira of a troupe of young actors performing at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘. He plays four major roles, including the role of Hasegawa Heiz˘, a role which he played for many years in the TV series "Onihei Hankach˘".

  • Narukami: one of the most popular and universally appealing plays in the Kabuki Jűhachiban collection of plays featuring the bombastic aragoto style of acting. The holy man Narukami (Ichikawa Somegor˘) is angry at the Imperial Court and has taken refuge in the mountains where he has imprisoned inside a waterfall the dragon that brings rain, bringing a severe drought to the country. Princess Taema (Nakamura Shibajaku) is sent by the Imperial Court to try to seduce Narukami, destroying his magical powers and release the rain. When he finds that he has been betrayed, anger transforms Narukami into a Thunder God.
  • ďkawa no Inkyo: Onihei Hankach˘ is a popular series of novels, written by Ikenami Shotar˘ from 1967, and successfully adapted to television. In all, 135 stories were published. The hero is Hasegawa Heiz˘, head of the special police who had jurisdiction over arson and robberies in Edo. His nickname is "Onihei," which means "Heiz˘ the Devil". He leads a band of law-enforcers and cultivates reformed criminals as informants to solve difficult crimes. This episode, "The Retired of the ďkawa River" is about the stealing of Onihei's precious silver kiseru, a souvenir from his late father. The investigations lead Onihei to the old boatman Tomogor˘, who used to be a thief but he's supposed to have retired. Featuring Nakamura Kichiemon and Nakamura Karoku in the roles of Onihei and Tomogor˘.
  • Tsuri Onna: a dance based on a classical Ky˘gen farce. A master (Nakamura Kinnosuke) longs for a wife and is told by the gods in a dream to go fishing for one. He is united with a beautiful princess (Nakamura Shibajaku). His servant Tar˘kaja (Nakamura Kash˘) wants a wife as well, but when he goes fishing, is stuck with a very surprising companion, played by Nakamura Kichiemon in a rare, humorous, female role.
  • Mikasayama Goten: a fantastic Kabuki period play showing intrigues in the imperial court in the earliest days of Japan. The dictator Soga no Iruka has set up his own court and now seeks to destroy his opponent Kamatari. A mysterious fisherman named Fukashichi (Nakamura Kichiemon) comes as a messenger from Kamatari, claiming to bring a message of surrender. Meanwhile, Iruka's younger sister, Princess Tachibana (Ichikawa Komaz˘) has fallen in love with a handsome young man named Motome (Ichikawa Somegor˘). But Motome is actually the son of Kamatari and says that he will only grant her love if she will cut off Iruka's head. Moreover, a country girl named Omiwa (Nakamura Fukusuke) has also followed Motome. Omiwa's blood and the work of all these people combined are what is necessary to finally defeat the magical powers of the evil Iruka.
  • H˘kaib˘/Futa Omote Mizu ni Terutsuki: a comic play featuring the antics of an evil begging priest named H˘kaib˘. H˘kaib˘ (Nakamura Kichiemon) is in love with the beautiful, young Okumi (Nakamura Shibajaku) who is herself in love with Y˘suke, a servant at her father's store. Y˘suke (Nakamura Kinnosuke) is actually an aristocrat searching for the lost treasure of his family. He regains possession only to have the scroll stolen by H˘kaib˘. Y˘suke accepts Okumi's love, but is also pursued by Princess Nowake (Ichikawa Somegor˘), his true fiancee. In a grim but humorous scene at a graveyard, everyone tries to get Okumi and the scroll. But H˘kaib˘ ends up killing Princess Nowake and is killed himself before he can enjoy the fruits of his villainy. The last scene, "Futa Omote Mizu ni Terutsuki", is one of the great classics of dance and is often performed separately. Y˘suke and Okumi try to run off together only to find a strange figure that looks exactly like Okumi. Y˘suke tries to find out which is the real Okumi. In fact, in a virtuoso turn for the star actor who plays this double role, the mysterious figure is made up of the combined spirits of H˘kaib˘ and Princess Nowake, each questing for love even after death.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website, except "ďkawa no Inkyo"

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 11 ~ 22 May 2007 (Zenshinza Gogatsu K˘en)
    Program

    Kenuki

    Shinmon Tatsugor˘

    Casting

    Nakamura Umenosuke, Arashi Keishi, Kawarasaki Kunitar˘, Nakamura Baijaku, Segawa Kikunoj˘, Fujikawa Yanosuke, Arashi Hironari, Yamazaki Ryűnosuke, Yamazaki Ky˘ka, Yamazaki Tatsusabur˘, Osagawa Genjir˘

    Comments

    The Zenshinza troupe stages two of its classics, the bombastic Kabuki Jűhachiban drama "Kenuki" and Mayama Seika's shinkabuki drama "Shinmon Tatsugor˘":

  • Kenuki: in this play, which retains the light, festive atmosphere of early-period Kabuki, a princess has a mysterious ailment that makes her hair stand on end, an ailment that prevents her from carrying out her long-awaited marriage. Kumedera Danj˘ comes from the groom's household to investigate and finds a plot to take over the household when his tweezers float in mid-air. Arashi Keishi stars in a play that features the bombastic aragoto style of acting that is a specialty of his family.
  • Shinmon Tatsugor˘: ???
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Minamiza (Ky˘to)
    Dates 9 ~ 23 May 2007 (Band˘ Tamasabur˘ Tokubetsu Buy˘ K˘en)
    Program

    Okuni Kabuki Yume no Hanayagi

    Kumo no Hy˘shimai

    Casting

    Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Ichikawa Danjir˘, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa En'ya, Ichikawa Shun'en, Band˘ Shinsha

    Chikamatsuza Tour
    Dates 19 ~ 27 May 2007
    Program

    Shunky˘ Kagami Jishi

    K˘j˘

    Kuruwa Bunsh˘ (Yoshidaya)

    Casting

    Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Kazutar˘

    Comments

    18th edition of the Chikamatsuza tour.

  • 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 Nakamura Kazutar˘ as both Yayoi and the spirit of the lion.
  • 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. This k˘j˘ is led by Sakata T˘jűr˘.
  • Yoshidaya: the roots of this play go back to the earliest days of Kabuki. Izaemon, the son of a wealthy family, has been disowned for loving a courtesan and now has nothing but a paper kimono. This role is a classic example of the wagoto or soft style of acting that is one of the representative acting styles of the Kansai region. Sakata T˘jűr˘ stars as Izaemon, a role that is a specialty of his family's Kansai acting style. Featuring Nakamura Kaishun as his lover, the courtesan Yűgiri.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Wahha Kamigata Engei Hall (ďsaka)
    Dates 13 May 2007 (Miyoshi no Kai)
    Program

    Anma to Dorob˘

    Keisei Awa no Naruto
    (Kuni Namari Futaba no Oizuru)

    Casting

    Kamimura Kichiya

    Comments

    Third edition of the program of the association Miyoshi no Kai, which stars the young and talented actor Kamimura Kichiya, who plays the roles of the blind masseur Hide-no-Ichi and Oyumi in "Anma to Dorob˘" and "Keisei Awa no Naruto".

  • Keisei Awa no Naruto: it is one of the most popular scenes performed in the traditional puppet repertoire. In the "The Scene of the Pilgrim's Song", Oyumi meets her daughter Otsuru, whom she had been forced to abandon as an infant ten years earlier in Tokushima. But now, because of the perilous situation of the girl's samurai father, Oyumi must send her daughter away for the girl's own safety without revealing that she is the mother whom her daughter is seeking. Starring Kamimura Kichiya in the role of Oyumi.
  • Source: bunraku.org

     
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