NOVEMBER 2006

5 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, National Theatre, Shinbashi Enbuj˘), 1 in Yamaga (Yachiyoza) and 2 tours (Sh˘chiku Grand Kabuki Tour, Kinshű Special Tour)!

Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
Dates 1 ~ 25 November 2006 (Kichirei Kaomise K˘gy˘ Kabuki)
MatinÚe

Meiboku Sendai Hagi

  • Hanamizubashi
  • Take-no-Ma
  • Goten
  • Yukashita
  • Taiketsu
  • Ninj˘
  • Shichimai Tsuzuki Hana no Sugatae

  • Genta
  • Gannin B˘zu
  • Evening

    Tsuru Kame

    R˘ben Sugi no Yurai (Nigatsud˘)

    Hinasuke Ky˘ran

    Goj˘bashi

    Kumo ni Magou Ueno no Hatsuhana (K˘chiyama)

    Casting

    Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Onoe Kikugor˘, Kataoka Nizaemon, Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Nakamura Tomijűr˘, Nakamura Jakuemon, Nakamura Shikan, Ichikawa Danshir˘, Sawamura Tanosuke, Nakamura Fukusuke

    Comments

  • Meiboku Sendai Hagi: this play is about the attempt to take over one of the most famous samurai households in the Edo period, a scandal that caused a sensation in its day.
  • Hanamizubashi: the daimy˘ Yorikane (Nakamura Fukusuke) has fallen in love with a courtesan and has neglected responsibilities, causing high ranking retainers to plot the takeover of his domain. Returning from the pleasure quarters, he is attacked at Hanamizu Bridge, but is able to escape thanks to the help of a sum˘ wrestler retainer.
  • Take-no-Ma/Goten: Masaoka (Onoe Kikugor˘), a loyal maidservant, is taking care of the lord's young heir. Afraid he will be poisoned, she refuses to let anyone see him who might try to assassinate him. 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 sacrifices his life for the young lord by eating the poisoned candy, and when he is killed, she 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. With Kataoka Nizaemon as the villainous Yashio, a court woman who kills Masaokaĺs son.
  • Yukashita: Another faithful retainer Otokonosuke (Nakamura Tomijűr˘), stands guard underneath the room, but the evil Nikki Danj˘ (Ichikawa Danjűr˘) appears as a giant rat, but then slips away, walking calmly through the clouds.
  • Taiketsu/Ninj˘: the elderly Geki (Ichikawa Danshir˘), a faithful retainer, brings charges against Danj˘. Danj˘ cleverly protests his innocence, but his lies are seen through by the wise judge Katsumoto (Kataoka Nizaemon). Condemned to death, Nikki tries to take his revenge on Geki.
  • Shichimai Tsuzuki Hana no Sugatae: two different dances, Genta (Kajiwara Genta and his Battles) and Gannin B˘zu (The Begging Priest). First performed in 1808 by Band˘ Mitsugor˘ III, this was originally a series of seven dances featuring the same actor in a variety of roles. The character of Genta is a historical figure from the wars between the Genji and Heike clans, but in this dance is shown as an elegant dandy from the Edo period visiting the pleasure quarters. Then the actor changes to a begging priest who gets money by going door to door performing songs and dances. Starring Band˘ Mitsugor˘ in dances created by his ancestor.
  • Tsuru Kame: the crane (tsuru) is said to live for a thousand years, the tortoise (kame) is said to live for ten thousand years. Together, they are a traditional symbol of longevity. There is no particular plot to this play, but simply shows a visit by the empress to the Moon Pavilion where two courtiers dance as the spirits of the crane and tortoise. Starring Nakamura Jakuemon as the empress, Band˘ Mitsugor˘ as the spirit of the crane and Nakamura Fukusuke as the spirit of the tortoise.
  • R˘ben Sugi no Yurai: this play deals with the legendary origins of the priest R˘ben, one of the founders of the great T˘daiji temple in Nara. Once as a farm woman was watching over her child, he was stolen away by a giant bird. She wandered for years looking for him and was driven mad by her desperate search. In the scene that will be presented, finally she comes to T˘daiji where the head priest considers a certain tree very precious since that is where he was found as a child. A Buddhist priest took care of him and now he has risen to this great status. When she realizes that R˘ben is none other than her long lost child, the mother recovers her senses and there is a happy reunion. Starring Nakamura Shikan as the mother and Kataoka Nizaemon as R˘ben.
  • Hinasuke Ky˘ran: There are many dances that feature characters that have been driven mad with grief by the loss of some loved one. This is a very rare performance of one of these scenes in the oldest style of Kabuki starring Onoe Kikugor˘.
  • Goj˘bashi: a short dance showing Ushiwaka, a delicate young man who actually is a powerful warrior picking fights on the Goj˘ Bridge in Ky˘to and Benkei, the stout warrior priest who challenges him. Starring Nakamura Tomijűr˘ as Benkei with his young son Takanosuke as Ushiwaka.
  • K˘chiyama: the tea priest K˘chiyama (Ichikawa Danjűr˘) is a skilled thief and extortionist, but cannot turn down a request to help those in need. He disguises himself as a high-ranking priest to try to gain the freedom of a girl held by a powerful samurai lord (Band˘ Mitsugor˘) because she will not become his mistress. Using the famous poetic cadences of the late 19th century playwright Mokuami, K˘chiyama not only succeeds in his mission to rescue the girl, but he manages to extort a fair amount for himself.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 26 November 2006
    Program

    Genroku Chűshingura

  • Fushimi Shumokumachi
  • Ohama Goten Tsunatoyo-ky˘
  • Nanbuzaka no Yuki Wakare
  • Casting

    Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Kataoka Gat˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Kaishun, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Nakamura Kanjaku, Nakamura Senjaku, Kataoka Ainosuke, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Kamimura Kichiya, Nakamura Kikaku, Nakamura T˘z˘, Kataoka Shinnosuke, Nakamura Matsue, Nakamura Utae

    Comments

    The National Theatre commemorates its 40th anniversary. Mayama Seika's Shinkabuki masterpiece "Genroku Chűshingura" is staged in its integrity over 3 months in 3 different productions with 3 different stars in the leading role of ďishi Kuranosuke. This month, the role is played by Sakata T˘jűr˘.

    Shinbashi Enbuj˘ (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 1 ~ 25 November 2006 (Hanagata Kabuki)
    MatinÚe

    Banch˘ Sarayashiki

    Kanjinch˘

    Benten Musume Meo no Shiranami

  • Hamamatsuya
  • Inasegawa Seizoroi
  • Evening

    Toki-ha Ima Kiky˘ no Hataage (Badarai)

    Funa Benkei

    Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura
    (Kawatsura H˘gen Yakata)

    Casting

    Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Nakamura Shibajaku, Onoe Kikunosuke, Ichikawa Sadanji, Onoe Sh˘roku

    Comments

  • Banch˘ Sarayashiki: the story of Okiku, who became a ghost after breaking one of a precious set of plates and being killed in punishment by a quick-tempered lord, is one of the most famous in Japanese tradition. But this is a modern play, which transforms the ghost story into a portrait of the interaction of contrasting and incompatable personalities. The samurai lord Aoyama Harima (Onoe Sh˘roku) is passionate and quick to fight and is in the middle of a fight when he is stopped by his aunt. She has arranged a marriage for him and Harima is unable to admit that the reason he will not marry is because he is deeply in love with Okiku (Nakamura Shibajaku), a lady-in-waiting in his household. As strong as Harima is, his aunt's will is much stronger. But this makes Okiku wonder about the strength of Harima's love for her and she tests him by breaking one of a set of heirloom plates. When she tests Harima's feelings, this seals her fate and sets the tragedy of the play in motion.
  • 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 Ebiz˘ in the role of Benkei, with Nakamura Shibajaku and Onoe Kikunosuke as Yoshitsune and the barrier keeper Togashi.
  • Benten Musume: this play is a sewamono (realistic play about commoners) written by the late 19th century playwright Mokuami who is famous for his plays about thieves. The thief Benten Koz˘ dresses up as a woman to commit extortion, but his plans are ruined when his disguise is seen through. In the highlight of the play, he undresses, showing his colorful tattoos and introduces himself in a famous poetic speech. Afterwards, he is joined by the members of his gang on a riverbank, and, using the playwright's famous poetic rhythms, in turn, they each boast of their careers as thieves. Onoe Kikunosuke stars as Benten Koz˘, with Ichikawa Sadanji as Nippon Daemon and Onoe Sh˘roku as Nang˘ Rikimaru.
  • Badarai: based on the true historical story of Akechi Mitsuhide who betrayed his lord Oda Nobunaga and ruled Japan for a few short days before being defeated by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, this play focuses on Mitsuhide and his tortured relationship with the arrogant and unreasonable lord Nobunaga. It is one of the few period plays by Tsuruya Nanboku IV still performed today and brings the same sharp psychological insight and eye for the attractiveness of evil characters that make his ghost plays and plays about commoners so powerful. Featuring Onoe Sh˘roku, Nakamura Shibajaku and Ichikawa Ebiz˘ in the roles of Takechi Mitsuhide (because of strict censorship, the real names were not used), Mitsuhide's wife Satsuki and Oda Harunaga.
  • Funa Benkei: in this powerful dance-drama, which is based on the well-known play of the same title, Onoe Kikunosuke 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 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.
  • Kawatsura H˘gen Yakata: the epic "Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees" ("Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura") features many characters around the famous general Yoshitsune, but none more memorable than a magic fox that takes the guise of Tadanobu, one of Yoshitsune's most trusted retainers. The fox wants to get close to a precious drum that Yoshitsune has made from the skins of his fox parents. In this excerpt from the longer play, the fox reveals his true identity with a series of spectacular stage tricks and Yoshitsune is moved to grant him the drum. This play ends with a spectacular chűnori. Starring Ichikawa Ebiz˘ as the fox Tadanobu.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide website
    Sasaguchi Rei for "Funa Benkei"

    Sh˘chiku Grand Kabuki Tour
    Dates 30 October ~ 26 November 2006
    Program

    Kabuki Banashi

    Yoshiwara Suzume

    Kanjinch˘

    Casting

    Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Nakamura Shinjir˘, Sawamura S˘nosuke, Matsumoto Kingo, Band˘ Kamesabur˘, Band˘ Kametoshi

    Comments

  • Kabuki Banashi: a short workshop led by Matsumoto Kin'ya.
  • Yoshiwara Suzume: in this dance, a husband and wife come to the Yoshiwara pleasure quarters to sell caged sparrows for a ceremony to gain Buddhist merit by releasing living things. Caged sparrows were also images for the courtesans of the pleasure quarters, and the two dance a romantic meeting between a courtesan and her lover, showing the lively and erotic atmosphere of the pleasure quarters. Starring Nakamura Shinjir˘ and Ichikawa Komaz˘ as the husband and wife.
  • 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 Matsumoto K˘shir˘ in the role of Benkei, with Ichikawa Komaz˘ and Nakamura Shinjir˘ as Yoshitsune and the barrier keeper Togashi.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Yachiyoza (Yamaga)
    Dates 29 October ~ 7 November 2006
    Program

    Fuji Musume

    Sagi Musume

    Casting

    Band˘ Tamasabur˘

    Comments

    A special Buy˘ program starring the amazing onnagata Band˘ Tamasabur˘ in Yamaga at the Yachiyoza, a traditional wooden-built theater.

    Kinshű Special Tour
    Dates 8 ~ 24 November 2006
    Program

    Eshima Ikushima

    Geidan

    Tamagawa

    B˘ Shibari

    Casting

    Nakamura Kantar˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke

    Comments

    The word kinshű means "Autumn Brocade". This Autumn tour stars the two young stars Nakamura Kantar˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke. The first item is a Shinkabuki drama. The second one is a speech about the art of Kabuki. The last two ones are dances.

     
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