Tanemaki Sanbas˘: based on the ritual play "Okina" in the N˘ theatre,
the sanbas˘ is both an important
prayer for prosperity and a vigorous dance.
The sanbas˘ stamps and shakes
bells as a ritual for agricultural prosperity
while the Senzai is an elegant attendant to the prayers. This particular
version elaborates the original ritual into a dance evoking love, marriage
and the prosperity symbolized by many children. Featuring Nakamura Baigyoku as the
Sanbas˘ and Kataoka Takatar˘ as Senzai.
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 Kichiemon as Matahei and Nakamura Shibajaku as his wife Otoku.
(The Dropped Coat)
This play transforms a classical Ky˘gen
farce into Kabuki dance. Delivering a message for his lord, the servant
Tar˘kaja (Matsumoto K˘shir˘) charms a princess and in reward for a dance showing
a famous battle, he receives a formal coat and large amounts of drink.
Knowing his lord is a greedy man, he tries to hide the coat on his return,
but unfortunately, the sake that
helped him feel so good earlier works against him.
Gosho no Goroz˘: a portrait of the Yoshiwara
pleasure quarters at the height of its splendor. Rival gangs dressed
in the height of fashion exchange stately speeches before fighting
in the elaborate poetic cadences of Kawatake Mokuami, the last great playwright of Kabuki.
Goroz˘ is the handsome leader of a gang, but his lover, the top courtesan
Satsuki pretends to reject him to save his life. Tragedy strikes when Goroz˘
is driven to revenge. Starring Kataoka Nizaemon as Goroz˘, Ichikawa Sadanji as his rival in love,
Nakamura Fukusuke as Goroz˘'s lover, the courtesan Satsuki and Kataoka Takatar˘ as ďshű,
a courtesan who is tragically killed.
Miyajima no Danmari: the beautiful courtesan Ukifune (Nakamura Fukusuke)
appears at Itsukushima Shrine, but she is actually the famous and daring thief
Kesatar˘ coming to steal the treasures of the shrine.
Other famous characters from the Heike clan, closely associated with the shrine,
appear, and there is a dreamy fight in the dark.
This play is especially famous for the odd way in which Ukifune mixes both
masculine and feminine movements.
Yamashina Kankyo: this is an act of the epic play based on a
sensational incident in the early 17th century. Lord En'ya Hangan's attack on
the senior official K˘ no Moron˘ affected people even outside his own household.
When Honz˘, the senior retainer of another lord, stopped En'ya from killing Moron˘,
he thought that he was doing a good thing. But his actions earned him the
scorn of Enya's retainers and brought personal tragedy to his daughter who
was engaged to Rikiya, the son of Yuranosuke, En'ya's head retainer.
The scene shows the tragedy as it affects Honz˘'s wife and daughter and
how ultimately Honz˘ sacrifices his life to atone for his misjudgement.
Starring Matsumoto K˘shir˘ as Honz˘, Living National Treasure Nakamura Shikan as his wife
Tonase and Onoe Kikunosuke as his daughter Konami, with Nakamura Kichiemon as Yuranosuke,
Nakamura Kaishun as his wife Oishi and Ichikawa Somegor˘ as his son Rikiya.
Tsuchi Gumo: a dance play adapted from the classical N˘ theatre.
The samurai Lord Minamoto Raik˘ is famous in legend for ridding Ky˘to of demons.
While Raik˘ is confined to bed with illness, a priest (Onoe Kikugor˘) from a prominent
temple comes to pray for his health. In fact, the priest is actually the spirit
of the earth spider which has caused Raik˘'s illness in the first place
and hopes to destroy him. The spider's plan to kill Raik˘ is defeated
by his retainers (the famous shitenn˘) in an exciting fight.
Featuring Living National Treasure Nakamura Tomijűr˘ as Raik˘.
(Three Thieves Named Kichisa)
The playwright Kawatake Mokuami excelled at portrayals of thieves and this short scene,
with its music and poetic lines, is one of his most famous.
A beautiful young woman helps out a woman who is lost on the road.
But she is actually Oj˘ Kichisa, a male thief who is disguised as a woman.
He steals an immense sum of money that the woman is carrying and this leads to
an encounter on this riverbank of three thieves, all with the name Kichisa.
The two others Kichisa are Osh˘ Kichisa, a bonze turned thief, and Ob˘ Kichisa, an ex-samurai turned thief
Though they start out as rivals, they decide to become blood brothers
and form a gang. Featuring Kataoka Takatar˘ as Oj˘ Kichisa, Onoe Sh˘roku as Osh˘ Kichisa and Ichikawa Somegor˘ as Ob˘ Kichisa.
Source: Earphone Guide website