OCTOBER 2012

2 shows in Nagoya (Misonoza), 4 in T˘ky˘ (Shinbashi Enbuj˘, National Theatre, NHK Hall) and 1 in Nara (Yakushiji)!

Misonoza (Nagoya)
Dates 2 ~ 26 October 2012 (Kichirei Kaomise ďkabuki)
Annual Festive Face-Showing Grand Kabuki
MatinÚe

Komochi Yamanba
(Yaegiri Kuruwa Banashi)

Keisei Yamato Z˘shi (Ch˘ no Michiyuki)

Ise Ondo Koi no Netaba
(Aburaya/Okuniwa)

Evening

Kiichi H˘gen Sanryaku no Maki (Kikubatake)

K˘j˘

Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura

  • Michiyuki Hatsune no Tabi
  • Kawatsura H˘gen Yakata
  • Casting

    Onoe Kikugor˘, Kataoka Nizaemon, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Senjaku, Ichikawa Sadanji, Nakamura Kankur˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Kataoka Kamez˘, Ichikawa Omez˘, Band˘ Kamesabur˘, Nakamura Baishi, Band˘ Shingo, Onoe Ukon, Nakamura Mantar˘

    Comments

    Nakamura Kankur˘ VI celebrates his shűmei in Nagoya at the Misonoza!

  • Yaegiri Kuruwa Banashi: Yamanba, or the mountain hag, has been celebrated for centuries in traditional Japanese dance and theater. In the Kabuki version, Yamanba becomes a beautiful woman, a courtesan who becomes the wife of the samurai Tokiyuki and retreats to the mountains to miraculously give birth to the powerful warrior Sakata Kintoki. This play was originally by the great Chikamatsu Monzaemon and is a classic of Kansai style Kabuki. Nakamura Tokiz˘ appears as the courtesan who tells the humorous story of a fight between courtesans over a handsome man and then mysteriously becomes pregnant by the spirit of her husband. Starring Nakamura Senjaku and Band˘ Yajűr˘ in the roles of Yaegiri's husband Sakata Tokiyuki and the villain ďta Jűr˘.
  • Ch˘ no Michiyuki:
    (The Love Suicide of the Butterflies)
    When people die, it is said that their spirits become butterflies. Having committed double suicide, the butterfly spirits of Kond˘ Sukekuni (Onoe Kikunosuke) and Komaki (Nakamura Shichinosuke) dance in human form remembering the time they first met and their love for each other. But their happiness is brief as they are again tormented by hell.
  • Ise Ondo: this play is famous for its classical depiction of a woman who must pretend to reject her lover for his sake and for the beautiful and gruesome dance-like killing scene at the end, done to the music of the Ise pleasure quarters. Fukuoka Mitsugi (the new Nakamura Kankur˘), a young apprentice at the holy Shrine of Ise tries to help find the stolen treasured sword of his clan out of duty to his former lord. Mitsugi has the sword in his possession, but must now find the certificate of authentication and in order to get it for him, Okon (Onoe Kikunosuke), a courtesan who is in love with Mitsugi must pretend to forsake Mitsugi. But he believes that she has truly betrayed him and further angered by the humiliating accusations of Manno (Onoe Kikugor˘), the head maid of the Aburaya brothel, Mitsugi inadvertently draws the sword, said to be cursed, and the rampage begins. Featuring also Kataoka Nizaemon in the role of the cook Kisuke.
  • Kikubatake: it is a great classic of period play Kabuki originally adapted from the Bunraku puppet theatre, full of larger-than-life characters and a stage full of dazzling color. In a garden of brilliant yellow and white chrysanthemums, there is Kiichi (Ichikawa Sadanji), an elderly strategist working for the dictator Kiyomori, his beautiful daughter Minazuru (Nakamura Tokiz˘) and two footmen, the elegant young Toraz˘ (Onoe Kikugor˘) and the powerful Chienai (Kataoka Nizaemon). But in fact, Toraz˘ is a young general from the enemy side here to steal Kiichiĺs secrets of strategy. Chienai is his retainer. But Kiichi has realized why they are there and also knows that Chienai is actually his younger brother. At the same time, Minazuru has fallen deeply in love with Toraz˘.
  • K˘j˘: the close relationship between the actors and the audience is shown by these stage announcements, lavish ceremonies to commemorate various important events. In this case, all the stars of the cast assemble to celebrate the shűmei of Nakamura Kankur˘ VI at the Misonoza.
  • Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura:
    (Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees)
    This play was first performed in the Bunraku puppet theatre and is an epic story about the famous 12th century general Yoshitsune fleeing from the wrath of his brother Yoritomo, after the end of the war. Although Yoshitsune is the title character, the main characters of the play are actually different and this month features the three acts of the play about the magical fox Tadanobu.
  • Michiyuki Hatsune no Tabi:
    (Mt. Yoshino)
    The story continues with a musical travel scene. Hearing that Yoshitsune has taken refuge in the mountains of Yoshino, Tadanobu (the new Nakamura Kankur˘) and Shizuka (Nakamura Shichinosuke) go to try to meet him there. Although Tadanobu keeps disappearing, he always appears when Shizuka plays the precious drum that she received from Yoshitsune. In dance Tadanobu recounts episodes from the Genpei war, including the battle in which his brother died.
  • Kawatsura H˘gen Yakata:
    (The Mansion of the Priest Kawatsura)
    Yoshitsune (Onoe Kikunosuke) has taken refuge in the mountains of Yoshino at the mansion of an old ally. Tadanobu arrives but has no recollection of Shizuka being placed under his care. Shizuka herself soon arrives with the other Tadanobu and after an investigation they discover that he is actually a fox. In a touching story, the fox tells how he took on human form to be close to the hand drum which is made from the skins of his fox parents. Moved, Yoshitsune gives the fox the drum and he flies away joyously.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Shinbashi Enbuj˘ (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 1 ~ 25 October 2012 (Jűgatsu ďkabuki)
    October Grand Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Kokusen'ya Gassen

    Kanjinch˘

    Evening

    Soga Moy˘ Tateshi no Goshozome
    (Gosho no Goroz˘)

    Kanjinch˘

    Casting

    Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Shibajaku, ďtani Tomoemon, Onoe Sh˘roku, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Nakamura Karoku, Ichikawa Unosuke, Ichimura Kakitsu, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Matsumoto Kingo, Band˘ Kametoshi, ďtani Hirotar˘, ďtani Hiromatsu, Matsumoto Kintar˘, Nakamura Yonekichi

    Comments

    The Shinbashi Enbuj˘ commemorates this month late Matsumoto K˘shir˘ VII!

  • Kokusen'ya Gassen: originally written for the Bunraku puppet theatre, it is oldest period play in the puppet repertory with a continuous performance tradition. This exotic play on a grand scale by Chikamatsu Monzaemon is based on the true story of a warrior from Japan, who fought in China to restore the Ming dynasty after its fall. Wat˘nai (whose name means "neither Chinese nor Japanese") is the son of a Chinese official and a Japanese mother. This performance features the touching drama as Wat˘nai (Onoe Sh˘roku) goes with his parents to try to enlist the aid of his sister Kinsh˘jo (Nakamura Shibajaku), now the wife of the powerful Chinese general Kanki (Nakamura Baigyoku). She eventually agrees, but can only do so by making a terrible sacrifice. This full-length performance also features very rarely performed scenes showing the Chinese Ming dynasty being overtaken by tribes from the north and the call for help, a call that goes to Japan.
  • 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 Sakata T˘jűr˘ and Matsumoto K˘shir˘ as Yoshitsune and the barrier keeper Togashi.
  • 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 Nakamura Baigyoku as Goroz˘, Onoe Sh˘roku as his rival in love, Nakamura Shibajaku as Goroz˘'s lover, the courtesan Satsuki and Ichikawa Komaz˘ as ďshű, a courtesan who is tragically killed. Featuring also Matsumoto K˘shir˘ in the role of Kabutoya Yogor˘.
  • 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 Sakata T˘jűr˘ and Ichikawa Danjűr˘ as Yoshitsune and the barrier keeper Togashi.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 5 ~ 27 October 2012
    Program

    Shiobara Tasuke Ichidaiki

    Casting

    Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Kataoka Takatar˘, Nakamura T˘z˘, Ichikawa Danz˘, Ichimura Manjir˘, Kawarasaki Gonjűr˘, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Nakamura Matsue, Band˘ Shűch˘, Kamimura Kichiya, Nakamura Tamatar˘

    Comments

    Revival at the National Theatre of Kawatake Shinshichi III's drama "Shiobara Tasuke Ichidaiki", which was staged for the last time in March 1960 at the Kabukiza.

  • Shiobara Tasuke Ichidaiki: the 2012 season of kabuki at the National Theatre begins with a rare performance of "Shiobara Tasuke Ichidaiki". This is a true story, which was first dramatized as a long rakugo narrative by San'yűtei Ench˘ (1839~1900) as one of the most famous of his ninj˘ banashi ("stories of human feeling"). Even today, it can occasionally be heard being told by rakugo storytellers, who usually perform comic stories but also have a broad repertory of dramatic stories as well. Although it was once commonly performed in the Kabuki theatre, this revival marks the first performance in a long time. The story tells of how Shiobara Tasuke (Band˘ Mitsugor˘) left his home in Gumma Prefecture with very little money and went to seek his fortune in Edo. The most famous scene features the moment when he is forced to part from his beloved horse. But through diligent saving and shrewd business practices, he built a business of selling charcoal that was the biggest in the city of Edo and he has left his mark today with a bridge named after him near Ry˘goku and a lantern that he donated to the Kameido shrine that is still there today.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    NHK Hall (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 28 October 2012 (Koten Gein˘ Kansh˘ Kai)
    Program

    Hade Sugata Onna Maiginu (Sakaya)

    Casting

    Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Senjaku, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Band˘ Takesabur˘, Nakamura Toranosuke

    Comments

    39th edition of Koten Gein˘ Kansh˘ Kai (literally the "Classics Entertainment Appreciation Association"), a yearly performance produced by the National TV network NHK. The program includes one ky˘gen, one Kabuki play, one traditional dance and traditional music.

  • Sakaya: this play is supposed to be about the love suicide of Hanshichi, the son of a sake merchant, and the dancer Sankatsu, but the true heart of the drama is the effect of this romance on his family. Hanshichi is forced to kill a man and although his father has apparently disowned him, in fact, he lets himself be arrested in his son's place. The most famous moment of this play is the lament of Osono, the wife that Hanshichi was arranged to marry. Even though she has never been loved by Hanshichi, in her heart is only selfless love and concern for him. Starring Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘ as both Hanshichi and Osono. Featuring also Nakamura Senjaku, Band˘ Yajűr˘ and Band˘ Takesabur˘.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Yakushiji (Nara)
    Dates 29 ~ 30 October 2012 (Sekaisan Yakushiji H˘n˘ ďkabuki)
    World Heritage Yakushiji Offering Grand Kabuki
    Program

    Hashi Benkei

    Goaisatsu

    Shunky˘ Kagami Jishi

    Casting

    Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Nakamura Kazutar˘

    Comments

    This special Kabuki performance is staged within the precincts of the famous Yakushiji temple in Nara. UNESCO listed the site as World Heritage in 1998.

  • Hashi Benkei:
    (Benkei on the Bridge)
    There are many legends about Benkei, the warrior-priest who was the faithful companion of the general Yoshitsune. This dance shows the first meeting of Benkei and Yoshitsune. Benkei goes nightly to the bridge at the Fifth Avenue of Ky˘to, defeating men night after night and taking their swords. Finally he encounters a delicate young man that he thinks will be an easy opponent, but is defeated himself instead. This young man was Yoshitsune, under his childhood name of Ushiwakamaru. Benkei is so impressed that he becomes Yoshitsuneĺs retainer, right there and then. Starring Ichikawa Ebiz˘ as Benkei and Nakamura Kazutar˘ as Ushiwakamaru.
  • Goaisatsu: the close relationship between the actors and the audience is shown by this goaisatsu (literally greetings) k˘j˘, lavish ceremonies to commemorate various important events. In this case, the goaisatsu is performed by young star Ichikawa Ebiz˘.
  • 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 Ichikawa Ebiz˘ as both Yayoi and the spirit of the lion.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

     
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