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KANADEHON CHUSHINGURA (The Treasure of 47 Loyal Retainers), Matinee

Acts 1 and 3: The Helmet Appraisal and the Sword Incident
Act 4: Enya Hangan's Suicide
Travel Dance: The Fugitives

Tomijuro, Kichiemon, and Kaishun were superb.  Kikugoro was great.  Baishi was very good.  I wept once in the Suicide Act.

The play KANADEHON CHUSHINGURA (The Treasure of 47 Loyal Retainers) is the most popular in the kabuki repertory and is known throughout the world. In February, Kabuki-za features a full-length performance of the most famous acts of this play. The program features some of kabuki's most popular actors, including Living National Treasures Tomijuro and Kikugoro and world-famous onnagata female role specialist Tamasaburo. Also featuring Baigyoku, Kaishun, Koshiro, Kichiemon, Nizaemon, Sadanji and Tokizo.
Acts 1 and 3: The Helmet Appraisal and the Sword Incident
Daimyo lords from around the country gather for an important ceremony in the presence of Tadayoshi, the younger brother of the shogun. Under the watchful eye of the official Moronao (Tomijuro), lords Enya Hangan (Kikugoro) and Wakasanosuke (Kichiemon) have been charged with making sure everything goes according to protocol. Enya Hangan's wife Kaoyo (Kaishun) is asked to identify a helmet to be used in the ceremony. Moronao is in love with Kaoyo and tries to woo her, but Wakasanosuke stops him. In return, Moronao uses his position of authority to berate the young lord and Wakasanosuke decides to kill Moronao.
But the next morning at the shogun's mansion, Wakasanosuke's head retainer bribes Moronao to keep his master from causing an incident and although Wakasanosuke is about to attack Moronao, the aged official groveling stops him. As a result, though, Moronao is frustrated and angry and vents his feelings on Enya Hangan, especially after Hangan innocently brings him a letter in which Kaoyo refuses Moronao's love. Moronao steadily insults Hangan, who tries to ignore the pressure, but finally draws his sword and attacks. Drawing a sword in the shogun's palace is a crime punishable by death, but Moronao himself escapes with only a slight wound as others within the mansion hurry in to stop Hangan.
Act 4: Enya Hangan's Suicide
Emissaries from the shogun arrive at Enya Hangan's mansion to announce that he has received the strictest penalty for his actions. He is ordered to commit ritual suicide and his household is to be disbanded. Hangan's hate for Moronao grows when he hears that Moronao has received no punishment. Hangan waits and waits for his head retainer, but he does not arrive. Finally, Hangan plunges in the blade. At that moment, his head retainer Yuranosuke (Koshiro) arrives from their home province. With his last breaths, Hangan gives Yuranosuke the knife he used to commit suicide and tells him to take revenge. Now that the clan has been disbanded, Hangan's men become masterless samurai. Though some urge an immediate attack on Moronao, Yuranosuke bids them not to do anything rash. When alone in front of the closed mansion gates, though, he secretly reveals his determination that his lord will not have died in vain.
Travel Dance: The Fugitives
After the death of his lord, the retainer Kampei (Baigyoku) and his lover, the lady-in-waiting Okaru (Tokizo) flee to Okaru's home, a farmer's house in the country. Kampei feels responsible for the events since he was having a romantic tryst and was not at his master's side at the crucial moment. He tries to commit suicide, but Okaru stops him and convinces him that they should go to her home as husband and wife and wait for the right moment for him to be reinstated.

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