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December Grand Kabuki, Matinee

Mitsugoro's Dojoji was a must-see performance.

TAKATOKI
The last Hojo regent in the Kamakura Period was arrogant and given to pleasure and in this play we see him mocked by a band of flying tengu goblins. First performed in 1884, this is one of the most famous of the 'Living History' plays that replaced the fantasies of Edo Period history plays with a new attention to historical accuracy. Starring Baigyoku as Takatoki.
KYOKANOKO MUSUME DOJOJI (The Maiden at Dojoji Temple)
A beautiful young woman dances under cherry blossoms at a dedication ceremony for a temple bell. She dances the many aspects of a woman in love, but is actually the spirit of a serpent, driven to destroy the bell out of jealousy. This is the most famous of all kabuki dances and considered to be the pinnacle of the art of the onnagata female role specialist. This month's production is very remarkable, because it stars Bando Mitsugoro as the maiden who is not onnagata but has an established reputation in dance.
SAKURA GIMINDEN
This play is rare among classics in having a political theme. It depicts a country landlord Kiuchi Sogo (Koshiro) who cannot stand the suffering of the farmers around him. A series of bad harvests has made things very hard, but corrupt officials refuse to lower taxes or relent in any way. Finally, Sogo decides to bring the case directly to the shogun, a move punishable by death. The play shows Sogo as he persuades the old keeper of the river crossing (Danshiro) to let him pass and says a final farewell to his wife (Fukusuke) and children. Meanwhile, he is watched by a villainous informer, Maboroshi no Chokichi (Mitsugoro). Finally, Sogo brings his case directly to the shogun (Somegoro), knowing that whether he is successful or not, he will be executed.

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Posted by: LnddMiles | 2009.07.22 at 07:44 AM

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