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February Grand Kabuki, Evening Show

RAMPEI MONOGURUI (The Fight Scene of Mad Rampei)
In order to recover a treasure, Rampei claims to go mad at the sight of a sword. But he is unmasked and the play ends with one of the most spectacular fight scenes in kabuki including a struggle on top of a high ladder held up on the hanamichi runway. Starring Mitsugoro as Rampei.
KANJINCHO (The Subscription List)
Perhaps the single most popular kabuki play, this combines dance and thrilling drama and is the most frequently performed play among the Eighteen Favorite Plays of the Ichikawa Family. Disguised as a band of travelling priests, the fugitive general Yoshitsune (Baigyoku) and his small band of retainers are stopped at a barrier. They manage to escape through the quick thinking of head retainer Benkei (Kichiemon), who improvises reading an elaborate imperial decree and gets by despite the vigilance of the barrier keeper Togashi (Kikugoro). Having escaped danger, in dance, Benkei describes their days of glory and hardships on the road to escape.
SANNIN KICHISA TOMOE NO SHIRANAMI
One of the most famous love stories in kabuki is that between Oshichi, the grocer's daughter and the temple page Kichisa. The late Edo-period playwright Kawatake Mokuami was famous for his plays about thieves and here he takes the names and themes of the Oshichi-Kichisa story to come up with the complex tale of three thieves, all named Kichisa. Ojo Kichisa (Tamasaburo) dresses as a woman and uses this to catch his victims unawares. Obo Kichisa (Somegoro) is a handsome young man, a somewhat sinister masterless samurai. Osho Kichisa (Shoroku) is the disreputable head of a rundown temple. This short scene combines beautiful poetry and a thrilling romance of outlaws and shows the chance meeting that brings the three together as blood brothers.

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