December Grand Kabuki, Evening Show
This is one act of a long play about sumo wrestlers and the rivalries of their patrons originally written for the puppet theater. This particular act focuses on the tragedy of commoners caught between their duty and their feelings toward their loved ones. A sumo wrestler has killed a man and takes refuge at the home of his mother. Unfortunately, her son has been ordered to arrest him. All of these complicated conflicts are symbolized by the humble skylight in a commoner’s dwelling that brings darkness and light as a rope is pulled to move a wooden shutter covering the window.
YUKIKEISEI【The Snow Courtesan】
The roles of top-ranking courtesans were considered most difficult for onnagata female role specialists since they had to create the sense of delicate femininity even though they were men. There are many dances featuring a keisei or top-ranking courtesan. They were very cultured and it took fabulous amounts of money to engage them for the evening. This particular dance shows a beautiful courtesan against a snowy landscape and sets off her romantic image with various figures from the pleasure quarters, some actually the spirits of the snow.
NODA-BAN: NEZUMI KOZO【The Noda Version: The Story of the Thief Nezumi Kozo】
Noda Hideki is one of the most noted figures in the contemporary Japanese theater and is famous for his fast-paced comic plays full of word plays. He has collaborated with Nakamura Kanzaburo several times to create new Noda-style kabuki plays and this is an encore performance of his second kabuki creation. Nezumi Kozo was famous as a thief who crept over the tile roofs of Edo to break into the storehouses of the wealthy and redistributed the gold coins to the poor. This version of the story features a stingy coffin maker who through chance becomes a thief like Nezumi Kozo and is forced to toss gold coins from the sky even though he would rather die than give anyone anything for free.