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February Grand Kabuki, Evening Show

TSUBOSAKA REIGENKI (The Miracle at Tsubosaka)
This Meiji period play captures the flavor of medieval theater with a miracle tale of the history of a temple, in this case, the Tsubosaka temple outside Nara. It is also famous for its spectacular Takemoto shamisen music. Sawaichi, a blind masseur laments being a burden on his loving wife and tries to commit suicide, but is saved by the miraculous help of the merciful Kannon.

TAKATSUKI (The Raised Tray)
A light comical dance based on the style of classical Kyogen farce. In Kyogen, there are many plays where a master sends out a servant to get something, only for the servant to come back with something totally different. This is a modern play written in the early 20th century to introduce tap dancing into kabuki. While they are viewing the cherry blossoms, a master sends his servant for a “takatsuki,” which is a kind of tray on a stand. Instead, the servant meets an unscrupulous clog peddler who sells him a clog or “takaashi.” The servant gets drunk and finally, as he tries to explain to his master how the clogs are exactly right, he wears them and starts to dance, ending the play with an exuberant kabuki version of a tap dance.

KAGOTSURUBE SATO NO EIZAME (The Courtesan Yatsuhashi and Sano Jirozaemon)
The play shows a humble, pockmarked merchant from the country named Jirozaemon. He is wealthy, but because of the way he looks, has never thought that it would be possible to have a woman. He and his servant go sightseeing in the Yoshiwara pleasure quarters and a chance look at top courtesan Yatsuhashi who smiles at him, makes Jirozaemon fall in love. However, the pleasure quarters are full of intrigue, and on the eve of the day that Jirozaemon is to buy up Yatsuhashi's contract, her true love Einojo forces her to reject and humiliate Jirozaemon in the middle of the celebratory banquet. Jirozaemon seems to forgive her, but returns with the sword Kagotsurube to exact his revenge.

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