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April Grand Kabuki

April Grand Kabuki (April 2 - 28, 2010)

A dammari is a fight in the dark where all the characters grope in the dark over some key object. This particular dammari is filled with the larger-than-life characters of kabuki and features Living National Treasure Shikan and the younger stars of kabuki to say farewell to Kabuki-za in this final month of performances before it closes for rebuilding.

Program I 11:00am
Act Performance Time On Sale
at Price
(Yen)
1 ONAGORI KOBIKI NO DANMARI
11:00am - 11:20am 10:30am 1,300
2 KUMAGAI JINYA
11:35am - 1:01pm
3 RENJISHI 1:31pm -2:25pm 1:10pm 1,200

ONAGORI KOBIKI NO DAMMARI (A Dammari in farewell to Kabuki-za)
A dammari is a fight in the dark where all the characters grope in the dark over some key object. This particular dammari is filled with the larger-than-life characters of kabuki and features Living National Treasure Shikan and the younger stars of kabuki to say farewell to Kabuki-za in this final month of performances before it closes for rebuilding.
KUMAGAI JINYA (Kumagai's Battle Camp)
This play is a dramatization of the clash between the Genji general Kumagai and the Heike warrior Atsumori at the battle of Ichinotani, one of the most famous passages of the epic "Tales of the Heike." In the kabuki version, on the cryptic orders of the Genji leader Yoshitsune, Kumagai must kill his own son in Atsumori's place. Things become worse when his wife Sagami and Atsumori's mother Fuji-no-kata arrive at his camp. In the highlight of the play, he tells them the story of his mortal battle with Atsumori, keeping Atsumori's well being and his own sacrifice a secret. He then shows the head of "Atsumori" for inspection by his leader to see if he has interpreted his orders correctly.
RENJISHI (Parent and Child Lion Dance)
This is one of the most popular dances in kabuki, but usually, it is a dance with father and son, in this special version, there are two sons. In Asian tradition, the shishi is not really a lion, but a kind of mythical creature that guards the mythical stone bridge to heaven. There is also a tradition that the way a parent shishi teaches its child is very severe and in this dance, the father lion throws his sons into a valley, hoping that he will have the strength to climb back up on his own.

Program II 3:00pm
Act Performance Time On Sale
at Price
(Yen)
1 TERAKOYA 3:00pm -4:19pm 2:35pm 1,400
2 SANNIN KICHISA TOMOE NO SHIRANAMI
4:34pm - 5:02pm 4:10pm 1,100
3 FUJIMUSUME
5:17pm - 5:38pm

TERAKOYA(The Village School)
The climactic act of one of the most famous historical plays from the Bunraku puppet theater, this play shows the tragic struggles of various retainers of the court noble Sugawara Michizane, exiled due to the vile rumors spread by a rival. The young son of Michizane is in hiding in a village school, protected by Genzo, the teacher out of loyalty to Michizane, his former master. But Matsuomaru, a retainer of the enemy is led to sacrifice his own son out of loyalty to his family's old lord, and, in the climactic moment of the play, must examine his own son's head and declare that it is that of Michizane's heir. 
SANNIN KICHISA TOMOE NO SHIRANAMI (Three Thieves Named Kichisa)
The late 19th century playwright Mokuami excelled at portrayals of thieves and this short scene, with its music and poetic lines, is one of his most famous. A beautiful young woman helps out a woman who is lost on the road. But she is actually Ojo Kichisa, a male thief who is disguised as a woman. He steals an immense sum of money that the woman is carrying and this leads to an encounter on this riverbank of three thieves, all with the name Kichisa. Though they start out as rivals, they decide to become blood brothers and form a gang.

FUJI MUSUME (The Wisteria Maiden)
The spirit of wisteria blossoms dances of love in the form of a beautiful young maiden. One of kabuki's most famous and colorful dances, it will feature the dancing skills of Living National Treasure Sakata Tojuro.


Program III 6:20pm
Act Performance Time On Sale
at Price
(Yen)
1 JITSUROKU SENDAI HAGI
6:20pm - 7:20pm 5:50pm 1,000
2 SUKEROKU YUKARI NO EDO ZAKURA 7:45pm - 9:45pm 7:30pm 1,500

JITSUROKU SENDAI HAGI (True Report of the Troubles in the Date Clan)
In the late 17th century, there was a dispute over leadership in the Date clan that led to the villainous head retainer Harada Kai being interrogated in the mansion of the highest advisor to the shogun and killing his accuser Date Aki there before being killed himself. This incident was reported in “jitsuroku (true record)” books that laced reportage with lurid fiction. This was then dramatized in the popular play “Meiboku Sendai Hagi.”
This is a rare performance of a dramatization of this jitsuroku version and shows the nurse Asaoka caught between her duty to protect the young lord of the clan while the investigation is being conducted and her love for her own son, who comes from the home clan far away to see her.

SUKEROKU YUKARI NO EDO ZAKURA (Sukeroku, the Hero of Edo)
A play filled with the leisurly, comic and romantic atmosphere of old-style kabuki, Sukeroku is a great showpiece for the top stars in kabuki. The dandy Sukeroku is the most famous patron of the Yoshiwara pleasure quarters. But his reputation as the lover of the highest ranking courtesan Agemaki is matched by that of his tendency to pick fights. In fact, Sukeroku is the samurai Soga no Goro in disguise and he uses the fights to find a lost heirloom sword. His search takes place in the midst of the colorful atmosphere of Yoshiwara, where the processions of beautiful courtesans compete with the splendor of cherry blossoms in full bloom.

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