November Kabuki Program at Shimbashi Enbujo Theatre
Matinee (from 11:00 AM):
KUMO NI MAGOU UENO NO HATSUHANA [Kochiyama and Naozamurai]
The matinee program is a full-length performance of “Kumo ni Magou Ueno no Hatsuhana” by Kawatake Mokuami. The play is full of the lush, dark atmosphere of late kabuki and dramatizes the story of the Tempo Rokkasen, a gang of thieves made famous in popular novels. The play is extremely famous and performed often, but usually is presented in versions focusing on either Kochiyama, the priest who is the head of the gang, or handsome young Naozamurai. This month will present both of these sections together, along with other seldom performed scenes.
Namiji, the daughter of a widow running a pawnshop has been favored by a samurai lord and has become a lady-in-waiting in his mansion. But the widow has not heard from her daughter in a long time and has heard strange rumors that the lord is trying to seduce her and is keeping her locked up until she complies with his wishes. The desperate widow asks for the help of Kochiyama Soshun, a priest who conducts tea ceremonies inside the shogun's palace but who actually is the leader of a gang of thieves. Kochiyama takes advantage of his shaved head to masquerade as a priestly emissary from the shogun. He forces the lord to let Namiji go and also extorts a hefty bribe from the lord as well. But as Kochiyama is leaving, one of the chief retainers of the mansion who is in fact, plotting against the lord himself, recognizes Kochiyama. Suddenly the measured cadences of the priest change to the rough speech of an Edo thief. He sits in the entrance hall, daring them to throw him out, exposing the stupidity and villainy of the lord to the world. Finally Kochiyama leaves triumphantly, calling them all a pack of idiots. The masterless samurai named Naozamurai belongs to a gang of thieves. The police are hot on his trail, but before he leaves Edo, he meets his lover, the courtesan Michitose for one final time. Their meeting is the highlight of this act and this bittersweet reunion is accompanied by one of the most famous pieces of romantic Kiyomoto music.
- Tokaiya or Ikari-Tomomori by Shoroku at the National Thetre(2011.07.23)