December Grand Kabuki at Nissay Theatre
Evening Show (from 4:30 PM)
SESSHU GAPPO GA TSUJI [GAPPO’s Daughter Tsuji]
First performed as a puppet play in 1773, this play shows the searing passion of a stepmother for her son, a story that began with a legend in India and became the great classic of French theater, “Phedre” by Racine and took the form of the love of Tamate Gozen for her stepson in this play. In the puppet play, this forbidden desire is explained in the typical manner of a history play, as a way to reconcile conflicting duties. But nevertheless, the scandalous theme has made the play often banned, even as the climactic scene has become one of the great classics of both kabuki and Bunraku puppet theater.
Tamate Gozen has become the second wife of a great lord, Takayasu Saemon. He has two sons, Shuntokumaru and Jiromaru. Although Shuntokumaru is designated heir to the clan, Jiromaru plots to seize power instead. Suddenly Tamate Gozen confesses her love for Shuntokumaru. He flees the mansion now disfigured by a strange illness. Eventually all the parties to the drama come to the house of Tamate Gozen’s father, a priest named Gappo, where Shuntokumaru has taken refuge. In this tense scene, Tamate Gozen confesses her passion, Gappo is forced to kill his daughter and finally, all the secrets are revealed in the surprising conclusion.
A modern play created for Onoe Shoroku II. It dramatizes a tale of the priest Soshu-in and Shoe. It culminates in a kabuki staging of the spectacular Mizutori festival held in February at the Todai-ji Temple in Nara in which enormous lit torches are dragged through the temple to purify it and the crowds of believers standing outside.
- Tokaiya or Ikari-Tomomori by Shoroku at the National Thetre(2011.07.23)