CriticalDance Forum

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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sat Jun 02, 2001 11:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Kabuki

<B>Love, death and soy sauce</B> <P>A Japanese period soap opera ends with a Buddhist message - Shochiku Grand Kabuki<BR>By Jann Parry in The Observer. Also reviewed is the Royal Ballet Dream/Song of theEarth double bill.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Kabuki companies that have visited Britain in the past brought elaborate costumes and spectacular scenic effects. The Chikamatsu-za troupe, founded by Nakamura Ganjiro III 20 years ago, specialises in the domestic dramas written by Japan's Shakespeare, Chikamatsu Monzaemon (1653-1725). His canvas was the life of ordinary people, realistically portrayed, rather than extravagant fables about nobles, samurai and demons.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE> <P><A HREF=",6903,500387,00.html" TARGET=_blank><B>More...</B></A>

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sun Jun 03, 2001 10:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Kabuki

More reviews of the Kabuki at Sadler's Wells:<P><B>Love, death, farce and tragedy</B><P>CHIKAMATSU GRAND KABUKI at SADLER'S WELLS LONDON <BR> <BR>BY JOHN PERCIVAL for The Independent<P><BR><A HREF="" TARGET=_blank><B>Independent review</B></A><P>********************************************<P><B>Boys will be girls</B><P>The ancient magic of kabuki thrills The Times critic <P>BY ALLEN ROBERTSON for The Times <P><BR><A HREF=",,62-2001190668,00.html" TARGET=_blank><B>Times review</B></A><P>********************************************<P><BR><B>Unreal, but powerfully human</B><P>Ismene Brown in The Independent reviews, Kabuki: the Love Suicides at Sonezaki, by the Chikamatsu-za troupe from Japan<P><BR><A HREF="" TARGET=_blank><B>Telegraph review</B></A><BR>

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Mon Jun 04, 2001 11:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Kabuki

<B>Kabuki ­ at last, we Brits have got it taped</B> <P>By Jenny Gilbert in The Independent<P>Also reviewed is 'Amaretsu', which does not go down so well.<P><BR><A HREF="" TARGET=_blank><B>Jenny Gilbert's review</B></A>

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Wed Jun 06, 2001 5:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Kabuki

<B>Rare chance to savour a living treasure</B> <P>By CLEMENT CRISP in The Financial Times<P><BR> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>The place is Osaka. The year is 1703. A 19-year-old prostitute sits on the veranda of a tea-house, hiding her lover from the other women and their clients. The lover has been dishonoured, unjustly accused of theft. The girl, Ohatsu, extends her foot, and her lover slowly draws it across his throat. He intends, we must understand, that they should commit suicide. <P>The machinery of a Kabuki drama has drawn us to this moment, ritualistic, prodigious in intensity, absolutely foreign to our understanding, and absolutely communicative.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE> <P><BR><A HREF="" TARGET=_blank><B>More...</B></A><BR>

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Wed Jun 13, 2001 7:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Kabuki

Chikamatsu-za<P>In London we are at the start of a 1-year Japanese festival. Japanese fine art had a great impact at the end of the 19th C on European artists such as Vincent Van Gogh. In the 20th C, perhaps the greatest influence of this culture was in the film world, where the work of Kurosawa, Kobayashi, Ozu and others contributed to one of the strongest film traditions in the world. <P>So this rare visit to London and Salford of a leading Japanese Kabuki company promised much. The programme notes tell us that this dramatic tradition originates in dance, which perhaps explains why it was predominantly the London dance critics who reviewed the production. Kabuki has always been concerned with the portrayal of everyday characters as opposed to Noh, which focuses on the nobility. <P>One of the unusual features is that of the onnagata – men specializing in women’s roles. In this production we saw the principal actor, the 70 year old Nakamura Ganjirô III, play a 19 year old courtesan, with his son, Nakamura Kanjaku V, playing his lover. Not something you see everyday! It is remarkable to see the way that these actors portray the delicate movements of women. <P>In the London run, we saw two plays by Chikamatsu Monzaemon (1653-1725). the Kabuki tradition is actor focused, with writers having much less status. Thus although Shakespeare is mentioned in comparison to this author, I saw no sign of the subtlety and complexity that we associate with the Bard. Another indication of the emphasis on the actors is that although the musicians are listed, we are not told which are the singers and which are the instrumentalists. A shame as the music is strange and wonderful throughout. <P>The first work is a short comedy ‘Tsuri Onna’ with a story of a Lord and his servant visiting a shrine each seeking a bride. The Lord finds a veiled woman ho turns out to be a beautiful Princess, while the veiled woman that the servant declares his love for turns out to be ugly. Nakamura plays the servant and has fun with the part, sometimes reminding me of W. C. Fields. The best role is that of the ‘Ugly Woman’ (with attitude) played by another of Nakamura Ganjirô’s sons, Nakamura Senjaku III. <P>The second work, ‘Sonezaki Shinjû’, is a tragedy concerning a courtesan and her young lover, who is accused of being a thief. The play follows his path into unjust disgrace and despair at his loss of honour that results in the suicides of both the lovers. The playing is a mix of naturalistic humourous acting, operatic style and the extraordinarily stylized portrayal of the courtesan by Nakamura Ganjirô III. However it was the playing of the lover by Nakamura Kanjaku V that most impressed me as we see this jolly self confident young man driven to suicide by a false claim.<P>The second act in which the disgraced man hides with his lover and finally decides to kill himself dragged for me, but the final act which shows a stronger dance influence does have great dramatic power and beautiful movement by the two leads.<P>Overall, this was a valuable cultural experience, but left me slightly disappointed. However, as you can see above the London critics have raved about this production and as it moves on to Salford, those in the area should give it a try. For me films such as Kobayashi’s ‘The Human Condition’ and Ozu’s ‘Tokyo Story’ remain the pinnacles of the Japanese dramatic tradition. <BR><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited June 16, 2001).]

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Thu Apr 22, 2004 11:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Kabuki

I've consolidated two topics:

Soaring spectacle crowns classic kabuki triple bill

By REI SASAGUCHI in The Japan Times

He's known as the champion of Super Kabuki, but for his two-part summer program at the Kabukiza Theater in Tokyo this month, Ennosuke Ichikawa is staging regular-style productions of a new one-hour play, "Kaka Saiyuki," and "Shunkan," adapted from part of Chikamatsu Monzae- mon's 1719 bunraku play "Heike Nyogogashima," in the afternoon slot. The evenings, meanwhile, are given over to Ennosuke's four-hour production of "Sanmon Gosan no Kiri."


Finding a Spunky Maiden in an Accumulation of Details

Ganjiro Nakamura III, one of Japan's most revered Kabuki actors, came to town on Thursday night to dance a 20-minute solo about a spunky maiden who carries on despite a faithless lover.
<a href= target=_blank>More</a>

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Thu Apr 22, 2004 11:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Kabuki

Drama screams
In The Times Clare Brennan explains Japan’s theatre heritage

THE auditorium of the Kabuki-za in Tokyo is familiar in a 1930s cinema-plush way. The theatre’s audience is the standard matinee mix of ladies-who-lunch and grown-up children with their aged parents, but it is soon clear that the performances are not like anything else, anywhere else — then the spectators begin to shout at the stage.

click for more

Author:  ncgnet [ Mon May 24, 2004 1:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Kabuki

From Christine Temin in the Boston Globe:
Famed kabuki troupe offers a new look at an old form
Given Boston's longstanding cultural ties to Japan -- through the great Asian collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, among other things -- it's odd that a great kabuki troupe has never before appeared here.

That's being remedied this summer, thanks to the Japan Society of Boston, which is bringing Tokyo's famed Heisei Nakamura-za Theatre to town for a three-day, four-performance run at the Cutler Majestic Theatre July 8-10

Author:  ncgnet [ Fri Jul 02, 2004 5:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Kabuki

From Theodore Bale in the Boston Herald: Hub gets kooky with Kabuki
(I wonder who wrote that rather inappropriate headline....)
In celebration of the centennial of its founding, the Japan Society of Boston is bringing Tokyo’s legendary Heisei Nakamura-za Theatre to the Cutler Majestic Theatre for four Kabuki performances Thursday through Saturday. The large ensemble (55 cast and crew members) will present two Japanese dance theater classics, “Bo-shibari,” which means “tied to a pole,” and “Renjishi,” the lion dance.

Author:  ncgnet [ Fri Jul 09, 2004 6:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Kabuki

From Catherine Foster in the Boston Globe:
(which gives some insight into the "Kooky" headline in the Herald article)

Kabuki troupe gives tradition a light touch
Kabuki theater has been popular in Japan for nearly 400 years. But Boston is only now getting its first taste of it. And it’s a tiny one: the famed Heisei Nakamura-za Theatre is appearing at the Cutler Majestic through tomorrow.

The first piece last night was “Bo-Shibari” (“Tied to a Pole”), a slapstick comedy about two servants getting into their master’s sake stash despite his tying them up. With clever use of their hands, feet, and mouths, the pair quickly drink up the sake.

Author:  ncgnet [ Fri Jul 16, 2004 5:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Kabuki

The second part of Marcia Siegel's article in the Boston Phoenix is about the kabuki performance:
Classics as vaudeville - David Parker at Concord Academy, kabuki at the Majestic
THE JAPAN SOCIETY OF BOSTON brought the city’s first-ever performances of kabuki to the Majestic Theatre last weekend. A taste of kabuki anyway, and of course it left me longing for more.

Author:  kurinuku [ Thu Jul 29, 2004 3:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Kabuki

From Japan With Blood and Ceremony

The Village Voice
July 20, 2004

One of the things I’ve always cherished about Kabuki is its blend of extreme stylization of voice and formal moves with moments of quiet—a line very simply delivered, after a speech in which the actor’s voice quavers and slides virtuosically up and down pitches, can acquire heartbreaking power.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Mon Aug 02, 2004 5:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Kabuki

Thrilling Kabuki!
By Laura Shapiro for The New York Metro.

I saw Heisei Nakamura-za, a Kabuki theater company presenting an art form 400 years old.

click for more

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Mon Aug 02, 2004 5:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Kabuki

By Tobi Tobias for Arts Journal

In a temporary theatre in Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park designed to replicate a traditional venue for Kabuki performance, Japan’s Heisei Nakamura-za company condensed to three hours a play that takes a full day to unfold in its unabridged state. Natsumatsuri Naniwa Kagami (The Summer Festival: A Mirror of Osaka) encompasses domestic comedy and domestic tragedy, low humor and high melodrama, keen psychological observation and spectacular combat—all evoked via the vividly stylized means of an art form that’s been riveting audiences for over 400 years.

You may have to scroll dowm for this article

click for more

Author:  kurinuku [ Mon Mar 14, 2005 2:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Kabuki

Kabuki and the Bard meet

the Chicago Sun-Times

Nevertheless, for Sato, now 72, that childhood passion for Kabuki has never abated. And he has forged a long and distinguished career adapting that quintessential Japanese style to Western classics ranging from Shakespeare to the ancient Greeks. His newest production, "Kabuki Lady Macbeth" - with a script by Karen Sunde that reworks the play as a journey through the desires and fate of "the woman behind the man" seeking the throne...

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