April 14th, 2009

drinking bird

still enbujou

After Byakkotai, came the masks sequence, slightly shorter, with juniors twining and going up and down hanging cloths on the sides of the stage. Dark, change of costumes, and there is a row of bare chested juniors beating drums, the tops of which emitted sparks as they drummed. Then Takki came on wearing a vest and beat a larger drum. This was a very nice rythmic new piece, very lively.  After this came the Sha la la and Mugen no Hane singing.

The theater goes pretty dark, and Takki appears, walks to the nanamichi, where he sits in a director`s chair, hoding a camera he trains on the audience. He says a few words (didn`t understand) then something like "let`s start". On the screen at the back you see Machi alone in a theater, who starts tellling some scary story. Then Takki is driving a car, with Totsu, Kawai, etc. behind. They enter a tunnel, driving along, suddenly a noise like a crash. Stops the car, goes out, sees nothing, looks under the car, and you glimpse some shape rising off the road behind him. He gets back in, drives, they laugh, new crash, new stop. This time there is actually a ghost behind him as he prepares to get back in the car. Go on, laugh, a little less, and then new crash noise, scary ghosts gesture on the windshield, and ...you see the car from above, it has stopped at the edge of a precipice. Then Machi again says a few words in a lugubrious tone. It was fairly scary.

Then there is the kabuki make up session, with the girls/juniors singing and dancing With Love. This is truly a lovely sequence. One keeps being distracted from admiring Takki to being delighted by the "girls". And the little comedy about revealing they are boys is done well and quite funny. Then the stage goes dark, and you see on the screen a video following Takki through the basement to the trap door, and he emerges on the hanamichi. He starts doing the various dances, like the heron dance  and others, with the finale the dance with that huge red wig and the full cast around him..

This was followed by Chushingura, and the running about with swords, and that dangerous stunt from the platform. It is a very full first act. Then we had intermission, during which I treated myself to the Enbujou special sakura ice cream, mmmmm!

I will put in one last entry about the second act (Yoshitsune) next time I can get to a computer. Then i plan to say a little about my visit to Japan and post some photos.