April 24th, 2009

drinking bird

Second act

Time to finish up my short review of Enbujou.

The second act, about Yoshitsune, is almost unchanged from 2008, so there is not that much for me to say about it. However, it was my first time seeing it live, and I was even more enthused by parts of it in the theater than on the Dvd.

The "coming to life" of Yoshitomo is eerie and seemed more significant. It made the scene impressive, a bit like Hamlet's ghost. Later on, the passage at the Nyoi crossing where Benkei beats Yoshitsune was very moving and anguishing. You felt the worry about the risk of discovery, the pain of the blows, both the physical one of the victim and the moral one of the faithful vassal giving them.

I found the relaxed interval where Tono comes on the stage with his marshmallows most enjoyable. There is a short exchange with one of the spectators whom he tosses the bag to, and the "vassals" come investigate. He does all those funny shadows while Benkei and Saburo are bickering, seems to be biding his time and enjoying himself until they remember his presence. It brings needed relaxation to this very tense 2nd act.

Of course I knew what to expect, yet Saburo and Benkei had been so appealing that their deaths are truly sad. Then the rain starts on stage, Yoshitsune keeps fighting until suicide is the only way out. Although I have watched the taiga drama about 3 times, and the Dvd a couple, I still had a knot in my throat at the end. Takki is so intense you feel the tragedy every time.

As a finale, so as not to send you home weeping, Takki and the cast performed With Love. That song is one of my very favorites. It has even displaced the instrumental Ki.se.ki. on my list.