Sunday, July 02, 2017

Kabuki at a temporary theater in the Nagoya Castle grounds

The Heisei Nakamura-za, the most renowned troupe of kabuki performers, came back to the Nagoya Castle grounds for the first time in 8 years!
Tickets were quickly sold out.

That just goes to show how people have been waiting for their next performance at a temporary theater, especially after the troupe had lost their main actor to cancer. His name was Kanzaburo Nakamura XVIII, and he was just 58 years old at his death. He put his all his energy into revitalizing the traditional atmosphere which a temporary theater brings to an audience; just the way kabuki used to be.

Unlike many modern kabuki theaters with advanced technologies, this type of theater is a temporary one, and after a run, it will be taken away. This was common in the olden days when a troupe visited rural towns and villages for a performance.

In general, a temporary theater is small but it has an advantage! You find yourself much closer to the stage. Your eyes meet your favorite actor's eyes when he stops on stage for an exaggerated, dramatic pose. It is very particular in kabuki performance.

Kabuki has a very unique style of stage performance, and has a long history of more than 400 years. Historical stories based on the era of the samurai warriors were performed by men-only troupes (they take the women's roles as well). The actors grow up and are trained in notable families of kabuki performers, as it has always been over the generations.

Dynamic stage settings and colorful, traditional costumes are eye-catching. The style of performance is elaborate and bold with lots of motion and sound. Kabuki actors, with their strong attachment toward Japanese traditional arts, have been entertaining people for centuries.

Now the Heisei Nakamura-za troupe is back again with Kanzaburo's two adult sons following in their father's footsteps. That day, in the temporary theater in the Nagoya castle grounds, the whole audience gave a big round of applause for the passionate kabuki performance.

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