Continued from my Act 1 report
Takizawa Film: Prologue to Masakado
This year’s narration was by Nikki-san. I could recognise his voice straightaway! Couldn’t tell who’s the actor coz his face wasn’t shown clearly. Actually this year’s short film wasn’t scary to me at all. The scariest is still the one that was shown in Takizawa Enbujo 2009, where Takki and Luckys (Kitayama, Fujigaya, Tottsu and Kawai) traveled through the tunnel, narration by Matchy-san. If only that one could be kept on DVD…
① Masadako must die ~ Assasination of Yukihira
Taroumaru stood on the stage, and took the katana blade, many people running around behind him. The character of Taroumaru this year wasn’t a major one, and for all shows I watched, 3 times the role was played by Kishi Yuta, and once (on 4/10 day show) it was played by Inoue Mizuki.
Like last year, Masakado appeared back facing us, with a fire burning in the background, while many other characters (Yukihira, Seimei, the Emperor, Hanzou, etc) shouted “Masakado must die!”. Then Yukihira’s kerai, Kanemori, got killed by Masakado. Yukihira also turned coward at the end and got killed by Masakado.
Many people wanted Masakado’s head, but the moment they got near him, they became afraid and ran away. Masakado asked timid Taroumaru about the katana he’s holding. He let Taroumaru off, and Sutejuu (this year played by Nikaido from Kis-my-ft2) said aloud that it was rare of the ruthless Masakado to do so.
Saburou and Gorou appeared at the top platform and called their master… Masakado walked up the steps, and Taroumaru timidly walked off stage. More soldiers tried to attack Masakado, but were scared off by his presence.
② Burn and Attack
Hanzou and his two partners (Kisumai members) went around killing the innocent villagers. This year there were extra characters, a young master played by Senga, and his three followers (I think Sanada and Nozawa from MSM, and Yamamoto from TheyBudou). Hanzou killed his ex-fellow village mates including Watanabe from MSM. The 4 new characters just looked on as Hanzou and his men went on a killing spree.
The stage blacked out, and Masakado was on the left side stage while Hidesato (this year played by Koshioka) was on the right side stage. They talked aloud to each other – same as last year.
③ Saburou and Gorou of Toyoda Village
When the lights came back on stage, Sutejuu was sitting on some steps on the left, and Saburou and Gorou were on the right. Same as last year, Masakado-sama walked in with a bundle of cloth and a bottle of wine. He threw the cloth on the ground, which revealed Kanemori’s head. I loved how Masakado so kakkoii-ly drank from the bottle.
Masakado walked to the front of the stage, and said “You badly want to see me die, don’t you?”. Hidesato then came on stage and it was the same scene as last year where Masakado and Hidesato stood back to back – Hidesato saying they have same dream but different paths.
Btw I thought Nikaido was good as Sutejuu. The way he projected his voice etc was very natural. And there’s a bit of resemblance in expression and mannerism to Kawai’s. Koshioka was natural as Hidesato too. Somehow the way he spoke also resembled Tottsu’s. Just that perhaps expression-wise, I felt that Tottsu was better.
④ Assasin, and the 7 shadow warriors
Similar to last year, but seems like this year there were even more Masakado shadow warriors lol! The way Hanzou almost went mad trying to slay all the Masakados that walked toward him… reminded me a bit of the zombie shows hehe. I counted like about 26 shadows in all lol… And the real Takki walked in along the left aisle…. then finally he walked to the front stage and descended there (with some minimal lighting shone on him from the top — kakkoii!). Sutejuu said on the side… “Is that you, Masakado-sama? Or is that only a shadow?”
The stage lit up again with Jidan (we now knew the name of Senga’s role) and his followers. Jidan sat on the steps on the right, deep in thought. He asked Yamamoto’s character (not sure his name) where he could find Masakado. He then said out loud, “Masakado, when will we meet?”
⑥ Evil Spirit and Onmyoudou (the way of Yin and Yang)
Same as last year, Seimei did his ‘ritual-like’ thing while Masakado walked slowly on the raised platform with many men in black behind him. Hidesato was brought on stage and tortured by the men. He told Masakado not to waste his life for him. Seimei and his followers got scared off stage, and Hidesato asked to be killed by Masakado (before the Emperor kills him). With a “gomen”, Masakado slashed at Hidesato.
Again, the bright lights shone at the audience at 1st floor.
When the lights came back on stage, Hanzou’s two friends were chatting happily about what will happen to their money should they die. Hanzou was frustrated about not being able to kill the real Masakado. He told them that his money should go to his sister should he die. He then said that Masakado cannot become king, coz he has killed too many people.
Sutejuu felt that perhaps he should change his name, and he was suggesting names like ‘suteki’, ‘suteoku’, ‘sutego’, ‘suteo’, etc… when the music played and a huge shadow of Masakado appeared on the right of the screen. (Btw, I think the screen was slightly shifted during one of the shows I went.) Anyway, Sutejuu went over to the right and knelt down to the shadow… while the real Masakado-sama walked out from the left side.
On 4/8, it went something like this (please pardon my translation~):
M: Over here, you baka!
M: Over here!
S: Eh…Why do you talk like that? Chibi (shortie)!
M: Oi! What did you just say?
M: You’re right!! *lol*
*Sutejuu moves close to Masakado*
M: You’re too close!! *pushes Sutejuu away*
S: You’re strong!
M: Sit down. Okay, what did you want to say?
S: I’m good at monomane (imitating other people).
M: Same as last year na. This is a troublesome time of the show. Ok, if you want to do it. Hurry.
S: I’ve thought about it, please listen… *does monomane in a weird mumbling-talking* nihon–
M: Who are you?
S: Please listen till the end *continues to do monomane* nihon…(mumbling-talking)… Takizawa Hideaki!
M: Wait! Who are you?
S: You don’t know?
M: I don’t know.
S: It’s alright if you don’t know.
M: Wait!!! (his expression was so cute~) Oi! You are a mess! Just who are you?!
S: I’m…. *continues to do monomane*~ Anyway, today —
M: Wait!! (kawaii~^^)
S: Anyway, I heard a rumour today, that some girl in the capital likes you.
M: *softly* What’s this about? Iya, I don’t know… *loudly* Hey! What is this turning into?
S: What did you do?
S: What did you do?
M: Well, chotto ne…
M: I DON’T KNOW!!! What is this?… *softly* Well… we held hands a bit…
M: What are you talking about!! It’s a mess!! Everything you’ve been saying isn’t making sense!!
S: I’m sorry, but… *stands up* I’m REALLY NERVOUS!! *ROFL*
M: I guess we don’t have a choice then~ *lol*
Masakado vs Sutejuu was really funny during the adlibs every day. On 4/9 I think, Nikaido forgot his lines, and Masakado stood up and kicked him while saying, “You forgot your lines?!!”
During the day show of 4/10, instead of walking towards Sutejuu and scolding him baka, Masakado-sama turned towards the curtains and sobbed into it!!!! LOL!!
And during the night show of 4/10, it went something like this (again, disclaimer on my translation):
M: Over here, you bakayarou kusogaki!
S: ‘bakayarou’ is fine with me, but the word after that…?
S: I’m already 20 years old you know, OJISAN!
M: . . . hai.
Btw, kusogaki is like “damn kid” and “ojisan” means middle-aged man. This part was always so fun to watch, and I looked forward to this corner everyday :)
⑧ Masakado, defeated by the blade of vengence
The Emperor announced the huge reward on Masakado’s head. And Masakado asked his kerais what they will do. Saburou decided to switch sides and left, while Goro decided not to take any side and watch what will happen. Taroumaru wanted to fight, but Masakado told him to run away, create a new country and be the king.
Then it was the final battle, which included the 4D-flying similar to last year. Masakado killed Saburou, and fought with Hanzou. Sutejuu fought bravely, as himself and as Masakado’s shadow, before being defeated.
Jidan came and helped – “Masakado should live a little longer”, but finally he got slayed and laid on the ground. Then it was the final of final battle between Masakado and Hanzou (with only Jidan lying in the background).
This year, this one-on-one fight was really kakkoii — the way they ‘killed’ each other was more dramatic with their raw shouting voices… when they jammed the blades into each other. The fight took place at the front stage. Masakado was ‘killed’ by Hanzou at first… then he got up, and slashed Hanzou, killing him. Hanzou descended down the front stage.
⇒「My Dream 〜永遠〜」
Then it was a long Jidan vs Masakado scene. Jidan was on the verge of death, but he cried and confessed that he was the son of Fujiwara Hidesato, and that he was there when his dad was killed. He wanted to be killed by the same hand that killed his dad, so he pleaded with Masakado to kill him.
It started snowing, but before his dream was fulfilled, Jidan died.
Masakado walked towards Jidan, the beautiful song “My Dream” played. And Masakado said that “Taroumaru will create a new country…” and that “a normal country is enough…” then he fell onto Jidan, and the huge avalanche of snow fell onto the both of them. The song continued playing while the curtains closed down slowly, but the difference this year was — just before the curtains hit the stage, Masakado started moving and getting up slowly…
I liked the ending this year. To me, it showed a glimmer of hope.
⑨ Curtain Call
We clapped in the dark until Takki’s narration played. He talked about the butai, the ancient tales and heroes, etc… And then the curtains raised, and Takki appeared in red.
On other days, he just introduced the song that he wanted to sing to end the show, but on 4/8 (opening show), he spoke about the earthquake. Again, the main points that I caught (pardon my translation~):
Thank you for coming to Takizawa Kabuki today. It’s been a while here at Nissay Theatre. The tough days will continue from now, but I want to try my best while treasuring each and every show.
Japan will continue to be in a difficult situation. At the time (of the earthquake), we were in the midst of rehearsals, and it had to be halted for about 2 weeks. We didn’t know what to do, it was a worrying time, but because of this, all of us staff and cast felt that we must work even harder, and decided we should go on with the show.
What we can do now is to believe in the power of the performing arts, and through this power, convey our messages and feelings to everyone. Over the next two months, we will do our best, for the sake of everyone here as well as the victims of the disaster. Thank you very much for coming today.
And then, the intro of “With Love” played. This is really such a beautiful song, and as I mentioned time and again, no Kabuki is complete without this song ne.
At the beginning of the song, there were 3 photos of Takki shown on the background screen. He was holding the camera, taking photos, wearing a white t-shirt. It was hard trying to concentrate on both Takki on the background screen, and the real Takki singing on the stage…
One by one, and group by group, the Jrs came on stage and danced, and their photos (taken by Takki) were flashed on the screen behind, most of them doing the ‘peace’ sign :) The last chorus was when everyone did the sign language together. I did the hand signs as well – only for the last show hehe~
And finally, at the end of the song, there was Takki’s self-taken photo on the screen!! KYAA!!!! His left hand was holding the camera above him, and this right hand doing the “peace” sign, looking up at the camera with a smile~~ honto kawaii!!!! In that photo, he was wearing the red jacket as well. *sobs* I wish I can see that pic again~~
They formed the “LOVE” this year too, but there was no heart-shape. Takki was standing at the bottom of the “V”, I think. Then they walked forward towards us and bowed to all 3 sides. And for all the shows I attended, we gave them a standing ovation :)
The curtains closed, and we could still hear the team shouting from behind the closed curtains! It’s something that I felt was really great about Takizawa Kabuki. Seems like they did it after every show, without fail.
Curtain Call #2 (only on 4/8)
On 4/8, we didn’t stop clapping, and finally Takki walked out on to the stage alone~~ Kyaaaaaa!! And he said something like this (again, sorry if my translation isn’t accurate):
Thank you, minasan, for coming today. We owe it to everyone, that we were able to come back to this theatre again. This year, there are again 50 males in the production. Instead of ABC, we have Kisumai members. It’s been a while since I worked with them so it felt fresh.
And Yaracchi, who is my douki (joined the jimusho at the same time), agreed to take part in this production again. Our relationship is such that, we have this mysterious understanding of each other, even without actual spoken words. In any case, with the power from the other cast too, we will try our best till the end of the shows. We hope everyone will continue to support us.
It was frustrating and there were feelings of sadness, and honestly we didn’t know what to do. The theme this time is rather heavy, especially in the 2nd act. But after numerous discussions with the staff and everyone, we felt that there are definitely people out there who were waiting for this, and — (we interrupted him with our applause here) — even if the situation is bad now, we feel that the first thing we have to do is to stand strong ourselves.
This time, I think there are many people who might not be able to make it here because of the disaster… but what we can do now is to continue to perform, and look ahead, so that those people can make it here one day. We will do our best till the end of the shows. Thank you once again, and let’s meet again.
Can’t remember exactly what pose it was… but I remember just before Takki disappeared behind the curtains, he did a funny pose and made us all laugh! I love him for being able to do such a simple thing that sets his fans at ease.
Although I’d just seen him a week ago at Yokohama Arena, somehow it’s like a different Takki. I don’t know how to describe it but there was this special feeling I had when he walked out on the red carpet at the beginning of that first show… and at the end, when he stood there on stage talking to us in his deep and yasashii voice, I felt really relieved, and that it was worth making the trip… And right after Takki disappeared backstage, we heard the ‘cat calls’ and shouts coming from behind the curtains again! :)
I’m sorry, this is a rather rushed report. Most of Act 2 was similar to last year, so I’ve skipped a lot of it.
There’s still a week more to go before senshuuraku. I read that during the curtain call yesterday, there was a minor earthquake, but the show ended safely. I hope that senshuuraku will come and end smoothly, and all the cast and crew and everyone in Japan will be safe.
Now that Kakumei DVD is going to be released, I’m thinking of trying to refresh my memory and continue with my Act 2 report… not sure if I can make it or not lol~ At the moment, I only have msn connection in office so I’m practically cut off from the fandom in the day lol. My evenings and weekends have become more precious~