September 18, 1993 |
Led by 78-year-old Living National Treasure Baiko Onoe VII, the Grand Kabuki celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Japan America Theatre on Thursday with an unusually short and intimate program of dances. All three pieces featured opulent costumes that the dancers peeled away to reveal, at the last, robes of brilliantly intense scarlet. Layers of poetic allusion also peeled away in each piece to reveal a molten core--sometimes pure emotion, sometimes bravura technique.
September 14, 1993 |
For a quarter of a century, Baiko Onoe VII has been one of Japan's "living treasures," an officially certified master of the multiple arts of Kabuki and one of the best onnagata (performer of women's roles) in the all-male Kabuki. Yet, he says, he still hones his skills by practicing body movements, nude, before a mirror. "My father was a hyper-critical man. Even in the winter, we did rehearsals in the nude before a mirror.
September 12, 1993
The Grand Kabuki of Japan returns to the Japan America Theatre this week for seven performances that mark the troupe's last West Coast visit for an indefinite period. Domestic demands in Japan leave the Grand Kabuki little time to tour outside the country, according to Japan America Theatre officials. The only other U.S. visit planned by the troupe is an appearance at the Olympic Arts Festival in Atlanta in 1996. The Grand Kabuki's performances Thursday through Sept.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 20, 1993
When Westerners see signs of fundamental change in Japan, they often turn out to be disappointed at the glacial pace that follows. True, Japanese voters this week gave a resounding hai , or yes, to major political change. But they granted that mandate to no particular party. Thus the stage is set for a grand Kabuki at Nagatacho, the center of government, in Tokyo.
September 26, 1991 |
Surrounded by his followers, Jesus Christ appears wearing Kabuki whiteface and a vaguely hippie-style net shirt. To the sound of an electric guitar and Asian rhythm instruments, he steps gently across a row of wooden Japanese wagons and makes his way to the center of a stark, angled stage. As the musical story of Jesus' last seven days unfolds, the stage swells with incongruous images and sounds: geishas and apostles, parasols and crosses, gentle Japanese strings and honky-tonk piano.
September 22, 1991 |
Mikhail S. Gorbachev's highly touted "announcement" concerning Moscow's ties with Cuba was not so much an announcement as well-staged theater. There was almost nothing new in what he said. For well over a year now, the Soviets have been moving to place their economic ties with Cuba on a commercial basis. Gorbachev's Sept. 10 statement simply reaffirmed that economic relations will continue to move in that direction--with bilateral trade definitely continuing. Both Gorbachev and Boris N.
July 12, 1991 |
When it opened on Broadway in 1976, the lavish "Pacific Overtures" drew critical praise. To tell the story of the opening of Japan to the West, a culture clash that began with Commodore Matthew Perry's 1853 expedition, the Stephen Sondheim musical daringly utilized Japanese Kabuki dramatic techniques, including the use of a narrator and an all-male cast playing both sexes. All praise and daring aside, "Pacific Overtures" wound up running just six months.
July 5, 1990 |
The Grand Kabuki Theatre of Japan turned to two serious works of conflict and ethical tension Tuesday and Wednesday at the Japan America Theatre. The company had opened its Southern California appearances with comic works over the weekend in Orange County. Both works, "Kanjincho (The Subscription Scroll)" and "Osome Hisamatsu Ukina no Yomiuri" (subtitled "Osome no Yonyaku": Osome's Four Characters), provided expected--and lavishly fulfilled--virtuoso opportunities for the central characters.
July 2, 1990 |
There are several reasons to see the Grand Kabuki Theatre of Japan and three of the best are named Nakamura. They are Nakamura Kichiemon II, son of the late Matsumoto Koshiro VIII, grandson of the great Kichiemon I and current artistic director of the company; Nakamura Kotaro V, next in line as successor to the exceptional Bando Tamasaburo as an accomplished onnagata (specialist in women's roles), and the young up-and-coming Nakamura Kasho III.