Thursday, 25 September 2014

Ennosuke III: Kabuki Actor [1984]

This 35-minute documentary film is about Ennosuke Ichikawa, aka Ennosuke III, the third in a line of great Kabuki actors in Japan. Posted on December 9, 2013, Ennosuke's 74th birthday. We see him in the course of preparing for two major theatrical productions. The first is the 1979 revival of "Date no Juyaku," a five-hour play in which Ennosuke plays ten roles, both male and female, and has to switch back and forth, often in the middle of a scene! We also see him prepare a rarely performed classic play that's ten hours long and has only been revived in his lifetime by an amateur group in a rural village. Ennosuke travels there to consult with the amateurs and even recruits some of them to join his production in Tokyo. He tries to find ways to shorten the play and make it more accessible to modern audiences by including filmed segments. It's a fascinating process to watch. I was unable to determine the spelling of the title of this play, but a helpful viewer posted a comment below that identifies the title as: Oushuu Adachigahara, or: 奥州安達原. This film is narrated in English and was made by NHK.

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