Taishû engeki 大衆演劇


Today was a free day, so Aisome (#13 pupil [of 13]) and I accompanied Somemaru to the Meisei-za Theater in Momodani for a taishû engeki show featuring the troupe of Miyako Wakamaru. The play and the dance numbers were all great. For those who don’t know what taishû engeki is, it literally means theater for the masses, and some call it working-class kabuki. From my point of view as an American, it reminds me of good drag shows (though taishû engeki actors, predominantly male, play both roles superbly) and revue. Interaction between the actors and audience is key to the show’s success. I’ve seen especially popular actors receive over ¥1,000,000 during a 5-minute dance number, while those who are not so talented are close to ignored. Audiences seem to be made up, for the most, of women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. Watching these women is yet another fun aspect of taishû engeki. While pictures are technically not allowed, since all of the obachan (older women) were taking picture after picture, I followed suit today.





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