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.

今日は一日中空いていたので、師匠と愛染さん(13番弟子)と3人で桃谷にある明生座で大衆演劇を見に行きました。座長は都若丸でした。芝居もショーもとても素敵でした。大衆演劇をご存知ない方に、労働者階級の歌舞伎とも呼ばれ、皆のための演劇です。アメリカ人である僕から見て、ハイレベルな女装(しかし、大衆演劇の役者は男女役両方上手く演じます)、またはレビューにも似ています。役者と客のふれ合いはとても大事です。大人気役者が5分の踊りで百万円以上をもらっている姿までも見た事があります。あまり上手くない役者はほとんど無視されます。大衆演劇の客はほとんど40代、50代、60代のおばさんです。彼女たちを見るのはまた大衆演劇の楽しいところの一つです。写真は禁止されていますが、おばさんたちは写真ばっかり撮っていたので、僕も数枚撮ってしまいました。

 

 

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