Rakugo Laughing Fits 落語泣き笑い

This morning Somemaru needed to do some more recording for his book, so we planned to meet at the Hanjôtei–about a mile from my place–at 9 a.m. He trusted me to take his performance shamisen home with me last night and bring it this morning. This was an honor, yet quite a responsibility. I’ve heard that this particular shamisen is worth around $20,000USD, but it is most certainly priceless to Somemaru and his artistic school. I’m sure some of his pupils would have cried if they knew he sent this shamisen home with me…

There were too many people around at the Hanjôtei today for me to go on another “exploration,” so I enjoyed  the live music while reading a couple reference books that zenza use to look up stories, hanashika names, and spelling when filling out the neta-chô during shows.

These books are Rakugo jiten (The Rakugo Encyclopedia, Tôdai Rakugokai 1969) and Kamigata rakugoka meikan (The Kamigata Rakugo Storyteller Directory, Hanjôtei and Kamigata Rakugo Kyôkai [eds.] 2006, 2010).

We returned to Somemaru’s house in the afternoon for a couple rakugo lessons, for Somekichi and Someza. I wrote about Somekichi learning the story Yadoya gataki in a recent blog. Today was his third practice session. To my untrained ears it sounds like he is making good progress. According to Somemaru this is a very challenging story, and very long. Depending on the version, it can last as long as 45 minutes!

Somemaru can be a strict master, but he is also compassionate, as I witnessed once again today. For some reason Somekichi got caught up in a giggle fit that lasted about 15 minutes! Somemaru didn’t loose his temper or anything. In fact, he couldn’t help himself from joining in (to the point of tears at times) and letting the laughter run its course. I guess if hanashika can’t enjoy fun like this in their art, there’s no way they can expect their audiences to.

今朝は繁昌亭で、引き続き本のCDの収録があったので、9時に繁昌亭(僕のアパートから2キロくらい)で待ち合わせしました。昨日演奏用の三味線を持ち帰り、今朝繁昌亭まで運ぶという役目を、師匠が私に任せてくださいました。これはかなりの名誉だったけど、同時に大きな責任でした。この三味線は2百万円もの価値があると聞いたことがあります。しかし、師匠と林家一門にとってはプライスレスでしょう。この三味線を僕が持って帰ったということを、他のお弟子さんが知ったら心配で泣いてたかもしれません。笑

今日は、繁昌亭に人がたくさんいたので、この間みたいに冒険できなかったです。その代わりに寄席囃子を聴きながら、前座が根多帳を書く時に参考に使う楽屋においてある本、「落語辞典」と「上方落語家名鑑」を読んでいました。

昼から師匠の家に戻り、染吉さんと染左さんの噺のお稽古がありました。以前、染吉の「宿屋敵」のお稽古についてブログを書きましたが、今日は第三回でした。染丸師匠によるとこの噺はとても難しいし、とても長いそうです。場合によっては、45分かかるときもあります。 もちろん、師匠は厳しいときもあるんですが、とても思いやりのある方です。今日、それをまた改めて感じました。お稽古中に、なぜか、染吉さんが笑ってしまって、15分間くらい止められなかったんです。それに怒らず、逆にそのまま流して一緒に泣き笑いしてあげました。噺家さんが自分自身の芸を楽しむことができなかったら、お客様を楽しませることこともできないでしょう。

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