Karuwaza Dôrakutei 軽業動楽亭

I read on Somemaru’s blog yesterday that he will be performing for the next few days at the Dôrakutei, a small yose run by Katsura Zakoba. This is apparently Somemaru’s first time performing at this venue, and, since it was the first time I had heard of it, I decided to go for today’s show.

First, a little bit about the yose.

I heard today that it has been in operation for the past few years. If that is the case, this is one Kamigata rakugo’s best kept secrets. It may be because this is a “home-ground” of sorts for hanashika contracting with Beichô jimusho (i.e., members of the Katsura Beichô artistic school). I have hanashika friends in the Beichô ichimon, but I never heard about Dôrakutei. (No foreigners allowed perhaps?)

Dôrakutei is in the heart of Osaka shitamachi (traditional working-class neighborhood), just a short walk from Shinsekai, through Jan-jan Yokochô, and under the train tracks. Or, steps from Dôbutsuen-mae Station (subway, exit 1).

Dôrakutei is on the second floor of a rather new condominium complex (manshon). The yose was obviously originally a condo unit, but professionally remodeled to be a yose. It is surprisingly nice, and I suppose this speaks to the taste of Zakoba. It looks like it could fit an audience of 100 or so, perfect for rakugo. There is Katsura Beichô and Beichô ichimon memorabilia throughout the yose, including on stage behind the kôza, where a framed sheet of paper with Beichô’s writing — the word raku (ease, relax, enjoy) written several times — hangs. I think this may be the sheet on which Beichô practiced for the real product, which went to the Hanjôtei stage.

Dôrakutei is a great yose because it is small, and comfortable. It was a great to be in such an itimate space with talented performers today.

By the way, today’s lineup was Taizô, Jakugorô, Asakichi, <Naka iri> Koharudanji, and Somemaru.

Somemaru did a story that I have never heard him do before, Karuwaza kôshaku. This made me remember that Katsura Bunshi V performed this story once or twice when I was with him — but I could hardly comprehend it at the time. Today I understood it much better. I could see just how complex a story it is, and how much energy is needed on the part of the hanashika, no matter who s/he is.

Karuwaza kôshaku, a story about a pompous kôshaku storyteller blowing up in anger after repeatedly being muted (he can’t hear his own voice) by loud, neighboring show booths (misemono goya). The climax toward the end of the story and think-for-yourself punch line (kangae ochi) are wonderful. This story has been categorized as perhaps the busiest and noisiest of all stories in both Kamigata and Tokyo repertoires.

Today after Somemaru’s appearance, everybody in the audience looked thrilled with his big story. Afterward, I went to the dressing room to greet Somemaru, and he said, half-jokingly, the most stylish thing: “Well, I heard you were coming today, so I thought I would do a rare story for you.” Now that’s Somemaru for you. (Wow.)

Dôrakutei event info (external link in Japanese)







今日の出演者ですが、鯛蔵さん、雀五郎さん、あさ吉さん、枝女太師匠、<中入> 小春團治師匠、染丸師匠でした。






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