Contemporary kabuki “Zatoichi” Feb. 4–20

Ichikawa Ebizo
Ichikawa Ebizo

Ex Theatre Roppongi, Tokyo

At present going by the working title of “Zatoichi,” this will be the second “entertainment Kabuki” play produced by the leading Kabuki actor Ebizo Ichikawa following the success of his first so-called Roppongi Kabuki — in-demand scriptwriter/playwright Kankuro Kudo’s “Chikyu Nagegoro – Uchu no Aragoto” — staged at the same venue last year.

In that previous work, audiences in the popular Tokyo nightlife district were treated to a great show drawing on many of the colourful and physical elements of traditional Kabuki as Ebizo and fellow actor Shido Nakamura starred in a fantastical battle between “goody” Earthmen and “baddy” aliens.
This time, Ebizo has enlisted the multi-talented Japanese author, illustrator and actor Lily Franky to adapt Kan Shimozawa’s famous tale of a blind swordmaster named Zatoichi (played by Ebizo) as a 21st-century drama in which Shinobu Terajimam — who won Best Actress at the 2010 Berlin Film Festival — plays the heroine. With the controversial, internationally acclaimed film and theatre director Takeshi Miike at the helm, this looks set to be another talked-about Roppongi Kabuki hit.
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