Heisei Nakamura-za | © Shochiku

The Heisei Nakamura-za company, which made its North American debut in a critically acclaimed and sold-out run during Lincoln Center Festival 2004, was founded by the illustrious Kanzaburo XVIII, the late patriarch of the Nakamura family—a veritable Kabuki dynasty in Japan with an unbroken line of actors and innovators reaching back to the 17th century. Kanzaburo’s legacy of encapsulating Kabuki’s centuries-old heritage with humor and contemporary references continues to live today in a company bursting with energy and joyously led by his two sons who are both accomplished and versatile young stage, film, and television actors: Nakamura Kankuro VI and Nakamura Shichinosuke II.

For its Lincoln Center Festival engagement, the company has revived a rarely performed 19th-century ghost story, Kaidan Chibusa no Enoki (The Ghost Tale of the Wet Nurse Tree), about the murder of an artist by a handsome samurai who desires the artist’s wife. Nakamura Shido II, who joins the company to perform at the Festival for the first time, plays the villainous samurai; the beautiful wife is played by Shichinosuke II. In a veritable acting tour de force, Kankuro VI plays three devilishly difficult roles—including the artist, one of the key central figures—with lightning-fast transformations, changing from one to another, sometimes within the same scene. Running the emotional gamut from drama to uproarious slapstick comedy, and culminating in a thrilling fight-to-the-death beneath a waterfall, this is Kabuki theater at its most engaging.

Open a door on Japanese culture and the art of Kabuki by visiting the Japanese Artisan Village located on Lincoln Center’s Josie Robertson Plaza just outside David H. Koch Theater. Each booth specializes in traditional handicrafts ranging from wood-fired pottery and textiles to delicately crafted dolls and kanzashi (hair ornaments). Daily schedule will be listed at a later date.

“Who knew that Kabuki could be a guilty pleasure?”

—New York Times

This performance is approximately two hours and 45 minutes with one intermission.

Kaidan Chibusa no Enoki

Heisei Nakamura-za

July 7–12

Performed in Japanese with English synopsis via a headset.

Water is a component of this production. Patrons seated in the first three rows will get wet at the end of the performance. Complimentary ponchos will be provided.

Rose Theater

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