Kabuki star Ichikawa Ebizo XI will be returning to London in June to perform ‘‘Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura’’ (Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees) at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre. It’s the second time the production has been seen in the UK, the first being in 2006. This run will be from June 4th to the 15th.
‘‘I want the audience to enjoy watching the ‘aragoto’ (exaggerated acting) and the ‘keren’ (eye-catching feats) and feel the pure love of children for their parents,’’
He will be taking on the dual role of a samurai in the 12th century and a fox turning into the warrior. Originally written in 1747 for the jōruri puppet theatre by Takeda Izumo II, Miyoshi Shōraku and Namiki Senryū I, it was adapted to kabuki the following year.
The play is derived from the sekai of the Heike Monogatari, a classical epic which details the rise and fall of the Taira clan of samurai. The latter portions describe the eventual defeat of the Taira in the Genpei War (1180-85), at the hands of the Minamoto clan, led by Minamoto no Yoshitsune, the title character of this play.
The play returns to Japan in August and will run at Tokyo’s Shinbashi Enbujyo theater and will then move on to Kyoto’s Minami-za theater in September.