Kabuki Plays On-Stage: Villainy and Vengeance, 1773-1799 (Google eBook)
James R. Brandon, Samuel L. Leiter
University of Hawaii Press, 2002 - Drama - 410 pages
Kabuki Plays On Stage represents a monumental achievement in Japanese theatre studies, being the first collection of kabuki play translations to be published in twenty-five years. Fifty-one plays, published in four volumes, vividly trace kabuki's changing relations to Japanese society during the premodern era.
Volume 1 consists of thirteen plays that showcase early kabuki's scintillating and boisterous styles of performance and illustrates the contrasting dramatic techniques cultivated by actors in Edo (Tokyo) and Kamigata (Osaka and Tokyo). The twelve plays translated in Volume 2 cover a brief period, but one that saw important developments in kabuki architecture, acting, dance, and the manipulation of characters and themes.
As the series title indicates, the plays were translated to capture the vivacity of performances on stage. The translations, each accompanied by a thorough introduction that contextualizes the play, are based not only on published texts, but performance scripts and the study of the plays as they are performed in theatres today. Each volume is lavishly illustrated with rare woodblock prints in full color of Tokugawa- and Meiji-period productions as well as color and black-and-white photographs of contemporary performances.