"In April, I am going to play the part of
Kawachiya Yohee in Chikamatsu Monzaemon's Onnagoroshi Abura
no Jigoku (The Woman Killer and the Hell of Oil) as part of
a kamigata-style cast at Osaka's Shochiku-za Theatre, but
I still haven't really started preparing for the role yet.
Yohee is an extremely timid, weak human being. Nakamura Ganjiro's
uncle [a Living Human Treasure] is the one who has been teaching
me about the role. Despite the fact that Ganjiro's uncle has
reached the status and age that he has, he is still focused
on the future and always trying new things. Not only is he
a great actor, he also has a youthful spirit and way of thinking.
When we were performing in Russia, even though I am much younger,
he treated me as an equal. As they say, "A single performance
on the stage is worth 100 rehearsals." That's how important
the experience of going on in front of an audience is. Each
role has a life of its own, and each actor has to try and
embody the role, but even with the same group of performers
working together every day, when your condition changes, the
other actors react differently, and likewise, when their condition
changes, you react differently. Every role is difficult. I
don't especially think about trying to "act well."
The audience has been kind enough to come and see the performance,
so the only thing I try to give them is the same feeling I
had when I saw Tomijuro's uncle perform and was so impressed
that I thought, "I wish the curtain would never come
down." I think perhaps what makes each type of kabuki
attractive is the beauty of the ensemble in Edo-style kabuki
and the drama in kamigata-style kabuki. Personally, I prefer
the human drama in kamigata kabuki and that's what I'm hoping
to emphasize in the upcoming production."