One of my favorite things about London is all the culture! Not that New York City suffered from a dearth of theater, but so much of what is produced in London is unique, and matches my tastes. I just love seeing the posters go up in the Tube to advertise something new!
Sadler’s Wells is a great venue in London that specializes in a lot of modern dance. On Saturday night we went to see a kabuki production of Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura (Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees), one of the most well-known takes in kabuki theatre. The main actor in the show was Ebizo Ichikawa XI, a superstar in Japan. (Seriously, women regularly faint in his presence!) Ebizo is the direct descendent of the 17th century acting dynasty, and has adopted the same name that his ancestors used on the stage.
The show itself was very, very different from anything I’ve seen before (which was to be expected). Kabuki can be described as “a highly stylized classical dance-drama”, but that doesn’t really convey the intensity of the makeup, the beauty of the movement, or the purity of the storytelling. I thought the expressiveness was gorgeous, even if I couldn’t appreciate the musical elements all that much. Having a simultaneous translation/explanation really helped a lot, and I would highly recommend a visit if you can get this feature. I’d love to go see kabuki again!