I could resize that image, but I SHALL NOT.
‘Cos those up there are GOLD.
I think by the plural I should add a noun to that sentence but nah.
They are MY gold.
I would keep this going longer but no one believes it’s gold. I can feel it. So we’ll just go on to the part where I say they’re gold-colored thingies that fell from the ceiling of the theater I was in tonight.
What magical show gives you gold-colored thingies that fall from the ceiling? you ask, wide-eyed.
The magical Takizawa Kabuki gives you gold-colored thingies that fall from the ceiling. Also, teensy paper sakura petals, if you’re in the right part of the theater to catch those.
So yes! I haven’t mentioned their names yet, I think, but my favorite musical artists in Japan are Tackey & Tsubasa (that’s one of their earlier music videos where they’re cavorting around Hawaii being simultaneously ridiculous and too adorable to endure). And yes, Tackey is actually his name. Except it’s not. It’s a nickname fashioned from his last name, and it’s not pronounced “tacky” unless you want it to (the police force in charge of pronunciation misdemeanors are notoriously lazy).
So yes, Takizawa Hideaki is his full name. He’s half of the aforementioned duo, along with Imai Tsubasa. The two of them have known each other since they were thirteen, they’ve been a music duo since they were twenty, and they’re both thirty-two now. In a nutshell, Tsubasa is primarily a dancer with an emphasis on (anything to do with his beloved) Spain, and Takizawa leans more toward acting. So, during the period when the two of them are pursuing their solo projects, Tsubasa dances and Takizawa acts.
One of Takizawa’s continuing projects over the last several years since 2006 is called Takizawa Kabuki.
Basically, it’s a kabuki show. Less basically, it’s a kabuki performance that’s much, much easier to follow than genuine kabuki. Takizawa has perhaps the deepest and most respectful appreciation and love for his culture that I’ve ever seen in a person. Usually, when I’m thinking of people who embody Japanese culture, he’s one of the first to spring to mind; his partner Tsubasa, on the other hand, sometimes reminds me of a European or an American (Euro-American Japanese shapeshifter).
As you’d garner from the name of the show, Takizawa does a great deal to bring the performance to life. In Japanese theatre terms, he’s the zachou (座長), or star, of the show. He also has final call on the content, what to add, what to scrap, who he casts, and a bunch of tiny details that many people in the audience may not even notice. His standards for his performances are extremely high, however, and that’s strongly reflected in the shows he produces.
The first act is a collage of spectacles: giant reams of fabric spilling from the ceiling, each one emblazoned with its own Japanese character painted in elaborate calligraphy; Takizawa flying suspended by wire over the heads of the audience; a masked dance where, one by one, the masks whisk away with only the slightest twitch of Takizawa’s head; a segment wherein Takizawa dons the makeup of an onnagata while sitting onstage; a number of deeply amusing interactions that include asking the audience for money, and receiving gifts that the lucky (and/or fabulously rich) people in the front row have brought for the cast.
The second act is the famous story of Yoshitsune, which Takizawa knows forward and back both because 1) he loves history, and 2) he once played Yoshitsune over fifty+ episodes of a nationally acclaimed TV series.
During the intermission, because of the show’s length, the theater sells extremely fancy bento in the lobby. To have any hope of getting one, however, you have to reserve one before the show, then pick it up from the counter during intermission. Even in this, Takizawa has involvement. He chooses the food, the design, the wrapping, everything. The man is a brilliant stickler for detail.
He never stops striving to improve his performances. He makes frequent visits to Las Vegas looking for inspiration for his own shows and is constantly brainstorming ways to tweak the show’s elements without changing the original shape and style of the show. Kabuki has been constantly evolving over the last eight years, and every year he adds something(s) new. Last year, he added a segment where he beats the hell out of a taiko drum suspended upside down and shirtless.
See Takizawa shirtless.
The drumming upside down part is a very, very nice part of the show.
This year, to augment a new segment involving the Japanese equivalent of Robin Hood (based on another TV drama Takizawa starred in, earlier this year), Takizawa added a scene where, dressed as his robs-from-the-rich character, he throws gold over the audience.
Paper gold. Meh.
But I have to say, when it poured down from the ceiling, it wafted in clouds just like cherry blossom petals. The stage lights had it all shimmering and it landed in tiny mountains on the floor. In an interview, Takizawa said they’d run a test with 8,000 gold pieces, but when it was finished he said he felt it wasn’t enough yet, and added 2,000 more to the batch.
As you can tell from the pile I’ve collected above, there are a lot of those things. Normally I wouldn’t feel so greedy, and I try to give away some to the people in the stands who didn’t have an opportunity to get some – but this time no one was collecting them. Well. Five people. My friend pointed out that many people see the show multiple times and probably already had plenty at home.
Just like I do now.
Problem is, now I want a bed made of these things. And a sofa. And I’ll tile my room and bathroom and kitchen and put spotlights everywhere and become three shades weirder than I already am.
Aaand that’s where this mishmash of a review shall end, because why is it 1am.
Good night, folks!