Kabuki and the Pandemic *RERUN
As with live performance worldwide, COVID-19 has affected kabuki. Actors Kataoka Ainosuke and Nakamura Kazutaro talk about the difficulties and reveal some creative solutions. In the first performance after Kabukiza reopened, the fierce lions dance as if to drive away COVID-19.
In the first half of "Renjishi," two performers with hand puppets of lion heads tell the story of how a parent lion trains his son to be tough and powerful. Note that the musicians are wearing masks to prevent spreading the virus.
In the second half of "Renjishi," the actors become the lion spirits and throw the hair of their manes fiercely. Kataoka Ainosuke and Nakamura Kazutaro both felt like they were clearing away all the frustration from not being on stage. And they felt like they were driving away the coronavirus too.
During the time when stage performances of kabuki were not possible, Nakamura Kazutaro pioneered original kabuki pieces that appeared online.
Sometimes even classical kabuki plays are related to epidemics. "The Dance of the Earth Spider" shows how the earth spider makes the demon-quelling samurai Yorimitsu ill. Some think that this illness is supposed to be malaria.