Okay, that statement isn’t really true. The beloved Kabukiza Theater has re-opened after a huge renovation but Michiko didn’t really attend. She is a fictional character from my book, Bumbling Bea’. However, if she could, Michiko would be there along with the thousands of other lovers of Kabuki Theater. I bet she would be first in line!
I don’t know if you know this, but Kabuki Theater is a really old style of theater in Japan. It dates back to 1600s.
In the beginning, women played the roles. It was very popular (kind of like Shakespeare and his plays) and people of all walks of life attended. But many of the women who performed in the Kabuki were…shall we say, “ladies of the night” and the government thought that it was inappropriate for them to be such a public sensation.
The men took over the roles and that’s how it has been performed since then. Figures…
The stories dramatized through Kabuki were very elaborate (like fairy tales or myths) and included male and female characters. The men portrayed everything from dragons to women’s roles. You should see them! They are amazing.
So this “Michiko girl” as Beatrice first calls her– what’s the deal with her? Whenever Michiko is in a play, she tries to put Kabuki theater into the show. You might say she is obsessed with it! Why is she so crazy about it? Michiko wants to keep the family business alive.
Michiko’s uncle is a celebrated Onegata actor in the Kabuki. Traditionally, when someone performs Kabuki Theater they have inherited their part from a family member. Usually, Kabuki is passed from one family generation to the next. Except in Michiko’s family, there is no male in which to pass the art form. (It is at this point that Michiko would stand up and say, “I will play the part! I want to be a Kabuki actor!”)
Things are a little more complicated than that, however. Michiko and her mother argue a lot in the book. It isn’t for the usual reasons, though (like staying up late on a school night or going to the mall with friends).
They argue about BIG things. Michiko’s mother thinks performing in theater is frivolous and a waste of Michiko’s time. She wants Michiko to study more intellectual pursuits, like music and science. Michiko has two challenges: wanting to perform in a theater that doesn’t include women and trying to follow her own dreams and not her mother’s.
Before you think you know all about my book, I must inform you: Bumbling Bea isn’t just about Kabuki Theater. In fact, it is only one part of my book. Next I’ll tell you about Flag Dinners. Yes, you read that right. 🙂
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