Photo is of Miyako Wakamaru greeting his guests by the genkan of the Mokubakan Gekijo after his peformance.|
The 木馬館大眾劇場 Mokubakan Gekijo, next to the 淺草寺 Sensoji, Kannon Temple, in Asakusa, Tokyo, is a wonderful people's theater that stages variety shows, manzai, jugglers, magicians, folk singers and other entertainments. A year ago on New Year's Eve the show was mostly amateurs singing and dancing. But on Friday night, March 30, 2007 there was a Japanese musical put on by the singer-dancer Miyako Wakamaru and his troup. Great energetic Japanese dances with Kabuki like pauses, ending with the entire cast doing Japanese style break dancing, all in kimono!
The audience were all middle aged Japanese, both men and women, very energetic and boisterous in their support of the dancers. There was much bantering and interaction between the performers and the audience, including money gifts in envelopes that the audience members tucked into Wakamaru's kimono as he paused in the middle a dance to receive them. After the performance, Wakamaru and his entire cast were waiting by the genkan and along the road outside, to say thanks and good night to ALL the audience!
What a great surprise to find this vibrant people's theater in super-modern Tokyo! The feeling was like it must have been at Kabuki, hundreds of years ago, before it became self-concious and upscale and expensive. Wakamaru and his troup preform around the Kanto area, and perhaps other places as well. His website is: www.miyako-wakamaru.com/