I mostly went to see Yuhiden for Seto, Endo, and Zukki, and I was not disappointed. Zukki is such a great character actor. That man needs more roles! I wasn't prepared for what a completely wonderful papa Endo has become. Somehow, his real life as husband and father has ramped up his gravitas on stage to something like 1000%. Also, Ikeoka really shone as a villain and Shuto has an amazing ability to convey subtle emotion facially even deep into the audience.
Seto? He was everything anyone could hope for, never overacting, never underselling, hitting all the right notes in his acting all the time. He makes it seem so easy! The second time around watching, I could really see how he releases the stage to the others, pulling himself back while still extending his presence. Argh, it's so difficult to describe! But it was really like a prince surrounded by his lieutenants, someone who can handle himself, but who also knows it's the job of the others to protect him, so he lets them. When he fought, or spoke for that matter, it was to do what others couldn't. You could see how such a person would develop loyal followers by sheer force of his charisma.
So, what was Yuhiden about? As described at the official site
, it's set at the dawn of Japanese national mythic history, very loosely based on the Kojiki
. I have read several of the Chamberlain translated sections, and have yet to find anything that can be said to resemble what is in Yuhiden. However, the playwright wishes the audience to take it seriously as a possible beginning for Japan, with names changed (to protect the gods? ;D ). In short, the old king, Nagi no Ookimi, is desolate after the death of his wife and no longer properly governs. In fact, he even turns on his vassals. His heir, Prince Kairi, however, isn't interested in taking over the kingdom yet, wishing to explore the world around him. This sets events in motion as his loyal regent (Emiya, played by Endo) attempts to maintain the kingdom for 5 years while waiting for Kairi to return from his travels. Desperate to stave off invasion from Kyushu's infamous prince (Zukki's Madara), he breaks the betrothal to Kairi of his own daughter, Hinata, and gives her to Madara. Kairi's brother, Shuto's Tsudzuki, both concerned for Hinata and jealous of Kairi and how Kairi is so careless about his position, decides to try to reclaim Hinata and gain acknowledgment as heir. Meantime, Kairi has finally been stirred into action. Neither brother is in time to help Hinata, who against the wish of Madera, has been brutally murdered on her wedding day by the evil
Hiruko. Kairi will attempt to redeem this wrong by descending into hell to retrieve Hinata, but things don't go as planned....If you haven't already looked at mystical_powers pic spam entry, I urge you to go enjoy yourself amongst the pretty pretty pictures.
More pretty pictures at this