Graph Talk Special: Snow Troupe’s Elisabeth at the Grand Theater “The Odd Ties Between Death and the Royal Family”
(Ichiro Maki x Takane Fubuki x Kouju Tatsuki x Shu Michiru x Hanafusa Mari)
from Kouju Tatsuki Memorial Book (originally published in GRAPH 04/1996)
Ichiro: Even though you’ve seen it everyday, you always said you never get tired of it, Taatan, but I thought you saw it so much again and again every day at practice that you really must get tired of it. But the truth is you ''didn’t'' get tired of it (laughs).
Kouju: That’s right. I- The first day of dress rehearsals, I thought I was going to cry during the prologue, I was so moved.
Ichiro: During that scene I stand alone in the dark and listen to everyone singing the chorus, with the soloists here and there singing out their different lines, and you can hear it all fall together. Every day I listen to it from the back, and I’m moved, and sometimes I sing along.
Kouju: After Ishi-chan (Todoroki) says “Death”, and you come appearing out of nowhere, Ichiro-san, that’s moving too.
Takane: The lighting is also very beautiful.
Ichiro: In the beginning the feathers were heavy, and I wasn’t sure if I was holding a cross or what, and as I made my entrance I was wondering what on earth they were going for. And then after the dress rehearsal everyone said how beautiful it was, and I thought, “Eh, really? I’m so glad!” (laughs). I thought I could keep going after everyone gave me that one word.
Takane: I love that other part as well. Where Franz can’t open Elisabeth’s door to get back in. His shoulders fall heartbrokenly, and bam, the violet illumination hits him.
Ichiro: When I appear in that scene, it’s first holding out my hand, and with a whiff putting out the candle flame. But really at the same time my other hand is flipping a switch.
Kouju: You’re the one who actually turns them off? I didn’t know that.
Ichiro: Flipping that switch actually, pop, changes the illumination to violet, but there was one time that my hand slipped and the timing was off. After that the lighting-man talked to me because he was worried that I wouldn’t reliably change the lighting, but isn’t that one small movement really converted by the lighting and props to perfection?
Takane: It is, it is. ---
Ichiro: But no matter how much I adore this show, I can’t do it perfectly. It makes me really sad… (laughs).
Kouju: For me too, when I do the scenes with you, although I have everything straight in my head, the wrong words come out of my mouth, and I think to myself, “I’ve done it aga~in!” (laughs)
Kouju: For that moment when I looked at your face, there was a wonderful mood at last, but then I thought about being pulled back to reality, and that’s all that stuck in my head as I died until I’d been lowered all the way to the floor… (laughs).
Ichiro: For that moment as I lowered you, I say “I’m soo~rry” in a tearful voice (laughs). In such a cheerless role like this, it’s hard not to make little blunders like that. Earlier there was a moment when Hana (Hanafusa)’s voice upset me as well (laughs).
Hanafusa: You mean during “Watashi dake ni” (laughs).
Ichiro: I told myself that at least my face had to remain unchanged, and fought as hard as I could. As the sweat dripped down I wondered, “Why do I have to be so cruel to her?” (laughs).
Hanafusa: Because the real Death is desperate (laughs).
Takane: Well then, what about for that one second when he’s upset, falling with a “bang”?
Hanafusa: That would be too embarrassing to do (laughs).
Takane: But really, don’t you feel that everyone who is performing in this show has been changed? The modern people seem to have reached a good understanding of the difficult lives they had.
Kouju: But really, the people then were much more amazing.
Takane: (To Shu) People who’ll protect the Hapsburg family obstinately (laughs).
Takane: Making your son into an emperor who holds on to only shouldering the weight of 600 years of history, although he risks his life. Raised so relentlessly that she would go so far as to whip him.
Shu: It seems she led a life of waking at 3 am, and starting her official duties at 4.
Takane: Franz also went to bed at 11 and woke up at 5 am to start his duties. Until he died, surprisingly even as an old man he continued (laughs). He was an absolutely responsible man. What on earth did he do for fun? What a sad life… (laughs).
Ichiro: But I think he enjoyed doing those things; he must have. By the way, Rudolph is a good role too. Taatan isn’t in the first act, but people tell me that once they see the second act they understand why.
Kouju: The fans as well. Rather than writing it off, they’re very satisfied, they say.
Takane: You can stand out without effort (laughs).
Kouju: Well, I don’t think I can do that.
Takane: “I’ll come in at a good moment” (laughs). At the end.
Kouju: My classmates often tell me they’d like to switch for a day. “We’ve got your part down perfectly,” they say (laughs).