Misa: thank you very much for requesting me for your sayonara talk.
Wao: No, no. I always thought –since long ago– that I wanted to appear in the same production as you, Maya-san (Misa). But as an underclassman I never had the chance. The first time we were together was in the 2000 National Tour of “Utakata no Koi”. After that you have taken part in countless Cosmos Troupe performances.
Misa: About enough to say: “No more!”? (laughs)
Wao: No, no (laughs). But because you couldn’t be in my final performance, I wanted to talk to you once more before I graduated, any way I could.
Misa: Thank you.
Wao: Actually, when I was a Takarazuka Music School student, I saw “Me an My Girl” (1987), and I fell in love with Parchester-san (Misa).
Wao: I asked a classmate who knew you to get your autograph. You wrote: “The family lawyer, Parchester. Misa Noeru” (laughs). From then it’s as if I was holding onto my admiration for you.
Misa: (laughs). Do you still have that colored paper?
Wao: I have it! Even now, that’s the only signature I’ve ever asked for.
Misa: Uwah~! Amazing!
Wao: I’m very proud of that signed colored paper.
Misa: Thank you.
Wao: no, no, thank you.
Misa: Ever since you were an underclassman, T-shirts and jeans have suited you, Takako (Wao), an impression of simplicity and coolness.
Wao: Uwah. Thank goodness I wore jeans today (laughs).
Misa: (laughs). Actually, haven’t you sung in Bow Hall productions wearing T-shirts and jeans?
Wao: I have. Countless times.
Misa: “Simple is Best,” they say.† An unadorned feeling.
Wao: I didn’t dress up (laughs).
Misa: (laughs). Unadorned and cool. I thought, “If I were in that production too, I’d have my image be just like that.”
Wao: Though a little more adornment might be good.
Misa: Not at all.
Wao: No matter the production, no matter the role, you give it a flavor only you can, and that’s what makes it entertaining. When we actually met, you were very entertaining, but more than that was how you endeavor to be serious and honest on stage.
Misa: Not at all (laughs).
Wao: No, no. No matter how irresponsible the personality of your character, you face it with single-minded dedication, and the result of that is a seeming of perfect irresponsibility.
Misa: Amazing, I think I may have been complimented (laughs).
Wao: That’s right. That’s Maya-san’s strength!
Wao: I’ve always thought I should follow your attitude towards the stage.
Misa: You aren’t serious, Takako?
Wao: I want to be serious, but I'm not quite yet (laughs).
Misa: No, no.
Wao: When you starred in “Hotel Stella Maris” with me, I really learned a lot from the scene where the hotel manager you played fought with William (Wao). It was serious.
Misa: Seriousness, done seriously.
Wao: Because you came towards me seriously, I was also desperate.
Misa: Because you did your part so seriously, I was also serious. But in drama, seriousness is most important.
Misa: In everything I’ve seen so far, your attitude toward the stage is indeed amazing, and the underclassmen want to imitate you in many ways. Takako, has your attitude always been like this? Was there some kind of turning point?
Wao: Let me see… I’ve been lucky in that even as an underclassman I was given many kinds of roles, but being completely unable to do something…. I have many memories of disappointments. That’s why I think more than all the other adults I perform with, I want to act with all my strength.
Misa: I think that’s a good thing. When you joined Takarazuka, what did you want to do most: sing, dance, or act?
Wao: In the past, I wanted to dance.
Misa: What about singing?
Wao: Well, I was a terrible singer (laughs). But when I was an underclassman, I studied under the wonderful singer Ichiro Maki for the shinjinkoen from the time I was ken-2‡ until she graduated six years later.
Misa: You couldn’t avoid studying singing?
Wao: Yes. In the shinjinkoen I had many, many opportunities to sing. But for me, singing, dancing, and acting – none is particularly “the one”. I like all of them, so I see it as giving them all my all!! (laughs)
Misa: I think the otokoyaku atmosphere you create is something no one else can imitate. The richness of it, so to speak. There is a gorgeousness in a graceful figure…
Wao: Not at all (laughs). That’s the Takarazuka Music School’s doing (laughs).
Misa: A kind of applicant qualification (laughs)? But I think that atmosphere is also talent that you have. If you persevere after that in your singing and acting, to make them like your dancing, then isn’t it something you’ve acquired?
Misa: Among all the productions we’ve appeared in together, the one which was particularly enjoyable with the deepest memories was “Boxman”.
Wao: It was really interesting.
Misa: Why did it have us smiling so much? Back then your role was Kevin, and somehow it felt like Kevin was you and you were Kevin. There was acting, but I thought there was a sense of, “Takako = Kevin”. Drama is all about aiming for that ultimate goal, isn’t it?
Wao: At that time I was trying for the fresh perspective on a role that I always do. Because Maya-san is always amazingly fresh in every performance.
Misa: I wonder…
Wao: Yes. That’s right, and I still have my FBI badge prop. From when Kevin was recruited by the FBI in the end. (She pulls the real thing out from her bag.)
Misa: This is cool (laughs).
Wao: They did an amazing job on it, didn’t they? I walk around with it (laughs). “Boxman” was a production that I already loved, and I was really sad when it ended.
Misa: It’s a production that I love as well.
Wao: You once gave me a Mickey Mouse T-shirt.
Misa: So I did. You like Mickey, don’t you? Today you’re wearing a Mickey watch.
Wao: Mickey is the star of my dreams.
Misa: When I saw that cute T-shirt with Mickey on it, I thought it would be good for you.
Wao: Although I’ve never given you anything…
Misa: You’ve given me love (laughs).
Wao: (laughs). I’ve been able to do countless productions with you since “Utakata no Koi” … I’ve seen many sides of you, and in every production, somehow, you showed a different flavor, which is a mystery that has always puzzled me. But I feel like I’ve unraveled it a little, and I really don’t want to give it up…
Wao: At the least, I thought, “If I can learn only the spirit of Maya-san’s performances.”
Misa: Takako, you have your own special flavor. Of course, someone who has come to be a top star for so long is amazing. Both in spirit and body. How many years have you been a top star?
Wao: Six years.
Misa: Six years – and still I thought I would have more time to watch you perform.
Wao: Thank you.
Misa: I don’t know what kind of life you will lead from now on, but having spent your youth in Takarazuka, and having the confidence from having done amazing things, please continue to do your best.
Wao: Yes, I will. Today was a dream come true, and to be able to talk with you like this has made me very happy.
Misa: I as well. Thank you.
Wao: Thank you.
‡ "Ken-2" = Second year after graduation from Takarazuka Music School.