Shibuki This time our practice was for a play with an omnibus format, and it was written starting with the first section and then continuing in order, so it was touch-and-go until the very last scene.
Oozora We didn't really have any idea how it would turn out before we started.
Kiriya There was a sort of persistent feeling up until we began practicing of "am I really participating in this play....?" (laugh)
Shibuki You were participating (laugh)! After I got up on stage, the equipment for the sets was large-scale, even more so than during practice. I understood the arrangements and I thought it would be easy to act around, but we had to make all kinds of simultaneous calculations while acting, and that was difficult.
Ayaki Yes. We always have a model of the stage sets to look at while we're practicing, but this time it was even smaller than usual. It felt like Koike-sensei's house (laugh).
Oozora Like a miniature theater.
Kiriyan They even went so far as to stick pictures of everyone on small paper dolls (laugh).
Ayaki Right (laugh)! We practiced while sensei used those to explain things to us, but of course when we actually stood on the stage it was completely different from where we had been practicing.
Shibuki After Mikhail (Ayaki) and Francis (Shibuki) have their struggle, there's a scene where he disappears, and it's amazing. This huge cloud of smoke comes up out of the set "whoosh!!".
Ayaki I'm totally frantic over that scene! I think: "it doesn't make me disappear, and everyone in the audience can see me."
Shibuki It's fine, they can't see you.
Ayaki Really? Every day I get really nervous. Because if they can see me, then it flops. And there's two versions: one where I take the cross, and one where I leave it behind.
Shibuki I've got a lot of similar scenes, and sometimes I forget what's going on. At the end of the first part, after Saeko (Ayaki) disappears with the cross I'm supposed to look for Lydia, but once I followed Saeko.
Ayaki After all, I'm the one you love!
Shibuki The costumes in the second part are gorgeous and amazing, aren't they? There's even people wearing dresses with hoops.
Kiriya It was certainly difficult to move, and when we were practicing on the stage I was always getting tangled with the people next to me.
Shibuki It's because Moon Troupe has done performances that called for suits for so long. I think not only us actors, but the audience will get the fresh feeling this time.
Oozora Since it's been so long since we've done a costume play like parts one and two, we'd lost the hang of swinging around and moving in costume, but now everyone seems to be enjoying themselves just fine.
Kiriya When it's not my turn I sometimes stand out in the wings and watch, and all the stage gadgets are really fun. Also, with every part the costumes and style of talking change, which gives them a completely different atmosphere, so that even though I'm acting, I also turn completely into the role.
Shibuki It must have been very tough on the staff to get the music and the choreography to match the different time periods. This is a "dancing vampire" musical, and there were six choreographers who were involved.
Ayaki And Rika-san (Shibuki) handled it all easily-- amazing!
Shibuki Not at all! (laugh)
Ayaki It felt like you were dancing whenever you moved across the stage.
Shibuki This time it seemed like practice was finished before I even noticed it (laugh). There's so much dancing that from time to time I forget which scene I'm dancing for (laugh).
Oozora That is all you can dance.
Kiriya That "River of Time" dance scene which is so difficult, you have to do that twice, don't you?
Shibuki That's right, so it really is a case of living forever (laugh).
Ayaki, Oozora, Kiriya (laugh).
Shibuki When you've passed three-hundred years, you must gain some painful memories.... By the way, for Mikhail, how did he deal with all that time passing?
Ayaki ....... As cool as a cucumber (laugh).
Shibuki, Oozora, Kiriya (laugh).
Ayaki Big or small, any time, he skipped right over it (laugh).
Shibuki And then "BANG", suddenly the time has passed right by him (laugh).
Ayaki (laugh). Because he skipped off with the cross. I'll just go on ahead of everyone* (laugh).
Shibuki, Oozora, Kiriya (laugh).
Oozora Kiri-chan (Kiriya) is the only one who didn't get her blood sucked by Francis-sama... (laugh).
Shibuki She's holding a grudge (laugh).
Shibuki "I also would like to know."**
Ayaki It's because she was rejected so bluntly (laugh).
Kiriya (laugh). I'm quite pitiable in this play! There's Clifford from the prologue and fourth part, and Louis XIV from the second part as well.
Oozora Well, I'd be quite happy getting Francis' blunt rejection to Louis XIV (laugh).***
Kiriya If you'd said "I'd like to know" or something like that........
Shibuki I really like that line too (laugh).
Kiriya (laugh). Clifford too, in the end, gets assaulted, so I'm always getting treated terribly by Francis-sama (laugh).
Shibuki That's because "the vampire is a shy guy."
Kiriya So it's upside down love?
Shibuki Yes, exactly! (laugh)
Kiriya I see (laugh). Even so, Rika-san's vampire is fantastic. "Long black hair fluttering, spread out in dance" -- it's what I've always thought. You can dance well in that hair.
Shibuki When I'm dancing, it becomes something dreadful. Like a mountain man (laugh).
Kiriya It's fine! (laugh)
Ayaki I also unintentionally got charmed by Rika-san. My character, Mikhail, is a role that's hostile to Francis, so no matter what I feel inside I have to be antagonistic, but in the first part, before he's possessed by the raging soul, there's a scene where Lydia is sucking the poison from Francis, and I always watch and think: "Ahh, how pretty~"
Shibuki This time I used white around my eyes. I've never done that before, so I wonder how it looks to the people around me.
Ayaki That white is very effective.
Shibuki If I put too much on I look like a raccoon, though (laugh). At first I thought it would only be the make-up for the poster photography session, but then on stage I couldn't separate myself from the human actors. I used a kind of gray color around my eyes for the poster, and then when I was wondering what to do on-stage I had a hunch to use white.
Ayaki It's very pretty.
Shibuki I think white is good. You should try it next time (laugh).
Ayaki You put sparkles around your eyes too. Aren't they a different color every day?
Shibuki That's right.
Kiriya When you go down the grand staircase after the finale, those sparkles around your eyes are really beautiful.
Ayaki That's a dangerous time for me. I watch despite myself, when Rika-san is coming down, and I forget to turn away from the center person and move my shanshan**** in circles. Every time I snap out of it thinking: "Ah, I can't!" (laugh).
Shibuki This time the play has an omnibus format with four clear parts, but the endings need to have a connection, a kind of "don't miss which scene we're in" feel.
Oozora That's right. I really love the scenes of the "River of Time" where Francis is passing through the ages. I think the lyrics for the song from that scene, "Akiru Koto ni Akite", are performed really well.
Ayaki I like that scene too.
Shibuki There, in the sweep of one song, everything seems connected in one long dance, so I wondered, "If I forget one thing I won't be able to dance it anymore, so how do I even start?" But then when I saw how to break the dance down into pieces it felt really good, so it became a test of my strength and every day I aimed for my goal and enjoyed myself while dancing.
Ayaki No matter which scene, Rika-san always matched Francis' mood well, and you could feel her charismatic nature.
Shibuki I'm not charismatic! (laugh) When I get off stage I'm just a normal person.
Kiriya And that's another great skill!
Shibuki, Ayaki, Oozora (laugh).
Shibuki At the Tokyo Theater, in every scene, I want to make even more use of Moon Troupe's good points.
Kiriya Yes. "Seal of Roses" is a play that evolves with every repetition. And I'll say that I want to keep walking forward until Rika-san's final day, so I want to keep making it bigger without delay. If we do that, I think it's a steadfast way of seeing Rika-san off. And... even though he's always so cold to me, if I can leave a deep impression on just one page of the 700 year history of Francis, Rika-san's character, then I think it's a good thing (laugh).
Shibuki It's because "the vampire is shy".
Oozora Moon Troupe with Rika as top has become animated; everyone has challenged themselves with all kinds of things, and I think everyone has risen. I've risen along with everyone else in Moon Troupe. This time I have three completely different roles, but in each of the different time periods with different lives I can influence the characters of Rika-san's Francis and Saeko-san's Mikhail as they move through, and that's really interesting. I've never had an experience like this before, and because I'm not really able to do it, I think this is a great opportunity to study lots of things. And, because I won't lose to Kiri-chan, if I could gain recollections from one page of the vampire's memories I'd want to delve down into the lives of those three to study for my roles.
Ayaki In the Tokyo Theater as well, every time, I want to hold this originality dear, and not forget in my heart how I absorb encouragement from all around me, and act out the part of Mikhail conscientiously. And, although I can't follow Rika-san as she continues running forward, I want to enjoy this time together and hold it dear... those are my honest thoughts right now.
Rika For me, "Seal of Roses" is my sayonara production, so like the title, I want to be able to seal off my otokoyaku roles without regret, and I want to breathe "vampire" until the end. Everyone who has cheered me up to this point, please run with me until the end! With smiling faces!! That's an important point (laugh).
Ayaki, Oozora, Kiriya (laugh).
** "I also would like to know" misses the flavor of Rika's quote from the play: "Watakushi ni mo konomi ga gozaimasu." It has a very antiquated and formal feel to it, slightly mocking coming from Francis' gypsy character. So far as I can tell, this is in reply to Louix XIV's excited demands to Francis about "how to live eternal life." Later, Kiriyan tries again with a slightly more natural-sounding version of that same line: "Konomi ga aru." (There are several quotes from the play sprinkled throughout the article, including my favorite: "Vampire wa shy na yatsu.")
*** Yuuhi's character doesn't fare quite so well as Louis XIV....
**** "Shanshan" is the word for the thingies with ribbons that they carry down the stairs and I'll be danged if I can think of a good equivalent in English.