Premiere of “Kurotokage (Black Lizard)”

Evocative set and lighting on stage

“Kurotokage (Black Lizard)” premiered today. Under Mr. Leveaux’s direction, Yukio Mishima’s eloquent words have been brought to life like showers of glittering jewels on stage, and the day has finally come for us to perform this play in front of everyone.

The rehearsals were held in a warm, friendly atmosphere so as not to smother the delicate hearts of the performers, and instead of being told what to do or how to express ourselves, we were asked, “How would Kurotokage act in this scene if she was filled with anger and uneasiness upon realizing that she was fascinated by Akechi?” That’s how we were given the chance to think for ourselves. Mr. Leveaux also asked me, “What if Kurotokage was feeling frustrated at her own budding feelings of love toward Akechi, and she was just taking it out on her subordinate, Amamiya?” I realized that by throwing such questions at me, the emotions behind my lines became ever more complex and intertwined.

I have been enthralled by Yoshio Inoue’s ever so poignant speech and the grace with which he carries himself. I have also been almost overwhelmed by sudden urges to top Itsuki Sagara’s refined doll-like cuteness with cream and lap it up, while Hikaru Asami’s modest yet enthusiastic acting has offered me a sense of security by helping to prop up Kurotokage’s character. As for Taka Takao, he has made me laugh with his uninhibited miserliness, and Songha’s masochistic acting has further roused the sadistic side in me.

The dwarves, who are like servants to a courtesan, were played by contemporary dancers, and they serve Kurotokage while simultaneously acting as metaphors reflecting her inner self. Watching them dance in response to our acting almost brought tears to my eyes. The performers of the ensemble too, who have won Mr. Leveaux’s absolute trust for their physical discipline and agility, and outstanding talent as actors, also play a vital role in symbolizing the flow of time during the play. Moreover, the live band acts as a bridge bringing together the worlds of Yukio Mishima and David Leveaux, guiding not only the performers, but also the audience to a world of fantasy.

The simple, yet elegant stage set, the lighting creating beautiful shadows like the etchings of Rembrandt, and the delicate yet bold costumes representing the state of Kurotokage’s mind, as well as the android-like hairstyle were all decided on at the last minute after much trial and error, and there has been much constructive discussion among the creative staff on the pros and cons of all the stage visuals. I feel so blessed. It’s like a dream come true, and so many people have been supporting us behind the scenes to make sure it stays that way.

I very much look forward to seeing everyone there.

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