酒井広大 & 羽多野 渉
Koudai Sakai who plays Sakuya Sakuma, the leader of “A3!” Spring Troupe, Wataru Hatano-san, who plays Chikage Utsuki, a new member of the Spring Troupe and Mankai Company. Their first conversation was wrapped in the warm sunshine.
Many people have been looking forward to “A3!” Sakai: Everyone went through twists and turns in the first part, and each group overcame the difficulties and led the inaugural performance to great success. All of us have grown as actors and human beings, and we have the time to look around us. When I heard that the second part was about to start, I thought that there would be even more exciting developments. I was really looking forward to the appearance of a new character.
New characters from Part 2, Hatano-san, who plays Chikage Utsuki, what kind of impression does the work of “A3!” have? Hatano: It’s a work with the theme of theatre, so it’s easy to empathize with the factory of the same performers and actors. It’s a work, I thought it was an honour to be able to appear.
How was Chikage Utsuki? Did you capture it and act it out? Hatano: Chikage is always smiling, but he never shows what’s on his mind. For a certain purpose, he entered the Mankai Company and performed skilfully, despite his lack of theatre experience. He’s a character that might seem scary to some people. When I acted, I was conscious of the gap between the part where I interact with people with a smile and the part where I really mean it. Sakai: During the recording of the main story, Hatano-san came first, so I asked him to listen to me before I started recording, and he really is Chikage. I think the contrast between the gentle part and the mysterious part is amazing. Hatano:It’s encouraging to hear the leader say that (laughs). It’s the same with any work, but I get nervous when I enter the finished world view halfway through. I worked closely with the staff to create Chikage’s standards. I recorded it according to the script, but as the story progressed, more and more aspects came out, so it was fun to act. Sakai: When Chikage-san were entrusted with the lead role in the fourth performance, you accepted it without hesitation. I was surprised too (laughs). Hatano: He first acted. He saw things and lying to people in the same way. But he learns from Sakuya that acting is not like that. Chikage’s own growth is also included in the story, so I enjoyed acting as well. It’s a story that makes you think about many things, even as an actor.
With Chikage joining the Spring Troupe, has your relationship changed? Sakai: Everyone in the Spring Troupe is open-minded, so I think it’s a welcome situation. Masumi is a bit of an exception though (laughs). It’s true that at first, we were all worried about how we should treat each other, but I feel like we naturally become members of a family. Everyone in the Spring Troupe is open-minded, and although Itaru-san is an adult, je’s not the type to tighten things up (laughs). I think Chikage-san’s joining has strengthened the unity.
The 4th performance of the Spring Troupe, which will be performed by a 6-person system, will again be “Emerald no Trickster” with an original screenplay by Tsuzuru Minagi. Sakai: Sakuya plays the role of Rick, a cheerful boy from the land of wizards. This time, Tsuzuru-san also gave me some hitns, so it was easy to act. The characters play different roles in each performance, so the possibilities are endless. That is another feature of A3!
Is it difficult to play the character you are playing? Sakai: I have an image of what Sakuya would be like if he played this role. Hatano: I also played the role of Oswald, played by Chikage, in the play within the play, and it was refreshing to me that I had to play the role multiple times. What’s more, Chikage hides his true feelings and joins a theatre company, and on top of that, he’s doing a play within a play. If it weren’t for Sakuya-kun who played Rick, this performance wouldn’t have gone well. I thought that this kind of thing was very skilfully depicted in the play, and perhaps Tsuzuru-kun wrote it with that kind of thin already incorporated into the play. I think he is a very talented scriptwriter. Sakai: Chikage-san has to show the change in his own state of mind in the play within the play. I thought it would be very difficult because the emotional distance between the members is different. Hatano: I was worried when I read the script. Hmm, what should I do with this? But in the end, I’m sure you’ll be impressed, so please read to the end. You might think, “I hate Chikage!” in the middle, but I hope you’ll continue reading! (laughs)
The performance song “Usotsuki wa Mahou no Hajimari” is sung by lead actor Chikage and the semi-leader Sakuya. Sakai: The difference in voice quality between the two of you is hope. It’s fine. It feels great to hear that Hatano-san’s powerful and my soft voice overlap. I sing myself (laughs). Hatano: This was my first character song in “A3!”, and I got the impression that words are very important. I envisioned Chikage singing on stage and sang in an expansive way. The gimmick as a song is also amazing. Sakai: Yes, it was fun!
Part 2 theme song “Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter Blooming!” is again sung by the four leaders of each group. Sakai: It’s a song that I love because the path that the Mankai Company has travelled is included in the lyrics and melody. If the previous song “Mankai Kaika Sengen” was a song that made you excited, this time it’s a song that shows everyone’s growth. I think it’s a divine comedy because it expresses the feelings of four people who have solidified their bond as a family!
And the CD release of the song “Golden Encore!” sung by four new characters, Chikage, has also been decided. Hatano: There’s sad feelings after the stage is over, but it also has a warm message. It’s all phrases that come straight to your heart, and the melodies are cute and cool. The four newcomers are singing alone, and there are also four drama parts, so I’m looking forward to seeing how Chikage will interact with the other new characters.
Do you have a message for the directors who are currently playing Part 2 and those who are about to start playing “A3!”? Sakai: Until now, Mankai Company by blowing a new wind into what we have built up, I think it will expand further. I would like you to warmly watch over the future growth and activities of each character, as well as the new family members. Hatano: Chikage does something that people hate in the early stages. However, if you don’t get discouraged and get along with him, you’ll understand that he’s the character that should be here. What does family mean to Chikage? If you enjoy the story, I’m sure you’ll love Chikage as well. Have fun playing!
Column: New Myself (Wataru Hatano)
I like shrines and temples, so this year I want to visit Izumo Taisha and Ise Jingu. Being invited to work on this kind of work is also a result of a lot of luck. I would like to say thank you to God for giving me a new relationship.
Column: New Myself (Koudai Sakai)
I would like to start in outdoor hobby such as mountain climbing. If you’re having trouble and are thinking the same way, blame it on spring and let’s get started together (laughs)! It’s a story that just starts in spring.