The Live Spectacle NARUTO press conference in Singapore was held at Resorts World Theatre, Resorts World Sentosa on 3rd June 2015. The press was greeted by Director Akiko Kodama, accompanied by cast members Kodai Matsuoka (Naruto Uzumaki), Ryuji Sato (Sasuke Uchiha), Yui Ito (Sakura Haruno) and Kenta Suga (Gaara). Singapore marks the last stop of their international tour, rounding up a total of 62 performances in the four-month long outing that included Japan, Macau and Malaysia.
When asked about their thoughts on performing in Singapore for the final run, Matsuoka said he is delighted and happy to have the opportunity to perform here (in Singapore). The other cast members agreed, with Ito commenting that it’s been four months since they’ve been on the road, time just flew before her realizing it. Since this is the first time a “2.5D musical” (musical based on anime or manga) is performed outside Japan, the cast are all excited yet nervous, as they are unsure of how overseas audience will react to this unique form of musical.
The cast also noted the differences between the audience from different countries. Ito mentioned that although the stage setting and performances were exactly the same as Japan, the audience from Macau and Malaysia were less reserved and more expressive during the performances compared to fans back home. Suga agreed, saying that he was initially very anxious about performing in Macau (their first overseas stop), but the fans there were so warm and welcoming that he forgot about his nervousness and relaxed into his role. Sato felt very encouraged to receive huge reactions from the Malaysian audience when he (as Sasuke) delivered the line, “Don’t underestimate me!” and was booed by the crowd! Director Kodama noted that the Japanese audience tend to be more proper and particular about little details, whereas overseas audience are more relaxed and immersed in the show. She was also heartened by the positive feedback and responses which made the experience enjoyable and fun, not only for the audiences but the performing casts as well.
Regarding the challenges faced by the actors while playing their respective roles, Matsuoka claimed he had to read all 27 volumes of the manga in order to get into character. Suga’s challenge was picturing the giant gourd that his character Gaara had to carry, as an extension of his physical body. For Ito, it was a task to keep up with Sakura’s high energy level, while Sato lamented in jest that his biggest challenge was to learn “how to hate the members of the cast”. When asked to name one attribute of their character that they identify with the most, Matsuoka went with Naruto’s “never give up” attitude. Ito and Suga gave more candid replies, citing their “big foreheads”, whereas Sato, completely into his role, deadpanned that like Sasuke, he is “the strongest”.
For Kodama (who doubles as the script writer), the key challenge in writing the musical was to condense all 27 volumes of content into a 2-hour show, having to consider audience who are longtime fans of the series as well as those who may not be as familiar.
In closing, the cast members thanked all fans for their support, promising to give Singapore audience their best, till the very last show.
Live Spectacle NARUTO will be staged in Singapore from Saturday, 6 June to Sunday, 7 June 2015 (1:30pm and 7pm shows) at the Resorts World Theatre, Resorts World Sentosa. Tickets are available through all SISTIC outlets.
Special thanks to Imperial Artiste Management for the media invitation.
Article by: Flora.L
Photos by: Lin
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