By Kirari Ii, ELP Student
I can’t forget that moment―the view from the stage, generous applause from the audience and that sense of accomplishment.
It was the summer of my first year at university.
“Prrrr…Prrrr…” My phone rang. It was from Mr. Nakamoto who was a representative of a community-based group for local revitalization. The group is working to boost the development of my hometown and get more people to know about my hometown through performances, such as musicals based on its history, place and people. I was a member of the group when I was in high school, but I left the group at after my graduation. I was so surprised to receive his call, and what he said surprised me even more.
“Could you join this summer’s stage to as a performer?”
He told me that the person who had planned to play one of the leading characters couldn’t join this play suddenly for various reasons so he was looking for someone who could take the role.
“There is no one but you,” he added.
I was so confused because I had never heard that graduates could join the stage. In addition, there was only one month left before the performance. Usually, we started practicing for a play for half a year, so I was not confident to get it done in a month. I played the role once when I was a high school student, but everything had changed such as the story, script, and choreography. However, I also really wanted to help him because I was very grateful to him and above all I loved this group and activity. After much agonizing, I finally decided to accept his request.
My big challenge started. I lived far from my hometown to go to university, and I had to go to school every day. Also, I was so busy with many part-time jobs and school assignments, so I couldn’t participate in most of practice sessions. There were only three sessions, including the rehearsal, left for me before the real stage. I couldn’t practice with other group members, so I practiced as well as I could at home. I practiced the choreography using video I received from the group and tried to memorize the script very hard every day. Finally, I managed to join the first practice session three weeks before the scheduled performance. However, I didn’t know anything such as stage’s overall flow and the timing of my appearance. I felt so miserable for my situation because other members, who were much younger than me, knew everything and was progressing with the practice session confidently and steadily. I lost my confidence to perform, and I was crushed by anxiety and fear. At that time, Mr. Nakamoto said to me, “I know you can definitely do it. I asked you because I thought so.”
I was determined to make the stage successful after hearing his encouragement. I did my best for the performance for a month. I think that period was one of the hardest ones in my life because of the tight schedule and considerable pressure.
On the day of the stage, I felt a little anxious but couldn’t hold down my excitement. This feeling made me remember the days before graduation. I knew I could do well because I prepared as much as possible for the day. As I expected, the seats for the performance were full, and I did it! I finished the performance! As the curtains closed, we received a thunderous applause from the audience. I was full of sense of accomplishment that I had never felt before, and the view of the audience’s smile and generous applause were greater for me than any other past stages. Many people came to me and complimented my performance.
“You have done well.” “Good show!” “I love your acting and dance.”
Then, Mr. Nakamoto came and said to me, “I’m proud of you, Kirari. Thank you.”
Tears fell from my eyes.
Finally, I was free from the anxiety and fear, and I felt that my effort bore fruit. I gained more self-confidence than ever before through this experience, making this one of the most precious memories in my life.