It was the days at Royal Holloway College, University of London.
I was an MA student at Theatre Department.
For the final MA project, I decided to direct a play named The Directions To Servants, by Shuji Terayama. (I already made the English translation as my BA project at Keio University, Japan).
I have found photos.
Music, Set design, Make-up and costume design also by Elica Miwa. Of course, I had a set realizer and make-up and costume maker. (Music was performed and recorded by myself) They were fabulous! Look at these photos!
The actors are undergraduate students. How talented! Terayama’s avant-garde, experimental, and brutal play was all poetic, out of order, out of norm, and difficult to get hold of through line of story.
But they understood and made it sooooo strikingly beautiful.
The theme was “grotesque” “human masks”. So the characters’ movements often went grotesque and monster-ish.
Each shot shows their powerful eyes and energetic finger-tips.
These beautiful girls never mind showing distorted faces and body movements. What great real actors!
The white lines you see on the set are white elastic strings which were attached to the floor from the ceiling. The characters often played with them as doors, as a hiding place, as a resting place, as a jail, and also used to show their emotions.
The production received a standing ovation.
With it, I could receive MA degree.
I wonder how they are all doing. Beautiful memories.
But I didn’t want to sing in front of other people, for my self-image was that I was a bad singer.
I didn’t even want to learn from a teacher, being afraid that the teacher might think I was hopeless in singing.
But ten years ago, when I started my Playful Reading of Shakespeare Series in Japan, I had to put some songs for the show’s sake.
That was the time I finally decided to taking lessons from a singing teacher.
Ten years ago, my vocal range was very very very narrow. I could only go up to Do, Re, Mi. Fa was impossible. I neither could keep the note for more than 1 second. If I kept it longer than 2 seconds, then the voice got wabble.
In ten years time, thanks to the teacher’s effort, my vocal range gradually got wider, and I also started to be able to sustain a note.
My teacher then suggested me to hold a solo concert.
That’s a good idea.
I became confident and wanted to my people to listen to my singing.
I chose songs and started to practise.
But in September, two months before the show, I realised I hadn’t come any nearer to the level I wanted to reach.
I then grabbed my opera student whom I taught acting, and I directed her in my Cosi Fan Tutte production. I am a theatre director, you see?
She just graduated from Conservatorio di Musica “Giuseppe Verdi” di Milano, with full As and as The Most Outstanding and Prominent Singer.
She patiently listened to my singing, and gave me only one advice.
It was something that I had to throw away the main focal point of my ten years lessons.
I was brave enough and also trusted her enough to switch from old to new, and started to practise the new way.
Then, it’s truly a magic!
I could hit high notes very easily. Chances of missing to hit a note decreased. I could sustain the note much longer. I could keep my breath longer.
I was quite surprised at only one skill made an incredibly huge change.
Me singing here is still a novice and weak and frail.