Date: 2023 September 05 20:02
Posted by Joe
We've been captivated by The Garden of Words Stage play currently running in London. In November the play moves to Tokyo with a Japanese cast. Playing Takao for the Tokyo run is actor Okamiyu Kurumu. The actor is familar with anime on the stage having played Eren Yeager in the musical adaption of Attack on Titan, Yatora Yaguchi in Blue Period The Stage, Yuri Briar in the musical of Spy x Family to name few. We caught up with him while he was in London last month preparing for his new role.
You've acted in stage adaptations of various other anime titles before. Including the roles of Eren Yeager from Attack on Titan and Yuri Briar from Spy x Family. In contrast the role of Takao is more understated. How do you find it different portraying this kind of character?
The characters I've been playing so far have been fairly extreme. With this production as it's set in actual modern day Tokyo, so playing a regular character like Takao has been a fun challenge for me!
When preparing for a role like this, how much do you refer to the original source material for inspiration?
For me when I play characters based on anime or manga or a video game it depends on what the source material is. If the original source material was anime I would watch everything released, while if it's manga, I'd read all the volumes. I'd also get inspiration from the original writer or creator and try to grasp their intentions. When I rehearse a role I'm going to add my personal interpretation to the role too.
What do you like about the character of Takao?
I really admire Takao for his fragility, but also his pure heart and passion. He's got his eyes straightly set on his objective. I admire his innocence. Now I'm 25 I feel like I'm more mature than him, but I admire his teenage energy and passion along with his purity to pursue his dreams.
Do you think you'd like to have an encounter like Takao's?
A part of me thinks that I would really want to have that kind of romantic encounter like Takao. If the same thing did happen to me, I think I'd probably be too shy to speak to that person. I can understand the fascination towards an older more mature woman, so maybe yes I'd like to!
You've appeared in a fair few adaptations of anime and manga, what extra dimension do you think the stage brings rather than the printed page or screen?
When we bring a story from a world of 2D and we bring it on stage it means we can breathe new life into and make it 3D. I really enjoy reading manga and watching anime, but on the stage you can portray their emotion and capture their struggles and or pain, negative feelings or happiness. We can make this all feel real on the stage, which it is different from the 2D world.
What do you think the audiences will enjoy the most about The Garden of Words?
With the original movie you could almost smell the rain! I want to recapture those beautify elements along with the music and the stunning visuals. Rain often makes you feel lonely or sad, but the moment when these two characters meet and they feel they could meet only on rainy days because it's a romantic encounter, it happens quite naturally. I think the theatre audience can also enjoy the sense of the rain and it's melancholy.
Is there anything you're looking forward to doing while visiting London?
Last month was my first trip outside of Japan. I went to New York. It was really sensational! I was really looking forward to coming to London and experiencing new things t get a feel of the atmosphere of London. It's full of entertainment and it's scenery is very different from Japan. Yesterday after we arrived I went to see Buckingham Palace, then we went to a park and drank Pimms. Then we had the authentic pub experience and I enjoyed some roast pork. So far I've really been enjoying myself in London.
Today I tried to order a coffee for myself, I wanted iced coffee, but I ended up with hot coffee! So until I leave London I want to practice ordering coffee by myself in English. I want to travel see many more beautiful cities around the world.