"When I was supposed to perform in Star Troupe's"Dreams Fly Around the World" (Yume wa Sekai o Kakemeguru) I noticed Touko (Aran), who had changed troupes, and we had a chance to talk together. Now, since she's an otokoyaku I'm really interested in, I requested her for this piece."

Kei Aran <-- Hibiki Takumi

"Rirei de Jenne" #21

Takumi: Touko (Aran), when I saw you perform Rudolph As A Boy in Elisabeth, your singing voice was very clear; it really left an impression on me. So I thought of you as a sort of "pure" otokoyaku.

But when I saw you backstage at the TCA Special, you were really frank and completely different. And then, when I was going to perform with Star Troupe in "Dreams Fly Around the World," I got to talk with you a little bit and… You're really very helpful, aren't you?

Aran: You think so?

Takumi: You were always helping me out. I started thinking of you as an extremely reliable person. At practice too, you just naturally worried about everyone. You really take care of people.

It's a talk show, so I'm just bursting with chatter… (Laughs)

Aran: (Laughs) When I was in my first year and we were going between troupes we went to Flower Troupe… Charlie-san (Takumi), you performed a dance for a few people. It was a gorgeous dance and I thought you were beautiful. Then several years later I saw a Flower Troupe performance and you were so masculine… I said, "How does she use her eyes like that..?"

Takumi: (Laughs)

Aran: Isn't the way you move your eyes incredible? "I wonder how she does it?" I thought – I remember I sat there in the seats for a long time.

When you came to Star Troupe you were still in the middle of a play run with Flower Troupe, so you had to join practice late, huh?

Takumi: Yeah. Since in the end I couldn't join the Star Troupe performance, I caused everyone an awful lot of trouble. But at least when I went I got to discover the new Touko and do some research.

Aran: Research? (Laughs)

Takumi: (Laughs) That is, watching the stage, it's amazing the way your energy comes out. I watched your Fersen in "Rose of Versailles 2001" and even though your time on stage wasn't a lot, I felt like you had the proper bearing. You seemed very dependable. Perfectly brave and without fear.

Aran: No! No! No! (Laughs)

Takumi: But I suspect that a sort of skin has peeled off.

Aran: Up to now, it's just gotten more and more fun… But my recent performances have developed a little different viewpoint. I think it's an effect of changing troupes

Takumi: Well then, you must have gotten used to it at your first show with Star Troupe's round-table for Kageki.

Aran: (Laughs) You know, I don't believe that "all mankind are brothers," but, after talking a little bit, I feel like you and I have become friends and just chatter on…

Takumi: I thought so. (Laughs) Back then, I was in senka. You'll move up to senka's great caliber soon. (Laughs)

Aran: Where?! (Laughs)

............................................

Takumi: You know, without makeup your face has more of a sweet impression than an otokoyaku's usually does.

Aran: Really? Charlie-san, you're the only one to tell me that. Are you saying it would have been good if I'd played women?

Takumi: Yeah.

Aran: It's the first time I've been told that! (Laughs)

Takumi: Really, back then at TCA, your female performance only lacked focus.

Aran: (Laughs)

Takumi: At the dress rehearsal, when I looked at all the people playing ladies, they all came out beautiful, but they were trying so desperately… I thought only one was entertaining, and brought a Guzzu quality – you, Touko. (Laughs)

Aran: (Bursts out laughing)

Takumi: That and, I thought with some effort…

Aran: But you know, I don't think putting forward that beautiful face would be very interesting. If I acted just ordinary, people who watched wouldn't be able to see anything but the "New Half." So it ended up being better to just give up on that part. (Laughs)

Takumi: As long as laughter rises from the seats, then you're okay, I think. (Laughs) If you do it properly so that it's cute, you haven't played it wrong, have you?

Aran: (Laughs) I'm usually told I have a masculine face, but Charlie-san tells me that's not so.

Takumi: Because the way you talk is very informal you seem masculine. But if you stop speaking, then you're a woman. But you can't stay quiet, can you!

Aran: Nope! (Laughs) I talk even when I'm eating by myself. And when I talk too much, my little sister tells me to be quiet and listen – so then click I'm silent. But I can't stand it! (Laughs)

Takumi: (Laughs) Have you always liked talking?

Aran: Yeah. But being quiet is fine too, if someone's talking to me.

Takumi: At first you were quiet and I thought for a moment you'd be hard to talk to. But, you talked with me at the bar and talking now is easy too.

Aran: But you gave me that feeling too, Charlie-san – I had an impression of you as really cool.

Takumi: When I was quiet, huh?

Aran: I don't think you have a Kansai accent, but… Do you put on that Tokyo dialect?

Takumi: (Accent) No, I was born talking this way. (Laughs) I'm kidding! But, you say I seem difficult to talk to… I think I do when I want to be alone.

Aran: Is that right? I had that idea at first too, but when I talked to you, I found out you were a really openhearted person. Even when you want to be alone, you don't mind chatting.

Takumi: Probably if we were in the same troupe we'd start talking in the wings or someplace before going on stage and they'd be calling, "Shut up!"

Aran: We'd probably get in trouble! (Laughs)

............................................

Takumi: I watch the underclassmen on stage and see what kind of otokoyaku they're becoming. I'm interested in a lot of them. I've become particularly interested in you, Touko. I have a lot of faith in you. Sort of a big sister type?

Aran: Yeah, I think so.

Takumi: And so we've gone beyond that "underclassman" relationship and can be really comfortable together.

Aran: When you came to the practice hall, you didn't have any support. I felt like you needed help. (Laughs) I wouldn't say it was a parental feeling, but I wanted you to be okay… So Charlie-saaaan entered my affections.

Takumi: Back then, all the upperclassmen were busy, so I couldn't really ask them anything. But, I didn't know any of the underclassmen. So I didn't know what to do. I was always asking you for help!

Aran: (Laughs)

Takumi: Really, you taught me by force – I was like a puppet. You were all, "This moves this way. And this is – " (Laughs)

Aran: (Bursts out laughing)

Takumi: Deciding on position, dance coaching… You always told me what I needed to know. I thought you were a very sweet girl. (Laughs)

Aran: It's not like that – What?? (Laughs)

Takumi: You would ask, "Are you okay?" and answer my questions. And you would say, "This goes like this." You always told me the things I most wanted to know. Most of us don't talk to an upperclassman unless she asks us for something, but you just came out and were like, "Gwa!"

Aran: I'm shameless! (Laughs)

But, if an upperclassman or underclassman has a problem – then aren't they just the same? If they're having a hard time, no matter who it is, I just, "Attack!" (Laughs)

Takumi: Since you're an underclassman, I was anxious about how to ask. These masks can make giving difficult, but with you it wasn't like that. It was just really comfortable.

Before the day of the accident… There's that part where you were going to sing and I was supposed to dance – I'd had dance training, but your song had to convey the feeling of it… So I was enjoying thinking about what kind of dance we would make it together. And just then they decided to cancel my performance – I was really shocked!

Aran: It was really too bad. But even though we haven't stood on the same stage together, am I the only one who has this strange feeling like we have?

Takumi: It feels like we've performed together, huh? (Laughs) I don't think we've stood on stage together, but from now on I want to see each other's shows and discuss things together. I'd really like it if you'd watch my performances and tell me what you think.

And, please take care of yourself. I want you to advance without losing that attitude towards the stage that you have now. Whatever walls you run up against, I'd like you to overcome them without changing.

Aran: Thank you very much.

I know you're going to be very busy, but you don't let yourself get spread too thin. And with all the work you've put in building up to this, I think you'll just open up like a flower. I'm really looking forward to it.

Takumi: Bye, come and see me, okay?

Aran: Yes, definitely!


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