The performances of “Les Misérables” at the Nissei Theater have come to a close.
On the last day we each shared parting words with the audience, but when my turn came I struggled to put even half of my thoughts into words and instead gave a jumbled, tear-ridden speech. I’m writing down what I really wanted to say here.
For four years I’ve had the role of Éponine. I’m sincerely thankful to the audience for watching over me during that time. Thank you. In my first year, I felt discouraged and pathetic for being immature and so very far from the image of Éponine I pictured in my mind, and I constantly shed tears of frustration at being so far behind everyone else. It was my friends who always stood by me on the stage, the comforting, professional staff, and everyone in the orchestra who greeted me with a smile every day who pulled me out of that time of weakness. I’m truly fortunate to have met so many wonderful people through this musical.
“Les Misérables” has long been one of my favorite musicals, and to have a role in it was a dream of mine. But for that dream to become reality has been demanding. Every day it’s a fight with myself. It feels like four years have slipped by while I’ve been consumed by this battle. I’ve never had a chance to pause and reflect on the joy of playing a part in the musical of my dreams. I had no idea that closing in on my dream would be so painful and hard, and I have no idea how many times I’ve nearly collapsed. I suppose this goes to show how special is the depth of this musical’s theme, the subtleness of its music, and the tremendous power of its lines.
But my thoughts on the final day of the Tōkyō performances were, “I really love this musical!” and, “I’m so happy to be a part of this!” To have gone through so much and be able to honestly feel this way once again is rather profound.
Over these four years I’ve learned much, and the biggest lesson has been that your enemies are inside you. When we stumble, we often want to lay the blame on someone else or the situation we’re in. But your true enemies are the fear and worry inside you. The fight against these unseen enemies of your own creation is the most bitter fight, but it’s the most important one. As I’ve fought with the weakness within me every time I’ve stepped on the stage, I think I’ve been able to gain a little ground each time. I want to thank “Les Misérables” for putting me through this training.
Of course there are still many things I’ll have to overcome in the future, and my hope is to build on what I’ve learned here and keep on striving. I welcome your continued support.
Now then, I rather like the sound of “closing day”—maybe it’s the sense of heightened tension, or that it rings with a bit of professionalism. Though I can’t say exactly why, I still like it. Over the four years I’ve appeared in “Les Misérables” I’ve seen many closing days, and every single time my tears well up and cause problems. Whether it’s a graduation ceremony or a wedding, I’ve always been one to cry profusely at special occasions, and closing days are no exception. It’s well known among my fans that I’m easily moved to tears, but I imagine some of those in the audience who had just happened to be there that day may have whispered to each other, “Why on earth is that girl crying so much?” and so on. I promise I tried my best to hold it in, but with this performance marking four full years, my brakes failed completely and my mascara ended up a mess. I apologize for presenting such an awful sight.
But the things that impressed me the most on closing day were the expressions on my fellow actors’ and actresses’ faces. Everyone sang with such vigor and intrepidity that I couldn’t tear my gaze from their captivating beauty. These people who poured their all into their dreams radiated an aura that gave me tremendous energy.