And so the curtain rises on the last stage of the Live Spectacle: Naruto world tour, at Resorts World Theatre on 6 and 7 June. We caught up with four members of the cast and the director-scriptwriter of the production as they prepare to send your chakras racing.
Turning up in full costume and make-up, Koudai Matsuoka (who plays Naruto), Ryuji Sato (who plays Sasuke), Yui Ito (who plays Sakura), Kenta Suga (who plays Gaara), and Akiko Kodama, director-scriptwriter shared their thoughts.
(From left) Akiko Kodama, Ryuji Sato, Kodai Matsuoka, Yui Ito, Kenta Suga
Q: After performing in Japan as well as Macau and Malaysia, how do you feel about being here in Singapore?
(Matsuoka) Not only am I very happy to be here, all the staff and cast are also very happy to be performing in Singapore.
(Sato) All of us are very happy to be here in Singapore and we aim to perform to the same high standards of past performances.
(Ito) After performing in Malaysia, we have done 58 shows – out of a total of 62 shows. Although our performances spanned over four months, it feels as though everything was over very quickly, and we are very glad to come to Singapore for our last stop.
(Suga) We want to bring the entire performance in which we did in Japan, in its entirety, to Singapore for all fans.
Q: You have performed in four different regions in Japan, namely Fukuoka, Osaka, Tokyo, and Miyagi, as well as in countries such as Macau and Malaysia, and finally, Singapore. What are some memorable moments in the different countries you’ve performed at?
(Ito) In Japan, we first staged the performance in Tokyo, before moving on to the other three cities, before a final performance back in Tokyo. Although we were performing the same production in the same city, the atmosphere was really different.
(Matsuoka) Seeing how the cast has grown and matured over the course of our world tour! We hope to show this to audiences here.
(Suga) I was very nervous in Macau as it was our first overseas performance. However, the reception from the audience was very heartening. They made us feel really welcome, and once we started, all anxiety was dispelled and we enjoyed ourselves.
(Sato) The reaction from the crowd in Malaysia! The most memorable moment for me was when my character, Sasuke, said “Uzai yo/don’t underestimate me” to Sakura; the booing from the audience took me aback. They really turned it into a live spectacle!
Q: How do you feel about the performing in Resorts World Theatre?
(Matsuoka) I am very grateful to have the chance to perform in Resorts World Theatre; following in the footsteps of many big names artistes from Japan and around the world that have performed here before.
(Suga) We are very happy to see the support given by the theatre. I’m very glad that we have come this far with the production.
(Ito) With such a huge and nice theatre, I’m very thankful that it’s staging the last performance of the world tour.
(Sato) All of the above – whatever I wanted to say was already said by them.
Q: What were the challenges you faced in getting into character?
A: (Matsuoka) Immersing myself in Naruto in order to nail down the details of his mannerisms. I had to read all the volumes of the manga, as well as watched the anime.
(Suga) The thing I am carrying now (Gaara’s gourd) is actually a part of my body, so one of the challenges I faced, was figuring out how to be one with it.
(Sato) As Sasuke has an antagonistic role with the rest of his friends, my biggest challenge was having to “hate” my fellow cast members.
(Ito) Sakura is a very energetic character, and I had to work hard to channel her lively and energetic personality.
Q: What is one attribute of your character that you can identify with?
(Matsuoka) I see Naruto’s “never give up” attitude in myself.
(Sato) Like Sasuke, I am the strongest here!
(Suga) I have a big forehead just like Gaara.
(Ito) Me too! Both Sakura and I have big foreheads.
Q: What was the biggest challenge in adapting the manga into a stage production?
(Kodama) Having to condense 27 volumes of the manga into a two-hour-long show. We had to make sure that both fans of Naruto and those who are clueless about it could both enjoy the show.
Q: As the tour comes to a close, what do you have to say to the Singapore audience?
(Suga) We aim to spread the love of Naruto to Singapore, so please come and watch us!
(Ito) We will be bringing whatever we have been performing in Japan, to Singapore! So we hope the enthusiasm of the Japanese audience will be matched by Singapore. We look forward to seeing your happy faces at this huge theatre!
(Sato) Don’t underestimate the power of the Uchiha clan! That’s all I have to say.
(Matsuoka) I feel that it is very important that this Japanese work is performed by Japanese actors and actresses for authenticity. We hope that many people will come to see us, and that our performance can touch more people.
You’ve heard them fans and pre-fans, it’s not too late to get your tickets before the curtain falls on this much-beloved ninja tale.
Get your tickets to Live Spectacle: NARUTO
Naruto was just another boy living in the village of Konoha-Gakure. Until one day, he was suspected of stealing the Ninja’s book of prohibited alchemy. This led to the shocking discovery of his lifelong secret: the demon fox with nine tails was sealed in his body when he was born!
Fortunately, he was encouraged and supported by Iruka, one of the teachers at the Ninja Academy. Now a rookie Ninja, Naruto joins his classmates on extraordinary adventures, as he overcomes his personal struggles.
Be part of Naruto’s journey in this live spectacle of dance, acrobatic performances and fantastic stage effects.