NYU Talk Like Singing – Katori Shingo’s U.S performance, and fan experience.
This is going to be a pretty wordy report, with a slide show of images. So if you want to read this report, memory recap, check under this cut.
On this past Sunday afternoon – there was the last performance of New York University Skirball Center’s Talk Like Singing, which is an off Broadway Japanese production that stars Katori Shingo. I made to it Thursday’s performance, where I got to see Shingo in person, and yes this was a fun/great experience. Planning for it, certainly didn’t make it more than less memorable. A brief recap, back to spring, I came across the news of Shingo cast in in an Off-Broadway production. On or off, I didn’t really care, but to know that Shingo was going to be in New York City, that was the biggest realization in my book of care for all things Japanese. It is so hard to have JE people come to New York City, with the crazy schedule they have, so to say that I wasn’t excited was an understatement.
Road to tickets…
I realized quickly that it was an NYU production, so I started to ask my NYU friends. They get to go to see the show for like $15 a ticket, where the general admission price was $70. I purchased two tickets when they began to sold it, and was hoping to go with iceblueaya, unfortunate that she moved away from New York, and is really lucky to be in Japan at the present time, with Rai. So I spent months, wondering who liked SMAP enough that I didn’t feel bad bringing with me. Wanted to share my love for JE of course. Alkoi and Jubei were both apparently going/or not going to the show. I imagine lack of communication, still I knew that eventually Fuji Television was on the search for American Shingo fans, and Alkoi was the person they contacted for info. I also knew Hinano was going to go with JP. So eventually I went with a Japanese classmate, and procured two more tickets for another Japanese classmate, and a friend who I realized at the very last minute was a SMAP fangirl. I am not sure if I ran my NYU friends ragged with my requests. It was pretty interesting getting a ticket at the very very last minute online. But back to the my experience with Talk Like Singing though. I got tickets for second row on Orchestra Right.
Talk Like Singing has four main characters. Other than Shingo, there were Jay Kabira, Shinya Niiro, and Keiko Horiuchi, all of them with the exception of Kabira plays more than one character. Shingo plays, Tarlow, a man who can only communicate through song and dance. Kabira, and Horiuchi both played mainly doctors who tried to help “cure” Shingo from this “ailment.” Niiro was there as a supporting actor. Horiuchi’s doctor character ends up falling for Tarlow.
This show is chock full of Japanese dialogue and song, with snatches/translations/renditions of English. The actors in this show are are all if not fluent Japanese speakers. So there were issues of hearing, and some comprehension of not understanding the speech, and much like what Hinano said at her review, audiences were majority Japanese, as well as what I noticed, a sea of females. (Thinks about SMAP’s Dear Women). There were parts in the show where there was subtitles either with white cards or a machine. Or even a re-performance of a song in Japanese and English. There was a lot of imaginary, improvisatory work with some of the songs, leaving the audiences to imagine scenes and events. Also there was a great deal of comedic moments, faces, or interactions that had audience members laughing.
Pieces I liked were the Self Introduction, Social Misfit Monologue, Bitter Memories and Talk Like Singing. I kinda hope that there would be a compact disc of this musical. I heard people mention that this show had errors, and that Shingo probably didn’t have as much talent. I certainly, like a lot of people mention, saw the sweat flying off his body, as he was getting into the groove of the show. But I also imagine that, this is an off Broadway show, that there shouldn’t be as much expectation, that with the amount of work that Shingo has in Japan. It is a great opportunity to see him. I don’t expect to ever have the opportunity to see him again in my life. I really hope that Shingo had a great time in New York City as well, I found out that he also kept a short blog of his experiences with the show. This blog has some pictures, and is basically in Japanese. Also it is from this livejournal link where I found the Japanese blog that Shingo kept. I
SMAP in NYC
Also it came to my knowledge that other SMAP members were in NYC to film Softbank’s new commercial, and I heard that acquaintances of Alkoi was on SMAP watches, even my Japanese sensei saw Tsuyoshi on Tuesday.. T_T .. Of course with my schedule, I couldn’t have willingly went to stalk SMAP as I would have liked to. I didn’t want to feel so overwhelmed like a heart attack, so early onward I paced myself, and accepted the fact that other fans who touch or saw SMAP members, were a thousand times luckier than I was. This is the same feeling I think about when I think of Utada.
I actually saw that there were pictures of SMAP Softbank CM on Twitpic, and of course I saved them, but as I went to look for it again. They weren’t there, so here are the pictures that I found courtesy of @Gabriellegabby.
I really like SMAP for their versatility, and star power. The sheer devotion is at times awe inspiring, and other times.. thinking wow.. I wouldn’t want to be a stalker fan. Being a fan is hard work, there is not enough money and luck, to do what some fans would do. *cough cough* Having a uchiwa is not a sign that you’re an obsessed fan. I stare at Iceblueaya’s two JE uchiwas, and think, my admiration is not as experienced. (Reference to Shimokita Sunday.) My uchiwa was a personal souvenir from Johnny’s flagship store in Haujuku.
So after the show was over and done with, the weather was pretty craptastic, but still I saw that fans were outside waiting for Shingo. Of course I wanted to get in on the wait, because one never knows their luck or unluck. My classmate waited for me, and was actually saying that some people were looking at my uchiwa with some envy or a reaction. I thought for a minute that would Shingo stop, and maybe sign autographs/pictures, but then thnking of Johnny’s strict rules on idol conduction, knew that it was a lost wish.
So I wanted for about an hour. I realized also that many fans were definitely Japanese, and were probably traveling from Japan or something, just as what may have happened with AK48’s own Japanese fans that I recall other people mentioning about in NYAF AK48 concert recaps. I didn’t see Shingo really leave, but yep the wait, and sheer amount of Japanese fans, indicates behavior that I wouldn’t probably think about, until my next celebrity event.
Photographs and external links
Oh here is a link to my Flickr for complete set of pictures not used for the slide show.