Nisshin Middle School
The music starts, and the curtain opens. The spotlight is shining, and the audience's eyes are all on me. I feel nervous, but filled with joy. Yes! I like being out on stage very much. I enjoy being in the spotlight. Singing, dancing, and performing in front of an audience gives me joy. When performing, my ultimate goal is to make a lasting impression on the audience.
When I was an elementary school student I performed in a children's musical. I was also in my junior high school's musical last year. I played the character of an old woman. However, this was not the original character I auditioned for. I wanted to play a young girl, but was unable to get the part. Actually, I was very disappointed to get the part of the old woman. With great difficulty, I tried to hide my feeling of disappointment. I read the play over and over to find a connection with my character. At last, I was able to discover the importance of my role as an old woman, and I was prepared to bring her to life on stage. I soon realized this would not be an easy task.
As an old woman my voice needed to be soft and delicate. Quite different from my own. Mastering this voice and being able to show emotion was a challenge. The most difficult task was a duet with the character of an old man. At first, we were unable to harmonize. So we had to practice after school for a long time. Moreover, I was very busy with juku, studying for tests, piano, and so on. As a result, I caught a cold due to lack of sleep and all the stress I was under.
It was now a couple of days before the culture festival. I was forced to take a day off. Luckily, I was able to perform in the musical. When the musical was finished and the curtain closed, my eyes filled with tears. I could hear a storm of applause from the audience. The musical was a success. I realized the audience had become one with the characters of the play. We had captured their hearts. I had played my part successfully. All my hard work had paid off.
This year, I will play a witch in the school musical. This witch has special powers, which humans do not possess. I wonder if I can bring this witch to life? Will the audience believe in my character? I will try my best, because there is nothing more rewarding than the sound of applause and knowing I have left a lasting impression in the hears of the audience. By being a part of last year's musical I now understand, that the difficulties in life make me a greater person. I have grown emotionally from this experience. I am very thankful for this life lesson.
(2-21 Speech in 54th Contest, 2002)
(C)JNSA FUND/the Yomiuri Shimbun
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