The newly updated version of the YoRHa stage play, YoRHa Ver.1.2 Musical, opened applications to join the cast in mid-October with the deadline falling on October 20 at 6pm. They originally had a 15-25 age limit on applicants, but later updated the details to allow anyone, of any age, of any experience (pro or amateur) to audition.
As part of my application, in which I detailed my vocal experience in various choirs as well as my knowledge of Yoko Taro’s works, I also sent along these images of silly me:
I guess they liked something in my application…or they were just being nice (which very well could be)…but on October 24, I received an email message that I was accepted to come in for an interview at the SQEX HQ.
I read and re-read the audition e-mail multiple times, thinking maybe I misunderstood something. But it was short and simple, and I knew there was no misunderstanding there. They set the audition in TWO DAYS. Yes, the tentative audition time was listed on the pic above, but I never expected to be called in, and now that I was officially called in to audition, I had to quickly get out of work that day.
And this came after I had already asked my company for two Saturdays off in November, so all my favors and more had already been called in. Add the immensely short-notice aspect into the mix…I was thoroughly expecting to be denied.
But my boss and other co-workers supported me in this crazy endeavor, so I was able to go to the audition on Thursday.
I was beyond a nervous wreck. Since we were told that we’d be doing a bit of dancing, they told us to come in lose or flexible attire, I wore the Alpha pink YoRha T-shirt that I bought at the YoRHa Ver.1.1 stage play. <3
I as told to meet at the SQEX HQ at 12:40pm. At that time, there were only a few people there waiting, so it was really confusing. It didn’t occur to me at the time that there would be multiple audition sessions. When I arrived to the meeting place, I asked a girl waiting there if I was in the right place, and she said yes. <3 Thank you. I’m just a crazy foreigner trying out for a play that I love but have little expectation that I would actually be chosen. haha And so about 8 of us waited there in relative silence. I tried to talk to the two girls next to me, one time I mentioned that I brought Emil with me, referring to my shoulder bag…but the girl didn’t seem to know who or what “Emil” was. (ﾟдﾟ；)
A little after 12:40, a staff worker met us and showed us the way past the SQEX HQ threshold. That alone was a cool experience that I could only share with myself. We were escorted into a conference/waiting room adorned with a DQ theme… I think. lol I’m totally blanking on this point in time, but I seem to recall there being DQ themed wallpaper as well as various DQ stuffed animals decorating the space around the TV at the front of the room. xD This is where we waited for another 10-15 minutes, many people changing into more comfortable clothes and stretching. I felt really stupid just sitting there, looking at my phone, so I figured stretching wouldn’t be a bad idea. xD There was one other girl who started stretching before me, then I stood up to stretch, then others followed. lol The whole progression of things was really interesting. This was all done in relative silence. lol
Eventually, the same staff member came into our room to give us further directions, but instead directed us to yet another waiting room; this time it was a TAITO / Space Invaders themed room? I wasn’t aware that SQEX had anything to do with Space Invaders…but whatever. xD
We waited there for another 10 or so minutes before the same dude as before showed us the way to the audition room, which was just down the hall. He gave us a role call and made sure that we were in the right order. I was about #5 of 8.
As we entered a relatively large room, we could see there were about three tables at the front of the long but narrow room with chairs at the opposite side (right side: “judges”, left side: “audition candidates”).
Of the judges, I recognized director Matsuda Ichidai-san as well as the president of the ILCA company, Iwasaki Takuya-san. I knew that Iwasaki-san had a part in the original run of the previous plays, but I wasn’t expecting him to essentially run the whole audition. I was especially flustered since this all happened after I had sent in an application to work at his company for a simple photo editing and tech sort of job. haha ^^;;;
The first thing we did was line up give a brief self-introduction. I remember saying that “I’m just a simple English teacher” but a “huge fan of Yoko Taro’s works.” That’s about when Matsuda-san mentioned my YoRHa shirt. <3 I was happy that he recognized it, so I just giggled and gave him a thumbs up. lol
The next thing we all did was learn a couple dance moves to the opening sequence along to the theme “Normandy”. The dance instructor taught us the moves in just a few minutes, me struggling the entire way, but the second they turned on the music, I knew what this was… and grimaced in both excitement and anticipation. I’m not a dancer, so among the other young and more able girls… I knew this was likely my end. haha Nevertheless, I tried to “strut my stuff” for as long as I could. That one high kick was pretty rough, but I loved the 1-2-3-grab your head in agony bit. xD My balance there was rather shaky, though. lol A really funny thing I noticed was that… I couldn’t remember the moves. I found myself glancing in the corner of my eye when we no longer had the dance instructor in front of us… and I suddenly remembered doing this when I was a silly 5 year-old in ballet. xD I was always looking at the person next to me. lol The last portion of the dance segment, we were told to improvize with whatever… That was probably a bad idea. lol I have no idea what silliness I did here.
Anyway, the dancing was my major downfall. It was fun, of course, to just try, but I knew I was pretty-well done at that point.
The next bit was sword fighting! When I saw them bring out the swords, I felt a little wave of relief! I honestly don’t know what I’m doing, but… I love swords. Just having one in my hand makes me feel calm. Don’t ask me why. xD
Two girls went up against the sword choreographer first, the panel of judges comically providing sound effects to each of the sword swings. xD It seemed as though those girls were the least experienced or shy or whatever, so they given the most encouragement. I was part of the third group, me and one other girl, but I was the 2nd in line, which meant the other girl attacked and was killed first… then I was supposed to attack. The first run… I guess I was a little too enthusiastic for them to suggest that I be careful… “Getting hit will hurt,” they said. xD I didn’t quite know what they were referring to; I felt very much in control, but… xD I think at the end of this first sequence is where they took the photo of me smiling (#4).
I don’t remember too much else of the fighting sequence, just that one time through I made a really wussy scream. lol The other takes were maybe okay, but I couldn’t “die” as well as the others. I didn’t really know what they wanted me to do (fall down dead or what), so I ad-libbed. xD
The last bit was an open PR moment where we could do anything to give a final go at the audition. I was caught completely off guard with this. They said that we could do anything, dance, sing, whatever… but I was at a complete loss of what to do. The first girl that went was a fan of amazarashi, so she sang a verse from the NieR:Automata theme that they did. It was good, but I felt that I could totally sing it better than her, if I had the lyrics. xD The others did short gymnastic routines, another sang the Japanese version of “Memory” from Cats, I think. I couldn’t think of anything else to do but sing something… but I needed lyrics. I wasn’t prepared to do any free performance on the fly like that, so I asked if using lyrics would be okay…and Iwasaki-san looked a little inconvenienced but didn’t say no. I sang the refrain from the English version of “Weight of the World”. When I was finished, Matsuda-san said that he’d be sure to let Okabe-san hear it. xD I didn’t know which I felt more, embarrassed or elated. lol
After that, we gave our final thanks and goodbyes to the panel and were lead back to our waiting room to change. As soon as we were finished, we excused ourselves one-by-one and that was it. We let ourselves out of the SQEX HQ and went about our day. The whole audition lasted about an hour, I think.
I was numb on the way home. I knew I was no match for the other young girls–one openly said that she was 15… more than half my age. xD All the more to those young folk with a bright future ahead of them. I’m just a nobody trying to find a place to thrive if just for a moment. lol Alas, I jest… to some degree.
The next day I got an email saying that there were no parts available for me. I was upset but not surprised. I pretty much knew anyway. Then the following day, I got a really nice email from Iwasaki-san saying that he was impressed with my enthusiasm and courage to try out. He also included the following five images as a sort of “memento” to the whole thing… and I couldn’t have been happier. I look like crap in the majority of them, but… at least I’m smiling in one, and that thoroughly encompasses my feeling for this entire endeavour.
Although you won’t see me on stage as an official YoRHa unit, this was, by far, one of the most nervewracking yet exciting things that I’ve done in a long time. And for that chance alone, I am very grateful. Thanks so much to everyone who made that decision to even call me in, probably knowing full-well that I wouldn’t get far anyway. xD This was an experience that I would not trade for anything.
I wish the girls who are selected for the play well and I’ll be cheering for them when I go to see the show. I’m just very hesitant since the entire cast appears to be new… I can only imagine Endo Ruka as No2… but I know Ishikawa-san will do well. <3