Chapter 52 – School Play
Kindergarten life had become completely integrated into my daily routine, and all of my classmates and the older children had become acquainted with each other.
One of the biggest events of its kind was about to begin.
“Okay, everyone, please be quiet. I know you want to talk because there are many of your friends here, but I’m going to tell you something very important now, Teacher~”
A large room used for gymnastics classes.
The middle and senior classes were gathered there, transcending the boundaries of their classes.
It is no wonder that the children were excited to see their friends from neighboring classes in this situation, as they sensed a special atmosphere that was different from their usual routine.
I’m an adult inside, so of course I’m behaving well and paying attention to the teacher.
To begin with, unlike athletic meets and sleepovers, we are not the stars of this event. Knowing this, there was no way I could get excited together with my innocent classmates.
“Now we’re going to decide who’s going to be cast for the upcoming school play.”
The big event for every parent – the school play.
It is an event where parents are thrilled to watch their adorable children do their best to perform as well as witness their children’s growth.
“I would like you to perform a play called ‘Momotaro’. Do you know Momotaro*?
That’s because they’ve read it to us many times over the past few weeks. And even if they didn’t, who doesn’t know a children’s story as famous as Momotaro?
The teachers are well prepared.
The teacher explained what a “play” was, and the students began to imagine what they would be doing.
“Who wants to be Momotaro!”
“Me!” Me!” “Me!” “Me!”
“Me, me, me! I want to do it too!”
The boys all raise their hands. Oh, and one girl, too.
The main character of the story, and the most noticeable character in the play.
Naturally, he is a favorite character among the show-offs.
“Okay, then these six will be Momotaro.”
Six Momotaros will be too OP. I feel sorry for the ogres.
Children want to play the leading roles, and parents would be proud to have their own children playing the leading role, so this is a natural measure for a kindergarten that wants to avoid discord.
It seems these things haven’t changed from my past-life kindergarten days.
I guess they will rotate the actors every time there is a change of scene.
“Who wants to play the role of Dog-san next!”
“I love dogs!”
“Who wants to play a Monkey-san?”
“Me. – Me. – Me.”
“Who wants to be Pheasant-san!”
“I want to do it” “Me” “Cock-a-doodle-doo!”(T/N – Yes, that last one wasn’t a mistake on my part)
The casting went smoothly.
If there were too many applicants, the decision was made by rock-paper-scissors, with each getting the role they wanted to play.
The only ones who were left were the less assertive children who didn’t like to stand out.
“Well then, who wants to play the role of Oni-san!”
The teacher’s tone of voice becomes slightly stronger.
However, no one responded to his words.
Who would like to play the role of a villain?
He is the bad guy who Momotaro always exterminates in the story.
The distinction between the “righteous side” and the “evil side” is firmly ingrained in our minds from early childhood.
The large room, which had been so noisy up to this point, instantly became silent.
The teachers must have expected this, as they looked somewhat relaxed.
Now, the stage has been set, for me to rise my hand here.
“Hijiri-kun, will you play the role of Oni-san?”
“Yes, I will.”
“Well, how come you decided to act as Oni?”
A boy who often plays with me during break time asked me a question.
That’s because, I’m sure, my mother will be happy. And in addition, my dad, too.
I knew that the role of the Oni was likely to be unpopular.
In contrast to Momotaro, for whom a quota of six people is made, the blackboard quota for the Oni is small enough to allow for only one person.
In other words, while Momotaro’s appearance scene is divided among six individuals, the Oni role can be monopolized by just one person, that is, by me.
The battle scene is the most exciting part of Momotaro’s story.
In addition to being able to appear in the most exciting battle scene in Momotaro’s story, the appearance of the Oni will surely attract a lot of attention.
Parents watching the play would be happier if their children were given a major role with a chance to show off their talents than if they were given a safe role as a supporting character.
I don’t mind being cast in the role of the bad guy, as long as it is just a kindergarten play, thus I will prioritize my parents’ happiness.
And so, I ended up getting to play the role of the Oni, receiving the stares of my classmates, who had no idea what it meant to choose a villain, and the gratitude of the teachers, who were able to overcome all the challenges.
Splash, splash, splash, splash, splash
What is bobbing on the surface of the water is not a peach, but a boat heading for Onigashima.
These props have been used for many years, but since the audience consists of adults, there is a good chance that they are well made.
Rustling, rustling, rustling
The sound effects are also performed by the adorable voices of the preschoolers, and the audience sitting in front of the stage are smiling gently.
Many of the children have already performed their roles, and their parents are satisfied with their performance.
The story is in its final stages. All that remains is for the villain to be defeated.
The boat Momotaro is on touches the shore, and at this point the stage turns dark.
As I stand offstage, I can clearly see the scene where the fifth Momotaro and the sixth Momotaro swap places with each other sloppily.
When the sound of footsteps faded away, the heroic background music before Momotaro’s decisive battle also faded out.
At this point, it was finally time for the Oni to step on stage.
As soon as the lights illuminated the stage, a heavy bass filled the large room sending a powerful thudding sound to my stomach.
I powerfully stepped on the stage floor and appeared on stage with loud footsteps.
“Who in the world came to Onigashima!”
Wearing tiger-print pants and skin-colored clothing, the Oni wields a papier-mâché gold baton making its body look as big as it can possibly be.
I am doing my best to make my cute appearance look as scary as possible.
Kindergarten plays are nothing more than a recreational activity.
But I know that it is in these kinds of activities that I should give it my all.
If you are too shy and give a half-hearted performance, the result will be unbearable to watch from the audience’s point of view.
My grandmother will probably watch the recorded video, and I want to show my parents and brother a great performance.
“I am Momotaro. I’ve come here to destroy the evil Oni.”
“If you think you can do it, try it!”
Since the script is written for preschool children, there are only a few lines, and the acting choreography is fairly simple.
Frankly speaking, there is very little I can do other than try my best to act well.
The voices are absorbed by the crowd in this large room.
All I could do was to speak loud enough to reach the very back of the room, and to make my movements a little exaggerated to make my performance understandable.
“Wan wan” “Ukiwah” “Keen!”
“Ugh, I am hit!”
It would be frowned upon if a respectable adult did such a deadpan performance, but for a kindergartener, it is palatable.
However, I would like the footage recorded on my father’s phone to be viewed without me.
“We’ve defeated the Oni!”
The sixth Momotaro returns to his second grandfather and second grandmother with the Oni’s treasure as a souvenir.
Every one of them has become a different person from the first parent and child. Momotaro realizes the fact that he is in a much more trouble than when he had to defeat the Oni.
At the end, all the participants bowed together.
It was worth practicing for the play, and the performance was executed perfectly following the script.
I was able to stand out in my entrance scene, and I am satisfied with my performance.
It was a rare occasion for the entire family to be together while we were on the way home.
Furthermore, Kana and the rest of the Tonobe family were with us today.
“Kana-chan’s Momotaro was so adorable!”
“Our princess is cute and also good looking, she’s almost invincible now!”
Kana, who was literally the star of the day, was praised by everyone and she wore a proud expression on her face.
She was smiling as she patted my brother’s head to hide her embarrassment.
“Hijiri performed splendidly as an Oni too, he looked cool as well.”
“Who came here? Try it! Hahahaha!”
Yuya immediately imitated me. I guess that’s how much of an impression I made on him.
Next year, Yuya might be the teachers’ savior.
Now, there is one person here who has yet to give his/her opinion.
Come on, come on, break out of your usual Buddha face and try to make a delightful face.
“You should tell him what you think of it too.”
At the mother’s urging, my father turned his gaze from staring straight ahead to me.
His eyes were very intense, it was not the face of a father who had just watched a school play.
Instead, he looked like a warrior heading to his death…….
“Oh …… it feels like …… your hard work has given me a push. …… Next time, I’ll try to settle things with him.”
“You’re going to try to do it again?”
“Ah, I’m really going for it this time.”
What? What are they talking about?(T/N – I am glad I am not the only one who got confused, for a second I thought I messed up something in my translation)
Who is he talking about?
“If it doesn’t work out next time, I’m going to give up. Hijiri, next time I’ll take you with me.”
So, again, what are you talking about…….
The mystery will soon be solved.
Two weeks later on a Sunday, my father took me to a training camp deep in the mountains.
He stood in the center of the formation and declares.
“From now on, we will begin the extermination of the Oni.”