Here's a sight you may not expect at a kabuki performance: A blue-haired boy bolts toward a massive snake that writhes menacingly on stage. He brings his sword down on the beast, slicing it into sections that fall apart dramatically. I thought a kabuki performance would've been a bit less extravagant, but actor Nakamura Hayato says a scene like this isn't entirely out of place.

"Giant snakes definitely appear in kabuki," he says, adding that there are many different styles of the traditional Japanese performance art. The kind that he and co-star Bando Minosuke are currently acting in? Pop culture kabuki, more specifically the tale of "Naruto."

"I did wonder how they were going to express some parts of the script in a kabuki fashion," Hayato says. "Then I watched videos (of the rehearsals) and I was able to see how the characters and scenes I knew from the manga were being interpreted for a kabuki setting. It was exciting."