Life, Once Again! - Chapter 311
“Are you sure you didn’t get hit for real?” Yoojin asked as she took her eyes off the TV.
“Of course I didn’t. It was planned beforehand.”
“Really? It looks realistic, though.”
Maru felt like he had become a monkey at a zoo. He turned around to the left. The students of Bosung Girls High quickly turned away. Even though he had met eyes with them, they turned around and pretended they were never interested from the beginning. Maru sighed.
Just as Woosung High was about to do their part after Bosung High’s practice, Daemyung talked about the drama in passing. Maru was about to gloss over it, but Yoojin ended up overhearing it. In the end, they turned the TV on and watched the drama together. It was quite embarrassing to watch his own acting with many people at once. This was why monitoring had to be done alone. His face became hot.
“Aren’t we here to practice?” Maru asked Yoojin, since she held the remote.
“You don’t appear anymore?”
“I’m just an extra, so that’s the end of me.”
Yoojin nodded and turned off the TV.
“So? How was it? Your first drama debut.”
“Is this the time for that? Let’s get to practice before it gets too late.”
Maru glanced at Daemyung. Yoojin thought that what Maru said was plausible and told her juniors to clean up.
“But I don’t think there’s anything they can gain from watching us. I mean, they didn’t do bad.”
The play acted out by Bosung Girls High didn’t have any major flaws. It was a play for the festival. There wouldn’t be any problems as long as it was enjoyable to the audience. Maru spotted some trivial mistakes here and there, but those flaws would instead grab the audience’s attention and make them focus more. They weren’t doing a play for a competition but for a festival, so it might look like a good event instead.
“Not bad means not good either, doesn’t it? Since we’re doing it, we should do it perfectly. Don’t you think so?”
Hearing Yoojin’s words, the girls all replied ‘yes’. Although it was past 8 o’clock in the evening, the girls’ concentration did not waver at all. It seemed that they had no intentions of doing things moderately just because it was a festival they were doing the play for. Maru changed his mind seeing their eyes. Since they were giving it their all, his side couldn’t do things moderately either.
“I don’t know if it’s going to be of any reference, but we’ll show you anyway.”
Maru looked at Daemyung. Daemyung looked at all the rest of the members and had them get ready. This was the first time they did ‘I’ve been really wronged’ in a place other than their clubroom.
The first years’ faces were a little flushed. The most stable-looking was Jiyoon. Her personality was changing ever since her family matters were solved. Meanwhile, Aram, who was ever so confident in the clubroom looked very nervous. Normally, she would be joking around and playing pranks, but she hadn’t spoken a word ever since they arrived at this school. Bangjoo was taking calm breaths. Although he had shrunken back slightly, he wasn’t stiff.
Dowook was gulping endlessly. He was the type of person that would become nervous in unexpected situations. He needed to get used to being seen by others.
“This might not be the competition itself, but I wish you can think of it as the real deal.”
Daemyung consoled everyone and told them to take deep breaths. Don’t mind them and just do the usual – were his words.
* * *
“Watch well,” Yoojin spoke to the junior sitting next to her.
This junior played the role of the company employee, the same as Maru. She told her to focus on Maru as an individual rather than the play as a whole. The junior nodded her head carefully.
Although Maru shouldn’t be aware of this, director Choi Joonggeun sometimes mentioned his name after his shoot. The fact that a director of a movie was putting an extra like him in his mind was something out of the ordinary. Additionally, who was director Choi Joonggeun? He was a star movie director that produced several hit works one after the other. He was remembered by such a man, so he must have been great back there. He should also have improved from when he did the read-through.
Yoojin leaned against a wall and watched Woosung High’s play. Unlike practice, there were a few hiccups here and there. The mistakes mostly came from the first years. It was an unnoticeable mistake for those that didn’t know the play, but even Dowook made a mistake.
Meanwhile, Daemyung showed very stable acting skills. Although he was usually shy, he switched into a completely different person once he started acting. The way he crossed his legs and yawned was without a doubt a lazy policeman.
Compared to Maru, however, Daemyung’s presence was definitely more faint. She turned her gaze to Maru, who was suppressing his voice slightly at the center of the stage. If other people were asked ‘what do you think that actor’s age is’ after Maru dressed up in a suit and covered his face, anyone would reply that he was in his late forties. It felt so disconcerting that a high school student had an expression befitting of someone that age. It would in fact sound more realistic if he was a middle-aged man wearing special makeup to look young.
He was that natural. It didn’t feel like he was acting at all. No matter how stable Daemyung looked during acting, it was noticeable that he was a high school student acting. The others didn’t even need mentioning. They were obvious.
It was just Maru that was different from others. He became one with his role – this expression couldn’t fit better than in a situation like this. The only flaw, if there was any, was that he looked too young. How could he be so good?
‘Also, he’s even better now that it’s not practice.’
Ordinarily, it’s easier to bring out one’s fullest skills in a comfortable environment. The audience’s gaze was that scary. The pressure given off by those watching would make most people flinch back.
However, Maru seemed to take that pressure as his motivation instead. Perhaps he was someone that became better under pressure.
She had originally invited Woosung High to help out her juniors, but now she thought that she was instead doing the opposite. Her original intention was for her juniors to watch Woosung High’s completed play and find their own flaws, and improve on themselves, just like how singers would listen to guide songs and eventually make the song theirs. She thought that her juniors were smart and were plenty capable of doing that, and it seemed that it was true to a certain extent as well. However, she felt that it wouldn’t be helping the junior that had the same role as Maru.
She would be able to gain some confidence and strive to do better if the target was someone within reach, but it was likely that her confidence would waver instead if she was seeing someone that was way out of her league. Yoojin had a glance at the junior sitting next to her. She was one ambitious junior. She had taken one of the major roles for the winter acting competition. She had enough skills to match her ambition, but she had a very serious look on her face right now. It didn’t look like she was understanding anything. She looked like she was looking at something foreign.
“Let’s just watch. He’s a strange one. So just think of him as an anomaly.”
In the end, she had to change her words. She felt that the knowledge her junior had complied until now regarding acting would collapse if she told her to try imitating him.
The words Yoojin heard the most when getting acting lessons from her instructor was to not follow things that she couldn’t catch up to. A sparrow wasn’t capable of catching up to an eagle. Looking at the peak at the bottom of the mountain and then climbing would tire one out very easily. People needed to focus on closer objectives like reaching the next tree. Only then would one arrive at the top of a mountain.
Yoojin’s junior couldn’t accept it for a moment, but she had to. It was after she had seen Maru’s monologue.
Maru, who was supposed to be doing things ‘moderately’ was looking as though he was about to swallow everyone whole. Yoojin wondered how that was ‘moderate’ at all. She was thankful that he was putting in his full effort, but thanks to that, she killed her junior’s motivation. Now she wanted to ask him to do things moderately. He was even better than during practice, which made her laugh awkwardly.
“Hm, was that of any help?” Daemyung asked after they finished.
Yoojin saw that her juniors’ expressions weren’t that good. It was natural – they were lacking compared to Woosung High.
“Of course. Thanks to you, I think we can improve ourselves for the festival.”
“Really? That’s good. Though, we shouldn’t be that much different since we made mistakes as well.”
Daemyung scratched his head as he laughed.
“Are we done here?” Maru asked.
Yoojin crossed her arms. It was just past 9. There was still some time until the last train.
“Can I ask you for one more thing?”
Maru looked like he clearly couldn’t be bothered. His will to go home now that his work was done was clear for everyone to see. Yoojin quickly looked at Daemyung.
When Daemyung gave the permission, Maru sighed as though he had given up.
“I want you to tell us our good points and bad points. Even trivial things are okay. These girls have never received feedback from people other than their colleagues. It won’t take long. I want everyone to say just a few words.”
There weren’t that many acting competitions targeted towards high school students. Although there was quite a number nationwide, due to regional restrictions there was a limited number of competitions students could participate in each year. The most well-known one was the National Youth Acting Competition that was held once in the summer and once in the winter. Only a portion of the 40 people in the club could stand on such a stage. The rest would all be staff members.
Thanks to that, there weren’t that many opportunities to show their skill in front of others. Among the first years gathered here, there might be some of them that might not get to stand on stage even until they graduate. After all, Bosung Girls High was strict when it came to who could go up on stage.
Thanks to that, an opportunity where they could get feedback was quite important, especially if the ones giving them criticism were people like Maru and Daemyung, who had great analytical skills. She could give her opinions as well, but it wouldn’t give as much stimulus as other people saying it.
“Everyone did so well though….”
Daemyung spoke as he looked at her juniors. It seemed like he was put in a tight spot. Yoojin asked again. Only then did Daemyung accept saying that it might be something trivial.
* * *
Chaerim got in the car driven by her manager.
“Shall we go?”
The other members had already returned to the residence. It had been two years since they debuted. Their first song, which had a ‘cheerful girlfriend’ theme to it received much more love from the public than the initial expectations. The president of her agency said that they would be able to stand and sing on a big stage after two years of hard work, but they took first place in a public TV station's music programs just three months after they debuted; in all three channels as well. Thanks to that people often said that the top male idol group was TTO while the top female idol group was BLUE.
After the unexpected sudden success, they went around the country singing in various places. It was then that Chaerim found out that there were so many colleges in the country. The president of her agency said that they would receive backlash if they acted like superstars just because they became famous instantly, and scheduled all sorts of events, and thanks to that, they very rarely even met their parents for a whole year after their debut. In fact, their parents came to their residence and consoled them from time to time.
Thanks to the one year of a busy schedule, she rarely had time to go to school. Just as she had almost forgotten the faces of her classmates, she transferred to Myunghwa High School upon the recommendation of the president. It was a school commuted by many students that were also celebrities, and it was one of the few schools that acknowledged attendance for leaves that was due to a celebrity’s schedule. Of course, not going at all was no good, but there was definitely more liberty than her previous school.
Even in Myunghwa High School, she was a superstar. At first, she was pressured and was scared by such gazes, but she became used to it after a year.
While most people of her age trembled because of the approaching college exams, she trembled because of her packed schedule.
The gazes of people that made her flinch now made her smile instead. She couldn’t feel happier that she was at the center of attention. The president of her agency told her that it was the qualities of a celebrity. In the drama she started recently, she was given a lot of insults at first due to her lack of skill, but now, more and more people were cheering for her instead. The presents given to her by the fans started increasing as well. This meant that the public’s interest in her was growing. Before, it was just the people of her age that recognized her, but ever since she started shooting the drama as one of the main characters, the a.d.u.l.ts recognized her as well. She felt happy every day since she felt that she was expanding her domain.
Chaerim rested her chin against her palm and looked outside the window. In the drama episode that aired today, she had a lot of appearances. It was an episode that briefly showed the romantic interests of the two main characters. She visited the school because she slightly wanted to boast about the fact that she was acting together with two boys from quite popular idol bands. She had gone out of her way to visit. She wanted the acting club to praise her and wanted them to be envious of her for meeting male actors.
However, it didn’t go as she had intended, and she didn’t like that. On TV was her figure, yet the others were looking at someone else. It pissed her off that things didn’t go according to her plan.
“Oppa, can you turn on the radio?”
Chaerim thought about the girl that looked like she was in a tough spot but eventually shook her head. They weren’t comparable at all. That girl was just a student in an acting club in a high school while she was an idol loved by many. Yes, they weren’t comparable at all.