Life, Once Again! - Chapter 361
After the curtain call, the lights turned on for the audience. The regionals had ended. Maru looked at his juniors who looked happy. They finished the play without mistakes. It wasn’t that surprising that they were happy.
“Is something up?”
“No, why do you ask?”
“Because your expression looks rigid.”
Hearing Aram’s words, Maru faintly smiled.
“It’s because the lights are too strong.”
“Let’s clean up quickly for now. The next team is coming up.”
“Yes!” Aram shouted with joy.
Maru carried some chairs down the stage. He was relieved that their play did not have any mistakes, and he was also proud as a senior to see that his juniors had gotten better.
“It was a little lacking for you, wasn’t it?”
Maru turned his head around when he heard that voice. Daemyung had spoken to him with his hands full of luggage. He was really sharp. When they finished the play and greeted the audience, Maru only felt a small sense of achievement like having finished his homework. This was not a small stage. It was a very big stage where hundreds of people were watching the play. However, if he was asked whether he found it challenging, Maru couldn’t answer clearly. For his juniors, this stage might still be a breath-taking space. For them, it had to be a stage where they were walking on a tightrope, not allowed to make any mistakes. As a senior of the first years, he couldn’t say that the play wasn’t challenging.
However, personally speaking, it felt different. There was no pressure on him at all. It might be a good thing. After all, it meant that he was just that used to it. As a senior, he was able to lead his juniors without difficulty.
It was nothing to complain about, but Maru still found it to be a pity. The majority of the audience that came to watch today did not look forward to the plays. After all, they just came because they had an acquaintance in one of the plays, or their school told them to, or perhaps because it was free, so they just randomly decided to.
Looking at the gazes of the audience from the audience seats allowed him to feel the general atmosphere. He could not feel it before, but he could clearly feel it now. Most of the audience did not have any interest in the plays themselves.
“Hey, when’s our school’s turn?”
“I don’t know.”
“Should we just run for it?”
“I heard they’ll be checking attendance afterwards.”
“Ah, that’s annoying! Geez, what’s up with all this even though it’s the holidays?”
“This is homework. What can we do about it? Rather than that, wanna go to the PC-bang after this?”
“Of course yes. Let’s make teams with the people here and have a match. Losing team has to pay for the PC-bang.”
The majority of the conversations from the audience were like that. It was a high school acting festival. The only ones that were interested were the participating schools. No, it couldn’t even be considered interest. Like what they were saying, it was just homework.
The stage, the actors, and the audience. These were the three elements of theater. If there was no one to watch, a play cannot exist. Watching. Before, Miso had said that the synergy between the actors and the audience was important. The stage was something that the actors created, but the ones that decided whether the stage is successful or not is the audience. The more focused and reactive the audience was, the more vitality the stage would have. The actors would then be able to show acting that was beyond their full capabilities. That was the power of the audience.
“It’s not like we can help it,” Daemyung said as he looked at the audience seats.
He was right, it couldn’t be helped. It was just a little bit of a pity. Just like how they did not take the plays seriously, the stage would become light as well. Although they were acting, it did not feel any fun. A stage without any excitement was just boring.
“As expected of a semi-professional.”
Daemyung smiled as he walked out. Maru just sighed before starting to move the props.
* * *
The lecture room was dark. That was because the beam projector just turned off. Miso turned on the lights. In front of her were three people. They were all those that wished to make a living as an actor. The academy in Gangnam, Film. Here, students aiming for universities couldn’t be found. This academy was solely created for the people that wanted to work in the field.
“There are many reasons that make a masterpiece a masterpiece. Direction, music, script, adaptation, outfits, makeup, editing. Among them, the actors aren’t actually entitled to do many things. Despite that, people look for good actors. That’s because the actors can fill in the parts that can’t be made up for with technology.”
Miso looked at the man sitting on the right. Ahn Sungjae. Every South Korean in their teens to thirties would know his name. After all, he was a member of TTO. Miso was also surprised at first to find out that he was in this class. Idols-turned-actors usually learned acting for a short period. That was because they needed to make the most out of their popularity while they were still popular before quitting. Yet, an idol like him was in this class where they started off from the basics. That was why she did some research. According to the other instructors in the academy, there was no one more passionate about acting than Sungjae among the ones that applied to this academy.
“Why are you trying to go into acting, Mr. Sungjae?”
“I’ve always liked acting without any reason since I was young. I was prepared to do anything if it was for that.”
“Without any reason, huh.”
“Next, Mr. Moon Gwangseok. Why are you going into acting?”
“Me? Uhm, because I have talent. I think so.”
“Aha, because you have talent. Alright.”
Miso then walked to the girl sitting next to Gwangseok.
“How about you, Miss Choi Gyunglim? Why do you act?”
“I started acting in order to change myself.”
“What do you mean by changing yourself?”
“It’s just as it sounds. I started acting because I want to become a different person.”
Miso stood between the three of them.
“What rumors have you heard about this academy, Film?”
“A place that only people that can concentrate on acting can come.”
That answer came from Sungjae.
“The place with the most expensive tuition fee in Gangnam.”
That was from Gwangseok.
“The place with the most actor connections.”
The final answer came from Gyunglim.
“You’re all correct. Film is among the top three acting schools among the numerous acting schools located in Gangnam. It is also known for its expensive lesson fees like what you said, Mr. Gwangseok. One of the big reasons people compete to come to this place even with that expensive lesson fee and competition is, as Miss Gyunglim said, because of the actors' infrastructure.”
Miso crossed her arms as she continued.
“In order to become a good actor, you need a lot of experience. If you have a look at some of your seniors that are doing well in the industry, they all had experienced some hardsh.i.p.s in their life. That’s not a coincidence. Nothing makes you experience a variety of things like hardsh.i.p.s in life. You describe people that had an easy life as ‘sheltered’, right? Such people cannot become actors.”
She brought a chair and sat down. The eyes of the three people in front of her were intense. They were all filled with the motivation to learn.
“I told you that there are many reasons why masterpieces are called such, right? Actors are the same. In order to have value, you need many elements. In this class, I’m going to force on you many different experiences. Some of them might be very random, and you might not understand why you’re doing them. I’ll say this beforehand. Do it anyway. Ask me why after you do it. I will not tolerate you complaining beforehand.”
Miso stood up from her seat. That was enough for a greeting and a warning.
“I am going to use polite speech as much as possible during class. However, I can’t guarantee it. I might curse at you. If you are the type to start spasming if you hear someone swear at you, I recommend you switch classes immediately.”
She looked at the three sitting in front of her.
“I’m not switching.”
“I applied for this class precisely because I heard you were back, instructor Miso. There is no way I’m quitting.”
“I’m not quitting either.”
The three were very motivated. At least their answers were good.
“Good. I’m also a little excited because I haven’t come to the academy in a long time. Have you gotten to know each other yet?”
Hearing that, the three of them looked at each other awkwardly. Gwangseok and Gyunglim were clearly distancing themselves from Sungjae. Well, it was understandable since he was an idol. Meanwhile, Gwangseok and Gyunglim just looked at each other awkwardly before ignoring each other.
“You two know each other?”
“We met as minor actors at a shoot once,” Gwangseok spoke.
Gyunglim nodded in agreement.
“I don’t think you get along.”
“Us? Not at all. Gyunglim is just shy, we’re actually on good terms. We even went out and drank together after the shoot. Isn’t that right, Gyunglim?”
“We drank together, but it’s not like we’re on good terms.”
There was a moment of cold silence. Gwangseok smiled awkwardly.
“Miss Gyunglim. You’re quite proud of yourself. You’re also the type to speak what’s on your mind.”
“Then why do you seem to lack confidence? You need to look at the other person when you’re talking to them.”
Hearing that, Gyunglim looked at Gwangseok. However, she couldn’t look at him for long.
“I won’t tell you to get along. You’re all a.d.u.l.ts and you know what’s good for you. Well then, let’s finish the introductions here and take a break before we start.”
* * *
Gyunglim looked at Miso, who was sitting with a coffee cup in hand. Miso was a woman filled with dignity from top to bottom. She might not have shined as an actor, but she was one of the best teachers around. Although the lesson fee was expensive, many people said that she was worth every penny, so Gyunglim applied to it despite having to push her finances.
‘Rather than that, TTO, huh.’
On the first day of class, she was surprised to see Sungjae sitting in the class when she opened the door to the lecture room. She wasn’t a fan of TTO, so she wasn’t overly agitated, but she did feel a little strange when she thought about how one of the greatest idols in the country was taking the same class as her.
Just when she was dazing out on her seat, Gwangseok came in. The idiot that lived on his ego. That was her impression of Gwangseok. She didn’t even want to greet him, but she couldn’t entirely ignore him so she just greeted him with her eyes. Gwangseok also didn’t seem to feel good to see her.
“I hope we can get along,” Sungjae spoke then.
She thought that he would be rather arrogant since he was an idol, but he didn’t have any of that attitude.
“Of course. Oh, how old are you? I’m twenty-one this year,” Gwangseok asked.
“Me? I’m twenty-six.”
“Then I guess you’re Sungjae-hyung. I listen to your music all the time. All of the girls I know are your fans. Oh, can I just call you hyung?”
“Then you can talk to me without being polite as well. I’ve always wanted to be brothers with an idol. Since we’re in this class together, let’s get close. How about it?”
“Haha, alright. Then let’s do that. Oh, Miss Gyunglim, was it?”
Gyunglim looked at Sungjae and nodded. She felt like she had to state her age here. Just as she was about to speak, Gwangseok interrupted.
“She’s Choi Gyunglim and she’s twenty years old. She’s like a sister to me. I guess that clears up the hierarchy.”
Gyunglim glared at Gwangseok a little. Gwangseok turned his head and smiled at her after feeling her gaze. He hadn’t changed his habit of interpreting everything however he wanted to. He was really dislikeable.
“But Sungjae-hyung. You appear in Twilight Struggles, right?”
“Oh, you know that?”
“I actually took the audition for that and failed by just a tiny bit. It was such a pity. I wasn’t in a good condition back then, so I couldn’t bring out my full capabilities. If I passed back then, I would’ve met you on set.”
“Really? That’s a pity.”
“Hey, you and I are quite connected. Hahaha.”
Gyunglim was flabbergasted when she saw Gwangseok laughing like that.
“Like hell, you’re connected,” she spoke.
The two immediately looked at her. She realized her mistake, but it couldn’t be helped. She couldn’t unsay something. Moreover, Miso also said that there was no need to stay close.
“She’s quite a picky girl as you see. Please be understanding.”
“Looks like you two are on good terms, playing jokes on each other like that.”
“Of course! My sociability is top-notch, so I haven’t seen anyone that hates me until now. I also got close with a picky girl like Gyunglim in a short time. Rather than that, Sungjae-hyung, have you seen a lot of actresses in your career as an idol?”
Gyunglim looked at Gwangseok for a while before falling silent. She didn’t even want to face him. She decided that she should talk to Sungjae when that chatterbox wasn’t here. Actually, Gyunglim had been feeling Sungjae’s gaze for a while now. The way he looked at her was out of the ordinary. Did he perhaps have feelings for her? She smiled faintly. Boys always gave signals like that, and she always noticed such signals quickly.
‘I must be quite charming.’
She stroked her side hair behind her ears and smiled faintly. Would this excite him a little? Thinking about how Sungjae would be looking at her right now, she tried to act calm.
 Due to the influence of Confucianist culture, and the characteristics of the Korean language in general, people have the habit of clearing up the age hierarchy when they meet for the first time.