Life, Once Again! - Chapter 452
“Then I’ll sing a song. I wrote this myself, and the title is Salary Day.”
The audience smiled after hearing the title. Maru also became a part of the audience for this moment instead of being an actor on stage and watched the man playing the guitar. The reason the man started playing guitar was simple. Ganghwan had found him playing the guitar on the staircase opposite to their performance and brought him to the stage. The man was confused at first, but when the audience started applauding, he started playing the guitar, and when the audience asked for more after his first piece, he got into position again.
Salary day. The way the music started off with a cheerful rhythm but became stiff and slow in the later parts was probably meant to represent people’s hearts when looking at the drying out account balance. The lyrics of the song mostly talked about ordinary d.e.s.i.r.es to buy what the character wanted. It was a good song that people could listen to with ease and sigh about.
“I’ve never heard a better song than this during my 30 years as a doctor. Just why did you come to this hospital?”
After the song ended, Ganghwan naturally had the musician participate in the play. The man, who hugged his guitar like he would a child, blinked his eyes several times before carefully speaking.
“I lack confidence.”
The man who was filled with vitality as he sang in front of the audience turned into a man full of embarrassments the moment the song ended. He couldn’t turn his head towards the audience and kept looking at Ganghwan.
“Confidence, you say? Wait a minute. This is not something I can diagnose by myself, so I’ll ask for some help. Hello, what do the other doctors think? Mister Street Poet here lacks confidence.”
“I don’t think that’s true at all.”
A woman who had a blanket over her legs spoke in a big voice. People in the audience exclaimed.
“Well, well. If it isn’t Doctor Lee, the emotional therapist?”
“My surname is Kim though.”
“Ah, yes, doctor Kim. I have a bad memory. Since you’re here, why don’t you diagnose our Mr. I-don’t-have-any-confidence-poet here?”
“Confidence? It’s nothing much. Just do what you did just now. You looked like you were full of confidence when you were playing the guitar just now,” the woman said in a firm tone.
“There you have it. How was it? Did that help you?” Ganghwan asked the man.
“Ah, yeah, well…,” the man smiled as he replied.
The woman put away the blanket as though she was frustrated with this man and stood up before walking to the stage. Ganghwan didn’t stop her and instead induced everyone to applaud. The audience started applauding.
“I really don’t have any confidence either. It’s to the point that I wonder if people are badmouthing me behind my back as soon as I leave a conversation. No matter what I did, I never became proactive. Actually, ‘showing off’ is such a popular term in our country, right? Even if you try to do something, you have no choice but to shut up if the people around you tell you ‘why are you showing off so much?’, right?”
“Oh, my. Doctor Kim. There are other doctors around so please watch your words. Consider the young doctor sitting over there.”
Ganghwan pointed at a child who came with their parents. The woman sighed.
“Anyway. It’s because you care about things like that, that you start losing confidence in yourself. I thought that I couldn’t help it. I mean, you don’t live in this world by yourself. You need to think about the people next to you and act in a way that doesn’t make them uncomfortable. But when I thought about it, I became really angry. I mean, it’s not like I’m committing a crime or anything, so why do I need anyone to tell me what I need to do?”
The woman became emotional and stomped on the ground. The people that seemed to be her colleagues shouted ‘that’s right’ from the audience.
“From that moment, I decided to be bold. But you know how things are – just making up your mind doesn’t change anything. That’s why I started taking action. If I didn’t like something, I voiced it out, and if I thought that someone was badmouthing me, I would go up and ask. I would raise my voice louder than usual and reject it if someone asks me to do something I didn’t like. At first, I felt really sorry. I felt like a lot of people were giving me weird gazes. But once you continuing that for a while, you feel your environment change. That woman isn’t a showoff, but someone who has confidence in herself. That’s when I realized that repetition was what was important. Also that taking action is the most important thing. Shouting at people to have more confidence in themselves is really not helpful at all.”
The woman calmed down her breathing after her speech. She looked like a sprinter who had finished a short sprint. Maru clicked his tongue. She managed to speak clearly in front of nearly 130 people without shaking at all. Her fights, whether they be big or small, with her environment should have made her who she is.
However, not everyone agreed with her.
“Right? She’s such a showoff.”
There were some people that didn’t look at her in a good way. Of course, the sarcastic remarks were so quiet that only Maru, who sat right next to them, could hear them. Their voice would not reach the woman speaking her heart out on the stage.
Amidst the audience, Maru looked around and g.r.o.a.n.e.d slightly. He could tell that people were visibly decreasing. Whether they didn’t like the woman’s strong speech, or they lost interest, or they were going home due to the late hours, he didn’t know, but it was true that more people were walking away than when they were still doing a comedic skit.
Even Ganghwan, who at first welcomed the woman’s participation, became visibly awkward when she talked for too long. The man with the guitar looked tired. What was fortunate was that the woman seemed to have noticed the atmosphere as well as she started wrapping things up.
It was good that she participated, but it would be bad if this turned into a speech of sorts when it was supposed to be a play. They had to keep this in mind during the official runs. The objective of this play was to break the barrier between the stage and the audience and talk about various things with various people. It was ultimately designed to be a refuge for people who couldn’t get consolation from anywhere. This was what Ganghwan said during lunch.
Ganghwan asked the audience to applaud the musician and the woman. Maru also clapped amidst the audience.
“Shall we get going?”
“Yeah, it’s getting cold.”
Maru looked at the time as he watched some of the audience leave. It was 8 past 10. It had been more than two hours since they started the play and listened to people’s stories. As this was a trial run, there was the case with that woman just now who broke the flow, but the overall mood seemed pretty decent. Though, they didn’t manage to get people to share their sadness since the comedic theme played a large role.
“Doctor! You’re ditching work again!”
Hanna’s voice could be heard. It seemed that she was wrapping things up. They had also shown most of what they had, so it would be fine to finish off things here.
Maru walked around and asked the members of the audience what they thought of the play today, and if there was anything they could improve on. Sooil was probably doing the same thing on the other side of the stage.
“It’s good that we got to talk together, but it was a little boring when there was nothing going on.”
“You mean when no one volunteered to come up to the stage, right?”
Maru nodded his head. The man also said that the blankets and the heaters were well prepared. He also added that he wouldn’t be here in this weather if it weren’t for those two items.
“We’re also planning to prepare tea next time, so please come around. Also, you should share your worries with us. Thank you for your opinion.”
He asked for the consideration of the people leaving and kept gathering opinions. Although the majority of people had positive comments, some said that it was too all over the place. Since this was a play with audience participation, the progression wasn’t that smooth, and it seemed like that was what annoyed them.
“Would you be willing to participate if we talked about more honest stories here?”
“Yes, think of it as a consultation.”
“If it’s like that, I would have to reconsider. It’s difficult to talk about myself in front of all these people after all.”
“Ah, alright. Thank you for your opinion.”
Most people seemed to find that difficult.
This was a problem. At this rate, it was likely that Ganghwan’s wishes wouldn’t come true. If it was just for advertising purposes, this was fine, but it was far from what Ganghwan wanted.
They had to find a way to get it started. Maru wondered if they should plant a spy like Ganghwan first talked about.
Just then, he saw a man in his late 30s or perhaps early 40s standing with a can of coffee in his hands. The man who had a wide forehead was wearing a worn-out vest, and some old-looking jeans. That man was staring at the stage in a daze, and for some reason, he looked desolate.
“Uhm, excuse me. May I have a word with you?”
“Hm? Ah, sure.”
“Did you watch the play?”
“Yes, I did. You were good. It was a lot of fun.”
“Thank you. Was there perhaps anything you liked or were disappointed about?”
“Hm, I’m not sure. I didn’t have any time to think about things like that. It’s such a good stage, and the actors look like they’re enjoying themselves as well.”
The man awkwardly smiled and scratched his forehead.
“You know, I’m also an actor.”
“Oh, you were an actor. Then I guess that makes me your junior.”
Just then, an applause could be heard. Ganghwan and Hanna, who walked amidst the people, clapped each other’s hands and laughed. The audience around them started clapping, and the man with the guitar started playing. The stage for a play instantly became a stage for a ball. More and more people gathered when they looked at the group. The watchers became participants and started dancing lightly.
Seeing that, the man Maru was talking to, looked at the group of people with a face that looked like a smile, no a face that looked like he was crying.
Maru was unable to say anything when he saw that.
“An actor that is loved is really good.”
The man lowered his head and turned around. Maru watched the man’s back as he left before walking towards him.
“If it’s okay, would you like to share your story?”
“Story? What story?”
“Your story. Anything is fine. I just, want to listen to you.”
“I don’t have any stories to tell in a fun situation like this.”
“It doesn’t matter. No, I’m not telling you that you have to tell me your story. You’re an actor, aren’t you? There’s a stage right there. It might be small, but it’s pretty decent.”
The stage was filled with lights from mobile phones and the sound of music guitar, while the audience seats had no lights due to the broken street lamps and very faint music sound at best. Maru spoke to the man who stood on the border.
This man seemed to have a lot of stories with him. Maru didn’t grab the man just because he simply wanted to listen to his stories. Honestly speaking, he wanted to use this man’s stories to his advantage. He felt like this man had touching stories that would work on the people. He felt like someone was calling him a cruel mastermind, but what could he do about it? People didn’t care about others that didn’t say anything, they only cared about people that screeched for attention.
Since they were doing this play, he wanted it to be a big issue. Although this was a trial run, if the people gathered here talked about this play to other people, the official run would become even bigger.
“Don’t you need a stage?” He reached out to the man as he asked.