Life, Once Again! - Chapter 527
Chihwan had almost given up at this point. There were seventeen first year boys in the club. Until now, he and thirteen of them had performed, and each one, including his own performance, was utterly cringe to look at. Just watching them made him feel embarrassed. It felt like there were thirteen antenna towers spreading embarrassment frequencies around him. At first, he could laugh about it, but after thirteen repetitions of that, he felt utterly embarrassed. He wanted someone to put on a good show to relax those expressions on the faces of the film production club. Well, from the way things were going now, such a thing didn’t seem to be possible.
“Thank you for your performance.”
The fellow that just finished scene 14 returned with a bitter smile on his face. Scene 14. It seemed that everyone thought that that scene was cool. Before that fellow, he and seven out of thirteen participants did the same scene. Chihwan wanted to cry because he was reminded of his awkward acting whenever scene 14 replayed in front of him.
“Why did you do scene 14?”
“Because the lines are cool.”
“That’s so simple-minded of you. You did it because it was cool?”
“What did you do then?”
Hearing that question, Chihwan didn’t say anything. That friend of his asked if he did 14 as well in a small voice. He quietly nodded and was given a smack.
Chihwan raised his head when Sora said those words. He saw Maru standing up. The others, who were chatting among themselves, all quietened down as well. Their senior was finally up.
Chihwan watched nervously.
“I am Han Maru, and I’ll do scene 1.”
He thought that he had heard wrong. Scene 1? Chihwan looked at the script. That was the scene where the main character woke up from bed, turned off the alarm, and left the house. There weren’t any lines, not to mention big movements. It was a scene that had nothing to show. There wasn’t anyone until now who chose this scene.
The film production club sitting behind the camera also seemed a little startled by his decision.
“Ah, okay. Please start once you’re ready.”
Maru calmly looked at his script in front of the camera. He didn’t look hurried at all. That was completely different from himself, who acted uneasy when he got in front of the camera. It was then that he realized that he could gain some time by doing that.
After closing the script, Maru said that he’ll start and lied down. When Chihwan looked at just that, he laughed a little, but it also made him realize something.
‘It’s not cringy like before.’
The situation itself was rather funny, but he couldn’t take his eyes off Maru. He was able to watch properly. This was a stark contrast to when he had to look at his awkward friends.
Maru sighed as he reached out with his left hand without looking. He pretended to grab something before stopping. Like that, about 10 seconds passed before he slowly got up.
‘His expression is….’
He subconsciously thought that Maru’s eyes were cloudy. Maru sat down on a chair without any emotions before starting to eat. It was clear that he was eating even though there was nothing there. It wasn’t exaggerated either. A really exhausted kid was just eating food.
Chihwan felt as though he could hear sand being chewed. It was strange. There was nothing there, yet there was. There were plates, food, and water where Maru’s hands were reaching out to. He saw what he was not supposed to. It wasn’t like some precise pantomime or something either. Sometimes, he just awkwardly waved his hand in the air. However, that didn’t look forced at all. It was limitlessly natural.
He stood up from his chair and picked up his bag before leaving. He sat down in a place that was thought to be the shoe area before putting his shoes on. The fidgeting fingers tied his shoelaces several times, before loosening them again. Although he wasn’t that slow doing it, Chihwan thought that that moment was being dragged out endlessly. After standing up slowly, Maru opened the door and left.
Turning around, Maru dusted off his pants before returning to where he originally was. Chihwan was unable to say anything. He realized too clearly how different Maru was.
‘So this is what acting is like.’
Maru-seonbae had shown him acting, and he was busy just following and understanding in his mind.
He wanted to become like that senior – he suddenly had that thought. Although all he did was a sequence of actions without saying anything, Maru was much better than himself, who just talked about something random. Chihwan could clearly tell that something was happening to the main character.
Chihwan reflected on his own performance. He wanted to look cool. After all, the character in that scene was a cool character that had escaped being a loser and had approached a bullied friend. All he had in mind during his fifteen minutes was just that. Although he wasn’t able to show it off properly, he thought that he didn’t take the wrong direction.
However, the moment he saw Maru’s performance, he realized that he was horribly wrong. He couldn’t explain exactly why, but he noticed that his own performance was aiming in the wrong direction. He was reminded of the words that art and pȯrn were different. It was really true.
“Ah… yes. Thank you for that.”
Sora, who always spoke immediately after everyone’s performance ended, paused for quite a long time before speaking this time. Next – she added as she looked at the student sitting next to Maru.
“…Do I have to? I mean, can I do it?”
Those words came from that boy’s mouth.
* * *
Sora was watching the last acting club member. Scene 14. The scene where the main character reached his hand out to the new transfer student. Sora also thought that it was the most important scene in the movie. That was because it was when the main character became the most likable. After this, he would ignore the transfer student and start bullying him instead. The members of the acting club seemed to think the same since many of them chose scene 14.
A film was a series of organically connected flows, but everyone based their act on short context alone. This also couldn’t be helped since they only had 15 minutes to prepare, but as the original creator of this work, she felt quite bitter that her work was expressed in a way she didn’t intend.
‘But despite that.’
Sora looked at the memo on her desk. There were five names on that paper. Since their acting skills were generally on the same level, she picked out people who suited the character based on appearance. The club president, Ando, also didn’t have any problem with that.
However, this list was no longer necessary.
She crumpled the piece of paper before putting it in her pocket. She had already decided. The moment she watched his performance, nothing else came to her mind other than the fact that he was the right one for the job. If anyone disagreed, she was willing to fight that person to maintain her opinion.
“Thank you for your performance. For now, I’ll gather everyone’s judgments.”
Sora collected the notes that she handed out to the watching members of the acting club. At the top were Kang Dowook’s and Ahn Bangjoo’s. Sora looked at theirs first. They were the seniors of the acting club. She was curious about what kind of opinions they gave.
‘They didn’t put any effort into this at all……’
From numbers 1 to 17, the two of them only wrote one line for everyone. They were generally negative as well. Well, Ahn Bangjoo’s was pretty decent. At least he wrote which part he liked, and which part could have been done better.
That was it for Kang Dowook’s paper. He wrote that for numbers 1 through 15. He only wrote something different for number 16, which was Maru.
-Just go with him.
He was blatantly disinterested, but Sora liked that. His thoughts matched hers. Everyone else was no good. Maru-seonbae had to be the main character. She handed over the notes to Ando-seonbae. He made a flustered expression as soon as she handed them over.
Sora then looked at what the girls wrote. Some of the girls even made a list of criteria and scored based on the participants’ performances. This kind of meticulous judging was quite useful. The main character was already decided to be Maru, but a movie wasn’t just created with the main character. The transfer student as well as the original bully were important as well. As long as she based her decisions on the opinions of the majority, the chances of her failing at casting should decrease considerably.
After looking at the notes for a while, Sora spat out a short breath before lifting her head. Although she had already decided on the main character in her heart, she couldn’t just ignore the audition altogether.
“I recommend Han Maru-seonbae,” she said first.
The 2nd year seniors were of the same mind. Sora looked at Daemyung this time. She asked if he had any other opinions and Daemyung shook his head.
“I thought that Maru should be the one to do it from the beginning. It would instead be strange if he lost to the juniors.”
It was decided then. Sora stood up and spoke,
“The main character will be Maru-seonbae.”
She pressed down on the desk with both of her arms and looked at the acting club sitting in front of her.
“If you have any complaints, you can say them now.”
No one said anything.
“Well then, please take care of us in the future, Maru-seonbae,” said Sora as she looked straight into Maru’s eyes.
* * *
“Try to do the read-throughs without looking at the script as much as possible. Starting next week, we are going to plan movement lines. Instructor Miso becomes more strict once we start practicing with movement, so you should be prepared for that.”
Chihwan looked at Maru, who sat in the corner, as he listened to Daemyung’s words. After the mini audition held by the film production club, Maru sat down in a corner as though nothing had happened and started making props again. Chihwan realized that many others were looking at Maru just like him. It was natural. They got to watch how he acted right in front of them. The air he gave off was completely different. They couldn’t help but take glances at him.
‘I only thought that he looked natural when I watched the drama, but now that I think about it again, he fitted into the drama better than anyone else without feeling off.’
Although he originally didn’t watch ‘New Semester’, ever since he entered the acting club and found out that Maru-seonbae was in it, he started watching it for fun. As Maru was a supporting character, he didn’t appear or talk that much when he did, so he never got the feeling that Maru was good at acting. However, he realized after seeing the wordless performance he saw today. He never got the feeling that Maru was good since he looked natural and didn’t seem like he was acting at all.
‘He didn’t look forced at all.’
He was thinking such, when,
“Looks like everyone’s mind is elsewhere right now.”
Daemyung smiled and put down the script. Chihwan immediately came back to himself.
“Maru, can you come over for a bit?”
Daemyung called out to Maru. Chihwan observed Maru, who came with wood glue in hand, in detail. The gloomy expression he had during the wordless performance couldn’t be seen anywhere. He looked like a completely different person due to the discrepancies in emotional states.
“Because everyone’s looking at you,” said Daemyung.
Maru turned around to look at the juniors. Chihwan did not look away when Maru’s eyes were on him.
“Uhm, seonbae-nim!” Chihwan raised his hand and spoke.
Since he spoke up anyway, he decided to do something big.
“I want you to watch my acting.”
“Instructor Miso will be coming tomorrow, so tell her to do that. She has much better judgement than me, and is also a lot better at explaining as well.”
“Uhm, the instructor is… a little scary. Also, I want to show my act to you and get your opinion!”
“From me? Why?”
“I fell for you after I watched you before!”
He realized that he said something rather strange after he uttered those words, but he believed that his true intentions had gotten across. Man to man. Such a thing was supposed to be direct.
“If you’re confessing, I’d like to decline politely. Also, I hope you stay 10 meters away from me from now on.”
“No, that’s not it!” He had shouted in panic when Maru smiled back faintly.
“Ahn Chihwan, right?”
“Go ahead. I’m not sure if I can be of help, but I’ll try.”
As soon as he said those words, the others raised their hands as well.
“Can you have a look at me as well?”
“I’d also like you to watch me.”
“If you have the time, please watch me too!”
Chihwan glared at the others.
“Hey! I’m first!”
He darted off and stood in front of Maru. Maru-seonbae said he liked boxing, and he really had a good build. He realized when he stood in front of him. Although he was a little shorter than him, he looked solid, or maybe his center of gravity was really stable. He felt like he was looking at a tree that sprouted out of a block of concrete.
“Daemyung. Is it okay to do this during practice?”
“It’s fine. This can also be a facet of training. Also, we need to start picking as well.”
Hearing Daemyung’s words, Chihwan gulped. Although they had split up into three groups to practice, more than half of them, no, more than two-thirds of them would not be able to go up on stage. Daemyung was probably referring to the fact that it was about time they selected the actors and started practicing for real.
“Then I guess I can have a look. It’d be good if the girls can do it as well, right?”
“Yeah. Girls, you can perform with the script for the play. As for the boys, you should show Maru what you did for that audition before. Maru will tell you various things.”
“I don’t have that much to say though.”
“Do it anyway. They are our juniors.”
Maru crossed his arms and sat down on the chair. Chihwan felt a completely different kind of nervousness than when he stood in front of the film production club. Maru’s eyes looked scary. He felt like anything uttered from that mouth might make him dizzy.
‘This, this is the real deal!’
If he was going to do it, he might as well do it properly.