Life, Once Again! - Chapter 625
-Then I’ll leave this on, so practice as much as you want. I’ll also leave the power cable attached, so you can press this button to shoot whenever you want. There’s a video overwrite function built in, so you can reshoot, but if you do it more than three times, there will be noise in the video. Bear that in mind. Then Haejoo, I’m leaving. Junmin-hyungnim, also….
The screen slowly moved. Haejoo and Junmin became further away from the center and a man standing in the right corner was captured by the camera.
-Joongjin-hyungnim. I’ll be leaving first.
-Okay, Jincheol. Thanks for your work.
The young Jincheol put his face close to the lens and waved once before pointing the camera back at Joongjin and Haejoo again. Bye – Jincheol’s distant voice was caught by the microphone.
-Joongjin-oppa. Don’t just stand there and come here.
-I’m okay. I’m fine with watching from here. Also, don’t mind me when you practice.
-There’s a person, so how can we not mind? You’re a precious guest, so come here.
Haejoo left the screen. A moment later, some metal clashing sounds could be heard right next to the camera. It seemed that they were setting up some metal chairs.
-Try moving next to the camera. That’s where we can see you the best.
-Don’t thank us. It’s us who should be thankful. Then Junmin-ahjussi, shall we start?
Hearing the word ‘ahjussi’, Junmin faintly smiled, but soon returned to his stiff face.
-Did you practice what I told you yesterday?
Haejoo went up on stage. The lights on the stage slowly turned dim. It seemed that there were other people helping out with their practice other than the three people on stage. Maru turned up the volume with the remote. When he did, he could hear some small sounds from a conversation. It was from the rest of the theater troupe.
-Before you start, draw a clear picture of what you want to do. I want to laugh, I want to cry, I want to be angry. It can only begin with showing a relatively simple emotion. Don’t try to do something complex. Do it one by one, like you’re learning to walk.
-Okay, I know that much.
-If you do, then show me.
Haejoo coughed a few times before starting to get her emotions together. Maru rested his chin on his hands and watched Haejoo on the screen. He once again realized that the energy given off by this Jung Haejoo was tremendous. Her expressions and actions made other people focus on her. Separately, they were nothing special, but after combining them together, Jung Haejoo had turned into a charming person. That charm multiplied when Haejoo was on stage.
However, it was still the person herself that gave off the fun and enjoyable aura; it couldn’t be said to be from her acting. When Junmin instructed her to express joy, she was flawless but other than that, there were still parts that were lacking. It was incredibly good to watch, but if he was asked if she was perfect in regards to acting, he would tilt his head.
-How is it?
-It’s good to look at.
-Yes. It’s good to look at. Like a doll. You know, those things that make you smile when you see them on a display. However, if you keep looking at them, you’ll eventually get bored of them. That’s because dolls only smile. An actor who only excels in one area is just like a doll.
-As always, you say stuff that hurts others without batting an eyelid.
-…Sorry about that.
Maru couldn’t get used to seeing this Junmin. He looked at Junmin’s figure from the side, as captured by the camera. He was slightly embarrassed, but he apologized without the slightest hesitation. He could see just how much Junmin cherished Haejoo from how he consoled Haejoo after saying harsh words. If he didn’t care about her, he wouldn’t have said those harsh words in the first place. Whether then or now, Junmin always talked only to people with potential after all. It was slightly strange to see him apply ointment to a wound after lashing out, but Haejoo, who didn’t lose a word against him, was also quite impressive.
-What was the problem this time?
-I say this every time, but you look like you’re enjoying it too much.
-Can’t I? I’m doing something I like, so of course I’d be enjoying it.
-That’s your business. The people watching you are there to indirectly experience the story through you. The actress they’re supposed to be in the shoes of though, looks like she’s enjoying it regardless of the flow of the play. Of course their immersion would break.
-So, did your immersion break?
-Honestly speaking, it made me keep watching you. That’s your charm after all.
-Did you get fed up with me while watching?
-No, in fact, it felt refreshing.
-Doesn’t that mean that there’s no problem then?
-You, the person, won’t have any problems. The person known as Jung Haejoo will be loved by all. However, you’ll never become big as an actress. People will look for you not for your acting, but just as a celebrity. You might be able to shoot countless commercials. All the major companies will call out to you, and you’ll become busy to the point that you won’t have any time.
-No way. Aren’t you going too far with that?
-No, I believe that you will become like that. If you debut in your current state.
-I’ll earn a lot of money, huh.
-You will. Your image will be very effective in advertising products. People will like you, and therefore will feel positive towards the products that have your image. You will become successful, at least.
-But you’re saying that I will be successful not as an actress but as a celebrity, am I right?
-That’s how things will go. The market just works that way. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to keep acting. You’ll get numerous scripts. However, you won’t be able to play the roles you want, nor would there be roles that you could digest. A director who only chases money will use you, but those who want to make their work a piece of art won’t use an imperfect actress who only excels in one area.
Maru nodded. That was the correct notion. In the movie field alone, there were numerous celebrities who kept working in the advertising field without shooting any movies at all. It wasn’t that they were wrong to do so. Their value was acknowledged, or they had an image that was preferred by the advertising companies. That was why they were called by the advertising companies, and the actors just simply responded. Of course, someone might ask if it was correct to call someone who only worked in the advertising field without appearing in dramas or movies an ‘actor’, but considering the limitations of the occupation of an actor, as well as the reality that there was no precise definition of it, it was just a shout in the void.
However, Haejoo wanted to live as an actress. Not as an advertising star, but as an actress who does good acting. Junmin just responded to her wishes. He was saying that she was no good as she was now.
-Can you try again?
-Sure. Uhm, Gwangsoo-oppa! Fix the lights just like this. Also, you can go home first. I can clean up afterwards. The rest of you can go home too. Don’t keep watching this terrible acting and go rest at home. Ahn Joohyun, you too.
-I have plenty of time!
Joohyun’s voice could be heard from outside the frame. After that, Haejoo did a few more skits. Whenever she did, Junmin gave her directions, but Haejoo’s acting did not visibly become better. Maru could feel just how hard it was for someone who had a strong unique energy about themselves to hide it. Actors had to show themselves perfectly to the audience, yet paradoxically wear a mask at the same time. For someone who naturally made other people smile, he or she would have to learn to hide first in order to make others cry.
Just as he was concentrating on the video, he heard a choke next to him. Jiseok, who was sleeping on the sofa, snored heavily before becoming quiet again. He shouldn’t have sleep apnea at his age, but Maru still put his ears against his face, and heard that Jiseok was still breathing properly. Daemyung, who was sleeping by the window, was now sleeping with his stomach exposed. He had long since kicked the duvet away.
-Is this how I do it?
The volume from the TV suddenly became louder. Maru quickly turned the volume down. The camera, which showed the stage from the front until just moments ago, felt like it was tilted to the right slightly. It seemed that they turned off the camera once before turning it back on again.
-Are you really not leaving? It’s ten o’clock already.
-I’m going to stay a little longer.
Joohyun said while yawning softly. It seemed that the person handling the camera was Junmin as his face suddenly appeared in front of the camera. He nodded in satisfaction.
-I think it’s working.
-Then let’s start again. Are you going to keep staying here as well, Joongjin-oppa? Don’t you need to go to work?
-It’s okay. I’ll go after I watch just a little more.
-Well, okay then.
10 p.m., huh. Quite a lot of time had passed. Haejoo went up on stage again. She looked slightly tired as she smiled at the camera. Assuming that she kept practicing even after the camera was turned off, it meant that she had been practicing for five hours now. It was no wonder that she was tired.
-Let’s stop here today.
Junmin spoke first.
-What are you saying? There’s still plenty of time.
-It’s too late. We have tomorrow and the day after that. We can just take it slow.
-Ahjussi, you know what? You’ve been saying the same thing for weeks now.
-Acting is a slow process. If you could improve in a short time, then anyone would have become an actor. It’s because that’s not possible that actors are treated well.
-We just turned on the camera, it’s such a pity, isn’t it?
-Resting is important too.
Junmin filled up the screen and approached the camera. Just then, Haejoo’s voice sharply flowed out from the speakers.
-Ahjussi, tell me honestly. I don’t have any talent after all, do I? You’re actually regretting what you said to me that day, aren’t you? They say anyone can make mistakes. I know that my acting is terrible. I know about it, but I can’t quit because I enjoy acting. That’s why I was really happy when you told me that this stage is too small for me. I thought that I might have something called potential.
Junmin slowly turned around. Next to Junmin’s waist, Maru could see Haejoo walking to the side of the stage.
-Let’s stop. I think that will be for the best. Joohyun, let’s go home. Joongjin-oppa, you should leave as well.
The camera captured the smiling Haejoo’s face. For the first time, the person who looked like she was enjoying herself on the stage, looked rather sad.
At that moment, a sharp voice filled the theater.
-Ahjussi, you’ve clearly gone too far! What did you say when the oppas chased you out the first time? You said to the troupe that they can’t act in a place like this, didn’t you? I was really angry when I heard you back then. Who are you to say that? I was really angry to the point that I had to hold back from hitting you. What did you do after that? After you were chased out, you shamelessly returned and bought tickets and kept watching the play every time, didn’t you? Because we couldn’t chase you out if you’re a customer. Honestly, I was really annoyed. After watching you though, you didn’t look like you were doing it as a joke, and that’s why the others listened to your story, didn’t they? Thanks to that, we resolved the misunderstanding between us. But you know what? I’ve hated you since the beginning. It’s not like I don’t talk to you for no reason. I never smile at you, do I? That’s just how much I hate you. But at least I didn’t show it on my face, since you’re someone who helps unni out. Now that I look at you, that was fake too, huh. I knew it. Bad first impressions simply don’t change.
They were Ahn Joohyun’s words.
* * *
“Let’s stop here for today.”
“Should we? We still have plenty of time,” I said as I went down from the stage.
There was tomorrow, and there was the day after that as well. Taking my time was the best.
“Let’s try again tomorrow. And you should go home now.”
Junmin pointed at the yawning Joohyun.
“Is it over now?”
“Yeah, we finished. We’re going to try again tomorrow. But I feel hungry now. Uhm, Joongjin-oppa. Let’s eat together before going home.”
“I’ll leave first. Let’s eat together next time.”
“Okay, then. Have a safe trip home. Don’t be late to work tomorrow.”
I waved at him with a smile. Joongjin slightly nodded before leaving the theater.
“Ahjussi, give me your hand.”
“Just give it to me. I’m too tired to stand up.”
Junmin sighed and pulled Joohyun up.
“Ahjussi, I don’t want to walk, so can you piggy-back me?”
“You have two intact legs, why would I do that?”
“Geez, I know you’ll piggy-back unni if she asks you.”
“N-no I wouldn’t.”
“It’s as clear as day, you know?”
Joohyun teased Junmin. Looking at them reminded me of a father and a daughter. When I watched them with my arms crossed, the two looked at me.
“Nothing, I just thought you two had a good relationship. You two got along great when you first met too.”
“No way. I was afraid of this kid. She tried to be so close to me.”
“Ahjussi, is this how you want to do things? Don’t you remember what happened when you came here for the first time and ran away after seeing unni? All of the people at the theater mocked you, and only I treated you like a human being. But you know? That was really weird. You ran away as soon as unni talked to you.”
“I didn’t run away. I was just a little flustered.”
“That’s called running away. But thanks to that, the unnis and oppas who looked at you like a strange man became relieved. We thought you were a stalker since you came every day and quietly watched the play, but you turned out to just be head over heels for unni!”
“Like I said, it’s not like that.”
“Like hell it isn’t. You really are an interesting guy.”
Looking at the two made me smile subconsciously. Everyone at the troupe now liked Junmin as well. Joohyun especially followed him quite a lot. Well, she was the only one who took Junmin’s side from the get-go.
“What would you have done without Joohyun, Junmin-oppa? You know that it’s because Joohyun took your side that everyone else accepted you easily, right?”
“That’s right. You should be thankful to me, ahjussi.”
“Joohyun, do you really like Junmin-oppa that much?”
Hearing that question, Joohyun pondered for a moment before replying with a smile.
“Hm, maybe I like him. Of course, it’s not like I have any intentions of intruding on the romantic relationship between you two!”
Joohyun pulled Junmin’s arm. Junmin awkwardly let himself get dragged. Watching that from the back, I made a faint smile.