Life, Once Again! - Chapter 94
“How’s the People of Dalseok-dong?”
It was an odd question, coming from a person who was laughing at a TV show while eating dinner . But Maru still answered the question without missing a beat .
“We’ve been doing run throughs and are focusing on stage details right now . ”
“How much does Miso engage herself in the play?”
“Not much anymore . She does seem to call people privately, though . ”
“Well, spending 4 months on a single play is a very long time, after all . By then, even beginners will have figured out what they’re supposed to be doing . ”
Ganghwan finished his soup with a loud noise .
“So, the finals are starting in January, right?”
“Yes . I think that’s what’s making things so slow for us . ”
“Yeah . Miso definitely tried to rush things a bit for the December stuff . That extra month is just too big of a gap . Don’t let go of your nervousness, though . The moment you do, you’ll mess up the entire play . ”
Ganghwan tapped his head a few times with his finger .
“By the way, why are we at Myungdong…?” Maru asked, putting down his spoon .
It was a Sunday morning . If it were any other time, he would be busy doing puppet plays with Soojin, but today he decided to come here with Ganghwan .
“Why do you think?”
“I have no idea . ”
Ganghwan stood up with a grin . He paid for the meal and walked out with a toothpick in his mouth .
“Where are you going?”
“Follow me . ”
Ganghwan didn’t tell Maru their destination often, neither was he fond of telling Maru what they were going to do . When they first went to the practice room in Anyang, he just told Maru to get in the car . As Maru followed Ganghwan on the road, he slowly realized where they were headed today . There was an old building in front of them, in the middle of the forest of buildings . A building filled with memories of the past .
Myungdong National Theater .
“No, it’s an art theater now . They finished restoring it last month . They’re performing the first play in this building today . ”
For whatever reason, Ganghwan started fixing up with clothes after throwing away his toothpick .
“You know, looking at that place makes me feel all respectful for no reason . It almost feels like I’m going to go meet my father-in-law . ”
“Have you ever met your father-in-law?”
“Of course not . I don’t even have a girlfriend . It’s just a figure of speech . ”
Right now, it was December of 2003 . The building was bought by the Korean Tourism Board in 1998 from a finance company . According to Ganghwan, many actors and theater companies attempted to buy this building before the government made their move .
“It’s been five years since the construction started, looks like they did a great job . ”
“The outside didn’t change much though, right?”
“The base of the building is the same, after all . Most of their work was spent reinforcing the walls and stuff . ”
The first floor was filled with people looking around the theater, there were also a lot of people looking at the pamphlets with an excited look .
“Let’s go down . ”
The two of them took the elevator down from the lobby . The first thing they saw as they stepped off of the elevator was a storehouse filled with costumes, they could hear a piano playing from somewhere as well .
“I’m here . ”
Ganghwan was entering the practice room of the Myungdong Art Theater . It was a bit small for a practice room, actually . It did have a mirror and everything, but the table on one side of the room made it a bit difficult to actually practice . Maru noticed a familiar face sitting at the table .
“Oh, you came empty-handed?”
It was Junmin . Next to him were two men in coats with a lot of pockets .
“Empty-handed? No way, I have a gift right here . ”
Ganghwan pushed Maru forward after he spoke . Maru began with a greeting for now .
“Hello . ”
“It’s been a while . ”
“Yes, it has . ”
Junmin held up his hand briefly, the two of them waited a few steps away from the table .
“Check the lights in row C again during the technical rehearsal . ”
“Sure . ”
“Take a look at the tape in the storage room as well . Apparently the labels became hard to read . ”
“We’ll replace them . ”
Junmin seemed to be talking to the stage technicians . In particular, he was talking to another elderly man around his age, with a younger person nearby frantically writing down notes . They were probably a student and teacher . The younger man looked very young, actually . Young enough to be a freshman at a college . He was either working in the industry at a very young age or just looked really young .
“There’s a generational change happening in this business as well,” Ganghwan whispered .
Plays . Plays sounded a lot more intimidating than normal movies . If movies are something you could just watch on any particular day, plays were there for special occasions . Maru assumed the rest of the general populace had similar thoughts . The numbers were more than enough proof as a matter of fact . Plays were not only more expensive than movies, they were harder to justify watching as well .
“That’s why the reopening of the Myungdong Art Theater is so meaningful . It’s the reopening of a building whose sole purpose is for plays . If this ends up going well, Myungdong will turn into a Mecca of art once again . ”
Ganghwan smiled mysteriously . Despite being someone who often made very lighthearted jokes and some very dumb things, he wasn’t someone who could be taken so lightly . A dreamer . That’s what the man seemed like, at least to Maru .
‘A dreamer who turns their dreams into reality . ’
In the future, this person would bring a top star known as Geunsoo back into the world of plays . Maru could somewhat remember the tickets at the time getting sold for up to 400 dollars at the time . His wife pretty much sang about wanting to watch this play as well . He could remember the news at the time, too . About how all of the younger generations were starting to flock to theaters because of these two .
“This will go well . ”
“Hah, that makes me pretty confident, actually . ”
Ganghwan bumped Maru’s arm with a grin .
“I’ll leave it to you, then . ”
“I’ll wait for you at the final checks . ”
The two people at the table finished talking at this point . Ganghwan greeted the old man in the coat first . Maru followed suit .
“Ah, actor Yang, it’s been a while . ”
“I’ve been busy . ”
“I heard . You were missing for three months? You should really stop that kind of stuff . Stop making the people around you worry like that . ”
“Yes . By the way, you’re planning on permanently moving here now?”
“Yes . The new equipment was way too tempting . It’s great over here, though . Come to the stage some time . The lighting and sound equipment is absolutely top-tier . ”
“I can just take a look at it when I come to act . ”
“Can you even do that? There are so many reservations here right now that even a team from Broadway would have to wait a full year . ”
“It’s that bad?”
“Just means everyone was waiting for a very long time . ”
The two of them shared a deep look before exchanging a short handshake . In the meantime, Maru exchanged greetings with the younger man from before .
“Ah, who’s this one, by the way?” the older man asked .
“A young sprout . ”
“A sprout? Were you old enough to be growing one of those?”
“I’m old now, too . ”
“If you’re old, then I’m already sitting in my grave . Ah, you should properly exchange greetings, then . You might meet each other in the future . ”
The old man grabbed the young man and pulled him in, the young man looked at Maru in a slight daze . Maru waited for the man to extend his hand, but after receiving no response, he decided to extend his first . It was a little rude of him, but what could he do?
“Hello, I’m Han Maru . ”
Only then did the young man grab Maru’s hand with a little “ah” .
“Hello, I’m Yoon Mintae . ”
“Hey hey, Mintae . Why are you using both of your hands? You’re obviously older . ”
The older man pulled Mintae back, making the man smile awkwardly .
“Anyway, I’ll see you later, actor Yang . ”
“Yes, see you later . ”
The two men disappeared with a curt farewell . Maru looked at the hand Mintae grabbed just now . It felt a little strange, almost as if they really were going to meet again, as the old man said .
“Hey, you two . Stop standing around in a daze and come over here . ”
Junmin tapped at the table with his pen .
* * *
Bada changed her clothes before opening her brother’s room .
“He’s not here again . ”
She stopped seeing her brother as of recently . He started coming back home past 11, and he went out in the morning on weekends . They lived together in one house and yet she hadn’t seen his face in close to three months . It was an odd feeling, to say the least .
Bada stepped inside and took out a book called ‘The Habits of Life’ from the bookshelf . She opened the middle, and found several 10,000 won bills inside it .
“Thanks, brother . ”
– If you need money, just come here instead of going to mom . Just write down what you used the money for .
Bada smiled, recalling her brother’s angelic words at the time . Just a year ago, her brother was an evil incarnate . He would scream for snacks, and they would fight almost daily over the computer… They were rivals of the century at the time . But nowadays, her brother turned a completely new leaf . She used to be a little weirded out by this change, but she was used to it now . She even started bragging about her brother to her friends .
Bada took her money and wrote down “going around Myungdong with friends” on the post-it note inside . She returned the book to the bookshelf . Right then, her phone rang .
– We’re at the station . Come out!
“Yeah! I’m coming . ”
She decided to go after hearing about lots of pretty clothing stores in Myungdong . This was her first time visiting the place, so she was a little bit excited . Before going outside, she opened her little wallet . She could see the money she collected for clothes, as well as the money she took from the bookshelf inside it .
‘Mm . ’
Maybe she should buy something for her brother, too . She’d have less money for clothes, but she wanted to give back to her brother at least a little bit .
“Myungdong, huh . ”
Bada ran towards the station with a grin on her face .
* * *
Changhu nodded at his disbelieving friend .
“Yeah . I asked big sis Gongsoon to come and she actually came . ”
“Wow, Changhu! You’re talented!”
“You know I’m good at talking, it’s all good as long as I say whatever she wants to hear . ”
“You think you can get her? Hm?”
“She’s not that easy, unfortunately . She’s fun to play with, though . She has a lot of money, too . ”
“Dang, people with money are the best . ”
Changhu stopped his friend from talking right then inside the PC bang, he put out his cigarette before taking the call .
“Ah, sis . Yeah . Of course, I’m free . Come over? Really? You’re free today? Of course, I’m coming . You have friends? Can I bring mine? Yes, yes . You’re paying? Wow! You’re the best, big sis . I’m coming right now . Where should I go?”
Changhu turned off his phone after a long call .
“Yo, let’s go to Myungdong . ”
“She’s asking me to come . We might get lucky if we do well today . ”
“Of course, you’re my bud!”
The three of them walked out of the PC bang quickly .