Chapter 121

The air in the auditorium froze over. The negative portrayal of the character wasn’t the only reason. It was the way that Geunseok acted Yurim out that made things become like this.

The acting was done in a simple conversational style without any dramatic development. The character’s concept was one with dual personality disorder. The acting portrayed the inner and outer self of Yurim.

“Do I need to be friends with others? No. I don’t think so. I want to feel comfortable, but I don’t want them invading my bubble. It feels lonely though. But I can’t depend on others forever.”

Geunseok imbued a simplistic expression of a character with dual personality disorder. Most of his gestures during his performance was composed of simple shoulder movements to indicate nervousness and confidence and nothing else. The rest was conveyed through his facial expressions.

“I’m still afraid of going outside at night. What should I do? I have to overcome it. I’m not that brave though. What, aren’t you even going to try to overcome it?? Give me courage. Courage isn’t something others can give. You have to make yourself courageous.”

Maru silently turned towards Yurim. What Geunseok was saying wasn’t something that could be observed. It felt as though something deeply private was being brought out. Maru had to wonder what Yurim was thinking while watching Geunseok’s acting.

‘Hmm.’

Yurim’s facial expression was rigid. But as Geunseok continued acting, Yurim’s expression also slowly returned to normal. Her expression ran through a gauntlet of emotions, from embarrassment, nervousness, anxiousness to relief, confidence, and faith. The most assured point was that Yurim was not looking badly upon Geunseok.

“I need the helping hand of others. I’ll definitely give up without it. Do you really think so? You’re already fully supporting another person. I am? When I’m like this? Sure, you’re fully supporting at least one person in your life.”

The lines finished off as they started, as though a grandmother was calmly retelling an old tale with a steady tempo and temperate demeanor. There was no word for a while inside the auditorium. The sense of void and emptiness were brought to an end with Miso’s voice.

“What part of Yurim did you base your character on?”

“I heard it from her, about her difficult and hurt-filled past.”

“The past, and you based your portrayal on that?”

“Yes.”

“What was the intent of acting out the outer self for others and an internal self?”

“I thought about how the portrayal and verbal lines were short but would still be in front of others. Therefore, there should be a message to convey. I came up with acting and delivering a message for a single person.”

“For Yurim?”

“Yes.”

Miso crossed her arms and closed her eyes. After rocking back and forth on a creaky, foldable metal chair, she suddenly stood up from her chair.

“Clap three times.”

Clap, clap, clap. The acting club members clapped as if they were kindergarteners who wanted to see what came next.

“Acting to deliver a message. I observed it well. Since the audience seems to have appreciated your message, I’ll give this acting a hundred points. It seems like you put a lot of thought into this. Good job.”

Geunseok’s expression brightened. This was to be expected, as Miso did not once praise him to this extent since the end of summer vacation. With a satisfied smile, Miso sat back down on her seat.

“Oh, nice going!”

“As expected of the future of our club.”

Yoonjung and Danmi cheered out as they gave a thumbs up to Geunseok, who was returning to his seat. Geunseok had a suppressed smile as he sat next to Yurim.

‘A message…’

Though the acting went into the dark, inner depths of her mind, the person in question looked very satisfied. What did this mean? Was there something beyond the surface that may have affected her in the deepest parts of her being? Only those two would truly know.

“But!”

Miso crossed her legs and started explaining.

“This acting would be very uncomfortable for an audience that has no inkling of what’s going on. Acting to send a message to one person is good, but next time, try to bring out the applause of the many audience members instead. Also, you should get prior consent from the person for whose private, personal story you’re using. Otherwise, it can get complicated and messy.”

Maru observed a passing frown in the boy’s previously proud face. Miso didn’t even give a look to Geunseok. Geunseok’s mouth could be seen moving up and down, side-to-side, probably murmuring something along the lines of ‘what does she know’.

‘She could have just left it as is.’

He thought some rare praise came his way, but, of course, it ended as a lesson to learn from and improve upon. That was her way of doing things, so oh well.

“Next! Daemyung.”

“Yes.”

Daemyung walked stiffly to the front. No matter what others say, currently, Geunseok was the best actor in the acting club. Geunseok’s acting had power. With solid fundamentals, one couldn’t help but give attention to him. On top of that, he had a refreshing way of speaking and various ways of expressing. Junmin also mentioned in the past that if he had to choose someone among the students he was actively observing, it would be Geunseok. He mentioned then that he would have paid up to 500 million won if Geunseok asked for money.

Though a person’s worth should not be talked about in terms of money, it is true that many important things in life have an essential connection to it. His value of 500 million won alluded to his potential.

- Of course, being Geunsoo’s younger brother probably factored in as a large part of that potential. Geunsoo would obviously become a hugely successful actor, and if he were to give direction and help to Geunseok, the synergistic effect would be enormous.

Junmin made people into products. His job was to find prospective, sellable products. Coaches would be responsible for developing and nurturing. Casting directors would then choose which products were sellable. Furthermore, there needs to be an attractive element to be sellable, so the label as the younger brother of a future superstar was enough for Junmin to invest in Geunseok.

In that sense, Junmin really had a good eye for opportunity and talent. He already foresaw that Geunsoo would become successful. He also had Ganghwan. He already had two superstars under his management.

‘If I try hard, I wonder if I can also become a winning lottery ticket.’

Regardless, Maru did attract his attention. He decided to put his faith in Junmin.

‘I’m ready to jump into acting with everything I have.’

After laying down everything to elder Moonjoong, he started seeing and perceiving everything in terms of acting. An unexpected sense of pure joy arose from being able to put my all into one thing. This moment, of preparing to act in earnest, was immensely enjoyable.

As he was thinking about these things, Daemyung ended his explanation. Before starting his lines, Daemyung glanced towards Maru with a little hesitation, but Maru was just shaking his head slowly from side-to-side, organizing his thoughts to himself. Geunseok’s acting style focused on peering into the darkness. On the contrary, Daemyung’s acting style did not seek to poke and prod anyone’s sensitive points. Daemyung’s acting style was something Maru wanted to boast about to others and followed Miso’s lesson of being considerate and appealing to the entire audience.

Daemyung had prepared extensively. Though he said his script was simple, the few lines that Daemyung showed Maru defied any notion of simplicity, as the lines were filled with deeper, interpretive meaning here and there. Daemyung awkwardly looked around and brought up a chair. This was the Daemyung before starting a play, a little bit of confusion mixed with a little bit of awkwardness.

“Start when you’re ready. Don’t make us wait too long.”

Daemyung nodded his head at Miso’s words.

“I’ll start now.”

Daemyung could be seen sitting on the chair taking deep breaths. With a long exhale, he finished his preparation. A change could be seen as he slowly opened his eyes. Though he did not have Geunseok’s powerful energy, he had a way of pulling in the attention of the audience. When a singer grabs the microphone, the viewing audience eagerly awaits with anticipation, already imagining the song that will follow.

This is what Daemyung brought to the table. Everyone here was familiar with Daemyung’s acting skills. In their very first play, he became a 40 something year old office worker without flaw. His acting was not noticeable. This is not a bad thing, it just meant that he melded into his role naturally. He brought his abrasive high school student self to his character’s life in the People of Dalseok-dong.

‘The essence of Daemyung’s acting is naturalness.’

He doesn’t have a singular, forceful punch. Just the roundness of his figure proved that the characters he portrayed were not that type. However, he did have a softness that enveloped the audience as if in a hug. Giving comfort to the audience with an appropriate tone of voice, no excessive expressions, and weightiness in his voice rather than extraneous actions, he exemplified an actor who was starting to develop his craft.

Furthermore, Daemyung’s role in this play emphasized and maximized his strengths. He has good sense. He decided to play to his strengths rather than focusing on covering his weaknesses. His conscious choice of using a chair as a prop also factored into this, he didn’t decide on a whim to perform while sitting. Daemyung passed off his extensive preparation with bashful shyness, but Maru saw all this with admiration. If there was a god of effort, that god would be looking down on Daemyung with a knowing smile. That smile would also bring the god of talent to Daemyung’s side.

“What should I do.”

Daemyung started speaking with clasped hands as if he was praying.

“If you’ve heard my prayers at least once, my god, please send down, just this once, a helping hand. The single thing you’ve taken away represents everything to me, as you well know, my god. I know you are not cruel. Thus, I beg of you, please return what you have taken away and not let my faith be broken.”

The grieving prayer of a man quietly lifted the curtain to the act. There was no Daemyung.

And.

Maru projected Daemyung’s words into his own images of her, causing Maru to sit still with his mouth shut tight while watching his friend’s play.

* * *

She smiled while gently thumping her fingers on the steering wheel.

“Something good must have happened,” Taesik asked with a respectful tone.

“Yeah. Remember, tone.”

“Ah, of course. Hum hum, so what’s so good?” He said while changing his respectful tone.

“I saw my kids develop quickly. Personal training assistance really does make a big difference. I’m lucky they met some good teachers.”

Today was the day that Miso saw the likelihood of succeeding in the winter nationals. Geunseok and Daemyung. It would be fun to see both of them together. Once the People of Dalseok-dong play is over, if there’s time, she would create a play with both of them as leads. She felt an eagerness and anticipation that she hadn’t felt in a long time. Their acting was that satisfying.

While smiling, she rubbed Taesik’s shoulder, who was sitting next to her. It was a long overdue date. She felt a little sad that she had to drag out this boyfriend of hers who only wanted to stay home.

“Let’s go out on Sunday’s at least.”

“It’s cold though.”

“Anyways.”

Miso squinted while lowering Taesik’s side window. Taesik quickly begged for mercy.

“So how are the kids? I’ve been so busy that I haven’t been around to check up on them.”

“Everything’s good. The only thing is that I didn’t get to see someone’s potential blossom and meet my expectation.”

“Expectation? You mean Maru?”

“Yeah. It seemed like he gained a lot of experience after going here and there, but I feel he hasn’t been able to properly digest everything. Well, he could have experienced too much in too short a time.”

“He’s a smart kid, so he’ll regroup and show something soon. He’ll do at least that if not more.”

“Right, I think so too. Hey, where are we going?”

“… Anywhere…”

“Dang it! I really don’t understand why I started liking you!”

Even with someone shouting at him, Taesik warmly smiled and apologized. This was why Miso couldn’t contain her love for him.

“Okay, then don’t say anything to the contrary and just follow my lead today. Alright?”

“Do what’s comfortable for you. However, we shouldn’t be out too late at night.”

While watching Taesik continue to calmly speak, Miso started having naughty thoughts on whether she should take the initiative now.

* * *

“You’re not receiving anyone?”

“That’s what it’s come down to.”

“You mentioned that you had your eyes on this student.”

Junmin showed a picture of Geunseok while speaking.

“He’s the guy I met with Suyeon, right?

“Yes, Teacher.”

“He has potential for sure. He’s the type that’ll motivate one to teach.”

“Then why….”

Moonjoong shut his mouth after taking a sip of his tea, Junmin kept his eyes on Moonjoong’s lips.

“I don’t want to teach anyone. Now that I think about it, I was just bored all this time. That young man… Maru, was it? Was more interesting to talk to than teaching.”

“Then you can teach Maru…”

“I’d like to keep him as someone I meet once in a while over drinks, like a drinking buddy.”

“Teacher.”

“If I feel like it later, then it’ll happen.”

Moonjoong got up from his seat while laughing; Junmin was sorry to lose this opportunity. If Geunseok was to learn under the guidance of Moonjoong, he could have learned a lot. However, what’s passed has passed. If Moonjoong says no once, he fully meant it.

“That young guy really seems like an upstanding human being, it’s been a long time since I met such a good drinking buddy.”

“He’s still a first-year student in high school.”

“Is there age when one drinks.”

“…….”

“It’s become like that, don’t worry.”

Junmin bowed towards Moonjoong as the man left through the door. At least he’s keeping Maru close by. Moonjoong gave his soul to acting. One can learn and obtain a lot just from being next to someone like that.

‘Who knows, he might turn around and want to start teaching again.’

Junmin put away the photo of Geunseok in his folder. Unfortunately, this road ended here.

* * *

Maru handed a letter over to Soojin. It was a letter that Dowook handed Maru as they were leaving school yesterday, a Saturday.

“Read it when you have time.”

“…Thank you. Really.”

“Though it’s just a letter now, you’ll probably get closer over time.”

“I hope so.”

Her eyes were red, but her face was filled with a smile. Soojin stepped on the accelerator, they were on their way to see the awaiting kids at the nursery today. Looking out the window at the snow twirling in the wind, Maru took out his flip cell phone.

- We’re meeting at the soup restaurant today! Geunseok and Yurim probably won’t be coming. They mentioned that they already had plans for Sunday before I brought anything up. Anyways! Make Soyeon come no matter what. Okay?

It was the group message that Iseul sent out. It was today, huh. Maru briefly smiled as he closed his flip phone.</p?

Previous Chapter Next Chapter

ensj's Thoughts

These chapters were translated by PlumpCat99, while ensj was out on personal business.