Chapter 169

“Alright, raise your hands if you’re here to look into the acting club.”

Most of the students raised their hands at the senior’s words, Jiyoon quickly joined in as well.

“Around 15 people, huh? Thank you all for coming. I was worried that no one would come.”

The senior stepped back before coming out with some yakult in his hands, he handed one out to each of the students.

“Would you all come inside, please? It’s a bit small, your understanding would be appreciated.”

The door of the clubroom opened, revealing what was inside. The first thing Jiyoon saw was a steel shelf, there were all sorts of stuff laid on it. A pretty lantern, a massive dice, a set of knives… a bottle of some sort? It was a collection of all sorts of odd things.

“Try not to step on each other.”

Jiyoon walked inside at the senior’s gesture. It was small indeed, barely enough space for the 15 people that were inside. Jiyoon looked to the left of her, there were a bunch of clothes that were wrapped in plastic. Next to the tower of clothes was a hanger rack, which had clothes all over it as well. They probably had more than a hundred, now that she looked at it. Hanbok… suits… dresses… even a Chinese dress. Qipao, was it?

“Good thing it’s not summer, at the very least. Alright, let me explain what the club’s about. Obviously it must be about acting, right?”

The senior took out a large book. Inside it, there were a ton of photos.

“The acting club is 13 years old. A lot of seniors have come and gone through this place already. If you join this club, you’ll be the 14th generation of the club.”

The senior took out a different album. In this one, he was in the picture as well. There were other seniors holding hammers, ones in makeup, ones acting, et cetera. He handed out each album to the underclassmen.

“Take a look while you listen. The acting club has a set purpose. That is, to win the summer and winter nationals.”

“There are competitions?”

The senior nodded.

“You probably don’t know this, but there are a ton of acting competitions out there. The biggest ones are the summer nationals and winter nationals as I’ve just mentioned. Each province holds its own preliminaries and the winners of those, compete. You guys heard about the Seoul Arts Center, right?”

“Yes.”

Jiyoon responded here as well.

“That's the stage for the finalists. We managed to go there last year, too. I didn’t get to participate, unfortunately.”

The senior showed them the pictures of last year’s competition, there were a lot of photos taken in the Seoul Arts Center. In the middle of the seniors with makeup on, Jiyoon noticed one wearing a cast on his leg. It was the one who was talking to them now, he must’ve been unable to participate because of that injury.

“Since we’re aiming for such a big competition, we can’t just sit idly by like some other clubs. While other clubs meet like twice a week, we’ll be meeting basically every day.”

“Every day?”

“Yes.”

“Then the weekends...”

“They might as well not exist when a competition nears. We might even practice till night starting from the morning.”

The room turned a little awkward, Jiyoon was a bit surprised too. She knew that she’d need to invest a lot of time into the club, but even the weekends?

“The weekends are a bit...”

“Right?”

She could hear her friends whispering behind her. Jiyoon turned to look at the senior for a second, the senior was smiling with eyes that seemed to say that he expected as much.

“Of course, you’re free to join casually. Plays aren’t made through just actors, after all. We do need staff members that can make props. Joining in as a stage manager is one of the ways you can contribute if you’re short on time. I used to be a stage manager myself before Autumn. You get a lot more time to yourself that way. You don’t even need to come during the weekends.”

“But um… you’d need to practice a lot in order to act, right?” One of the girls whispered.

Jiyoon was curious about the answer here as well.

“If you want to participate as an actor, you’ll need to invest a lot of time, as I’ve mentioned. You can make props by yourself, but you can’t act in a play by yourself. The reality is that time investment is necessary.”

The senior crossed his arms before sighing lightly.

“It’ll be good to make things clear now, so might as well. We don’t have an instructor yet, but once we do, you’ll have a lot less free time. Depending on the instructor, you might even get strained both mentally and physically. The one from last year made us stretch for at least an hour before going into practice. She made us exercise a lot, too. We did get pretty nice bodies thanks to that, but it wasn’t easy.”

The senior fiddled with his eyebrow before smiling awkwardly.

“It’d be terrific if you all joined, of course. Clubs need people, after all. But people feel stressed when they end up doing something they didn’t think they would do. Plays are fun from the perspective of an audience. Has anyone here watched a play before?”

A few of the underclassmen raised their hands, Jiyoon raised hers after a moment of hesitation as well.

“Quite a few. How was it?”

The senior asked the question to one of the boys at the front. The boy paused for a moment before responding ‘it was fun’.

“Sorry for the sudden question. But at least I got the answer I wanted. Plays are fun to watch. Because unlike movies, you’re physically close to the actors in plays. When we watch movies, we don’t much care for the present since we know that an actor isn’t going to make a mistake. We just think about what’s going to happen next. Because obviously, movies are edited almost to the point of perfection.”

The senior put his hands together in front of him gently.

“I’m not saying plays aren’t perfect. But unlike movies, plays take place in real-time. There’s a chance that the actors could make a mistake. That’s what makes plays fun. Having your heart strain a bit in nervousness as you watch.”

Jiyoon found herself nodding, he was right; she remembered watching the play with a strange sense of nervousness from back then.

“There’s also the matter of focus. We watch movies from the perspective of the director. We aren’t watching what we want to watch, we’re watching what we’re shown. Plays are different. It’s up to the audience what they want to watch in the play. The light might be focused on the main character, but the audience may always choose to keep their attention focused on the villain in the shadows instead.”

“Ah.”

They all nodded in understanding.

“Plays are very fun. But fun things come at a cost, as you might all know. It costs someone else’s effort. I’ll say this again. We need people who can put in the effort. It doesn’t matter if the results are good or bad. All I hope is that we try hard getting there in the end.”

The senior sounded as kind and gentle as ever, but his words had weight to them. The underclassmen all closed their mouths and looked at the senior. Looking at him now, he looked kind of strict. He was talking gently, but his face looked a little bit scary.

“If you’re thinking about joining the club, please understand this. The club will be difficult. It might not even be fun. So think about it carefully. It’d be very troublesome if you think about leaving midway.”

The senior clapped his hands and relaxed his posture a bit, that alone was enough to make him look completely different. He already looked much kinder than before.

“Though I say this, I’m actually pretty worried. Hopefully at least a few of you get in.”

Right then, the door of the club room opened and the other seniors walked in. The tall handsome one and the plump one.

“We’re a bit late. Hello, hello.”

The tall senior spoke with a big grin, he seemed like a cold person to Jiyoon in the beginning. Judging by his smile, that didn’t seem to be the case. The plump senior was the same as ever though, he was smiling behind the tall senior quietly.

“Did you already hear about the club?”

“Yes.”

“How was it?”

The students started speaking one by one after a moment of silence.

“Hm, I think it might be fun.”

“It might be difficult.”

“Does it really take that much time?”

“I want to know how you guys practice.”

The tall senior nodded before sticking out his hand, he was holding a bag full of snacks. He was probably late from going to the convenience store.

“Why don’t we talk over some food?”

Everyone nodded at the sound of the plastic bag. Jiyoon was a bit excited, she might even be able to ask a few questions herself.

“Let’s go to the class next to this one, then.”

They walked over to one of the third year classes near the club. Since school was over already, there was no one inside. The desks and the chairs were all moved to the back of the class. Probably done by the seniors here beforehand.

“You can ask whatever you want. Private, public, whatever.”

The senior who had been talking all this time closed his mouth when the tall senior stepped in, the tall one must be the president of the club.

“Is becoming an actor difficult?”

The tall senior replied to the question.

“It’s different for everybody, but not really. You know what it’s like memorizing a textbook when you take a test, right? You just have to memorize a bit less than that.”

“But the senior from before said it’d be difficult...”

The tall senior clicked his tongue at the calm-looking senior lightly. Jiyoon only managed to hear it because she was near the two.

“It must’ve been too difficult for him. Like I said, it differs per person.”

“Is that so?”

“Of course.”

“Um, senior. I heard the club meets pretty often. How many times per week?”

The tall senior answered the question again.

“Almost every day last year. But think about it. How efficient would that be in reality? I think it’s obvious that the talented practice less, and the talentless practice a lot. Don’t worry about the time. I’m thinking of lessening practice time greatly.”

Completely different from what the other senior just said, Jiyoon was a bit confused. As a matter of fact, she could see the plump senior make a troubled expression. He seemed to want to say something, but the calm looking senior was stopping him.

“Plays are led by talented actors. The others just need to pay attention to the set. We’ll be able to put on the play after just a few practice sessions. Don’t worry too much about it.”

“Could I be a main character too?”

One of the clown-like kids raised his hand with a grin. The tall senior just responded with a ‘if you have talent’. Jiyoon could feel a ton of pride from him. Was he the leader of the club?

“Which one of you is the best at acting?”

Jiyoon could feel her cheeks get red, she couldn’t believe someone could ask such a question.

“Mm, I don’t know if I want to answer the question myself.”

The tall senior looked back, prompting the calm looking one to talk.

“Geunseok. That is, this tall guy over here’s the best at acting out of all of us. There’s a lot to be learned from him.”

“Wow.”

Everyone turned to look at the tall senior, no, Geunseok. Jiyoon thought back at the play she saw in December. The person who took center stage back then… That must be him, then?

‘So this one...’

Jiyoon looked at Geunseok curiously, their eyes ended up meeting as a result.

“You have a question?”

“What?”

Jiyoon was surprised at the sudden attention, everyone was looking at her suddenly. She could even feel her heart start to beat faster, it felt like she couldn’t say no.

“U-um.”

“Go on.”

“C-can I act, e-even though I’m introverted?”

She immediately looked down nervously, her face was super hot.

“Mm, it’ll probably be difficult to make it as an actor, logically speaking.”

Geunseok replied without holding back. Jiyoon let out an ‘ah’ of understanding. She asked a stupid question.

“Next?”

They all looked away from her. She was still nervous, she shouldn’t even have thought about acting. She got up first to leave, it felt like she could change something with a bit more bravery, but she couldn’t do anything. She stepped outside to take a breather. Just before she could step back inside, the calm-looking senior stepped outside.

“Being introverted means that you’re more sensitive. That you have more tender emotions than most people.”

“......”

“That might work to your advantage. Personality isn’t what’s important when it comes to acting. It’s greed. It’s fine if you’re an introvert. That doesn’t matter in the end.”

The senior turned around with that. She only realized after a moment that he was trying to console her, his words did calm her down a bit.

“T-then, can I do it?”

“As long as you’re greedy for acting, then yes. Life is all about patience. Ah, I’ll have to admit though, talent does matter.”

He wasn’t just being nice to her.

“Do you think I have talent?”

“Only one way to find out, right?”

“C-can I try?”

The senior turned back around, he looked a little bit cold.

“That’s not my decision to make, but yours. Ask yourself that question, not others. The answer’s surprisingly easy. Keeping through with it is what really matters.”

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