“We should do this together. Only when we do this together does any of this have meaning. Let’s make up. We promised we’d make a good play together, didn’t we?”
Heewon, who tried to mediate with a worried face, made an embarrassed smile as he stood in the center. His flustered hand movements stopped and his voice became a little lower.
“You guys were on good terms just before, weren’t you? Yoonjoo, don’t you remember? You were so happy when we first made that stage. We had to stay at school until 11 at night, but we had fun back then. Haejin, you said you were tired, but you were the most enthusiastic out of all of us.”
“Do you think I’m the same now?”
“Right. Back then, we decided roles based on skill, but now the one that’s closest to the club presidents gets to go on stage, no? Making the stage? It’s fun, I can say that. But the reason it’s fun is because it’s the stage I’ll be on. I’m not in the acting club just to make the background.”
The two girls commented with Heewon in the middle. After glancing at the two girls, Heewon gave an exhausted smile.
“Like I said, if we talk to the club president….”
“Forget it. You’re close to the club president, aren’t you? We’re all in this together, but why does someone get to go on stage while someone better has to watch from below? I won’t accept this.”
The girl to the left turned around before leaving. Heewon hurriedly followed her before looking outside the stage with vain eyes.
“You should stop there as well. It’s because you keep listening to her that the atmosphere and the club is awful. Why did you have to bring up what the club president said we should keep a secret? Did you really want to be the good guy?”
The girl on the right also glared at Heewon before leaving. After looking both ways alternately, Heewon sat down on the chair in the middle. He covered his face with both of his hands before shouting and standing up. He kicked the chair he was sitting on before stomping on the ground.
“Then what do you suppose I do? Just what the heck am I supposed to do?”
The boy that was working towards the harmony of the club ended up letting go of everything. Heewon showed the moment when the boy’s effort to mediate the situation while being sworn at by his peers turn to dust. Like a patient with paranoia, he walked around the stage with an uneasy expression and then suddenly stopped. He looked up at the ceiling and said,
That line, mixed with his vain laugh, showed what the future of the acting club would be like. Heewon, who faintly gazed at Woosung High’s side while standing diagonally towards the audience seats, nodded his head before going off stage.
After that, another actor came up on stage, but Maru looked at Heewon, who had lost energy and sat down on the spot in the back.
Maru began to understand what ‘one leading everyone else’ meant. The actors other than Heewon focused on reducing their mistakes as much as possible so that the audience’s absorption in the play wasn’t reduced. The play they went with also seemed like the characters other than Heewon’s didn’t have that many fluctuations in their emotions. When the other club members created the stage for him, Heewon would free himself on top of it.
Heewon appeared every time there was a conflict, and when the story reached the climax, they created the play so that all attention was on Heewon. He was perfectly the main character, and the rest made up the stage that propped him up. This delicate balance was probably the reason they were able to get the prize.
If the acting club had 2nd years and 3rd years, there might have been some students who had a variety of experiences, but Hwasoo High’s acting club was only created this year. There was one student that poked out above everyone else, and the acting club decided to maximize their performance with the resources they had.
Maru didn’t know whether this play was something they created by themselves or an existing one they had modified, but whoever chose this play and chose this layout really had good senses.
‘But everything’s only possible because he’s here.’
No matter how great the stage was, if there was no main character to stand on it, it would only be an empty stage.
Heewon possessed immense energy. He was eye-catching even when he was portrayed as a kind senior at the beginning of the play. The energy he gave off caught everyone’s attention despite the fact that no conflicts between the characters had occurred yet.
To an actor, ‘energy’ was a combination of many different things. Appearances, breathing, walking form, speech, minute movements, or even the direction of their gaze. What seemed like completely irrelevant things individually might heavily influence the ‘energy’ of the actor. Energy was such a complicated criteria to judge, so it was hard to describe with words.
It was the so-called ‘you know when you see it’-thing. That was probably the most suitable description for the word ‘energy’.
Heewon was still panting even though he left the stage. The actors waiting around him did not say a word to him. Even the actors who were talking about the next scene did not say a word to him.
The scene then changed, and Heewon appeared again. It seemed as though he maintained the emotions he harbored before he left the stage all throughout his break. As soon as he came up, he continued his angry acting without a gap in the emotions.
As the play reached the later parts, everyone else’s acting was buried beneath Heewon’s acting. Although some awkward parts could be seen when it came to his vocalization, breathing, as well as minute movements, he was gaining complete control over the stage with his energy alone.
Although he didn’t have delicate techniques or some other things, Heewon’s act had something that attracted the audience’s gaze, just like a singer who could move the hearts of the listeners.
“That’s right. I was an idiot, and I was the bad guy.”
At the last part of the play, Heewon, who was struggling between the two split sides of the acting club, was eventually abandoned by both sides and had to leave in solitude. The remaining club members regained their harmony, and Heewon’s empty spot was soon forgotten. The play ended with a successful practice run.
Maru applauded. Everyone else did the same. Having finished their acting, Hwasoo High stood in a line and took a bow together. Their curtain call was clean as well.
“That’s it for now. I want to talk about our acting after we see yours. Is that alright with you?”
“That sounds good.”
Daemyung stood up. Maru also stood up and dusted his hands. Daemyung, who stood at the center, briefly explained the play.
“The performance we’re about to do is a play titled ‘I know that person’. A man came to a mental hospital because of a mistake, and the story is about his episode at the hospital. There’s an element of satire in it as well.”
After exchanging gazes with Daemyung, the club members got into their positions.
“Then, we’ll start.”
* * *
“Everyone’s good. Especially Daemyung.”
Heewon nodded his head as he heard Inho’s words. He wasn’t able to focus during the beginning since he was unable to calm down his agitated feelings. He was on edge, so he couldn’t keep watching the play in front of him. It took about five minutes for him to calm down, and he started focusing on the play since then.
Woosung High’s play was one that made people laugh. According to Inho, it was multiple times harder to make someone laugh than cry. He also added that he could feel the confidence in their acting skills from the fact that they chose this play.
‘Is that right?’
He didn’t really understand but Heewon nodded anyway. If he made a confused expression, Inho would probably continue explaining while using some complicated words. Since it was obvious that he wouldn’t be able to understand a word of his, Heewon just nodded and pretended to have understood. Listening to Inho’s passionate explanations was hard labor in itself.
“I can definitely hear them better.”
“Their pronunciation seems better than ours too.”
Heewon could hear his juniors whispering behind him. Maybe it was suitable to describe it as the ‘ring’ of their voices. Woosung High’s people’s voices had some weight to them and they spread across the whole place. While the 1st years felt more like them, Daemyung was definitely different.
Heewon looked around him before yawning. Actually, he didn’t like watching plays. He always thought that his younger brother was amazing for going all the way to Daehak-ro to watch plays. It must be a lot easier to go to the nearby cinema to watch a movie, yet he went all the way there to watch a play. Of course, he didn’t hate it either. To be precise, he didn’t have any interest at all.
Acting was fun. He was able to forget himself when he became the character in the play. Such a sensation was really wondrous, and he wanted to continue tasting it once he tasted it. That was the reason he continued acting, but he didn’t want to dig into the technical part of acting and study about plays.
‘It’s plenty fun even without that.’
Heewon was satisfied with where he was. He didn’t feel the need to do anymore.
That was why he didn’t feel anything even when he looked at Woosung High’s play in front of him. There were definitely parts they were better than him at. Their movements were cleaner, and it was much easier to see what they were trying to express.
But, so what?
Them being good had nothing to do with him. There was no way he could find their play fun since it was based on the assumption that they were trying to learn something when he had zero desire to learn. He just laughed a couple of times at the funny parts, and then went back into a daze, laughed again, then yawned.
“Hyung. You should focus. Especially Maru-hyung. He even came out on TV, so there must be something you can learn from him.”
“I am concentrating.”
“But your eyes look tired though.”
“N-no, of course not.”
Heewon twisted his body left and right as he was nagged by his brother. He didn’t know what his younger brother was thinking, but he had gained a dramatic interest in acting recently. Someone’s acting was good, some work was good, try watching this. His brother was probably trying to help since he said he was in the acting club, but it couldn’t be more tiring. He couldn’t entirely ignore his efforts, so he did reply to him that he would look into it, but he had never actually done so. He was running out of time just studying for tests and conquering dungeons with his friends.
He clenched his teeth and looked at Maru. Actually, Maru had been coming up on stage every now and then: as the doctor at the hospital, as the cleaner, as the person moving beds. He was also acting as two or three passersby. He seemed to have five roles.
“I guess it must be hard with a small number of people.”
“Also, I’m looking at Maru a lot, but I don’t really spot anything different about him.”
Hearing those words, his brother nodded his head with a confused expression.
“That’s strange. He was really good when I saw him in The Witness.”
“Maybe he’s not feeling well today.”
Heewon pulled his legs inwards as he watched the play.
Everyone was good. He had nothing more to comment other than that as the play ran towards the end. Woosung High showed a clean performance without any bad points. There were times when the first years wavered, but at those times, Maru covered for them so smoothly that it didn’t feel like a mistake.
Heewon observed Maru for the first time when he was off-stage. He kept watching the stage, but then watched Maru when he was reminded by his brother. Outside the stage, Maru was moving his hands slowly where the first years could see. Heewon realized what his hand gestures meant when he looked at the stage.
Aram, whose talking speed was a little too fast, slowed down when she saw Maru’s hand. Heewon looked at Maru nodding with a warm smile on his face. He felt good as though he was being complimented.
Heewon had a look at Maru in more detail. When he did, he could clearly feel the atmosphere of the stage change when Maru went on. The play felt like it was more filled. He was reminded of when his class played soccer with another class. There was a guy that was incredibly good at filling the gap on the field, and his existence decided what the match felt like as a whole. He was reminded of that guy when he looked at Maru.
He was the pivot at the center of everything. If the first years on stage felt like they were relying on Daemyung, Daemyung seemed to be relying on him.
When he kept watching, he spotted something else. It was that Maru’s acting was really simple. He didn’t mean that it was dry because Maru was bad at acting, but it felt as though Maru killed his acting completely. He was helping out everyone else so that they had more confidence and could be more natural as the background element of the play.
“I think he can do more though,” Heewon subconsciously blurted out.
Maru definitely had the power to pop out. He probably had the skills to conquer the stage as well. There was only one reason he didn’t: he didn’t need to. If the background popped, the color of the actors would decrease in comparison. That was why he chose to be colorless. He pressed all the colors into the center and quietly supported them from the bottom.
It was something that couldn’t be seen when looking at the whole picture, but something that could be spotted when looking at him. Maru was just that dissolved into the play.
Heewon sighed and looked at Maru.
“Do you find that fun?”
He muttered that question to himself.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
I got Kuroko (from Kuroko's Basketball/Kuroko no Basuke) vibes from Maru this chapter.
One for all (Maru) vs All for one (Heewon). Very interesting difference between the two 'geniuses'.
Also, did anyone remember Maru being ousted by the club when Heewon did in the play. Both became the 'problem' to bring the club back together.