Chapter 526

15 minutes. It was a short amount of time, but still long enough to finish reading the script. Since she said that they didn’t have to memorize it, rather than reading through all of it, it was more important to understand the general context. This was his first time acting for something in front of everyone here. Rather than acting skills, Chihwan thought that it would be the setting of the environment that would decide the audition.

‘The main character’s name is Minho. There’s no mention of his looks.’

Since the script wasn’t that difficult to read, he managed to read the entire thing in just ten minutes. Personally, the main character had a personality he really hated. Abandoning someone that was once his friend? But it wasn’t that he couldn’t understand him completely. There was a guy that didn’t talk much with the others when Chihwan was in middle school, and he did feel pity when he looked at that guy. Leading a solitary school life had to be very excruciating.

“Five minutes left,” said Sora.

Chihwan flipped the page back and looked at the middle part. This was the part where Minho reached out to the bullied friend and said that they should overcome it together. Chihwan really liked this part. It was clearly the moment in the play that was abundant with emotions. Rather than a scene where he was being bullied, a bright and cheerful scene would probably be better for the audition.

He uttered the words in the script out loud. The other students sitting next to him seemed to have decided on the scenes they wanted to do as they all started muttering their lines. He also imagined the situation inside his head and practiced some actions as well.

“Then let’s start. If anyone wants to come forward, please go ahead.”

Chihwan looked at the others for now. Being first was definitely going to be quite a burden here. While he was confident, he thought that he should improve himself after looking at how everyone else did it.

“Then let’s start from the left.”

Since there were no volunteers, Sora pointed to the left. His peer walked forward with an awkward expression on his face. Chihwan was sitting to the far right, so he was last. That wasn’t bad.

“Don’t be too nervous. We aren’t looking for perfection. If you can’t remember the lines, don’t panic and just look at the script.”

Daemyung told him to relax and take it slow. Chihwan felt himself becoming even more nervous when he heard those words. It finally felt real to him that he was acting in front of someone else.

“Please begin when you’re ready. Oh, tell us which scene you’re doing before you start.”

After saying those words, Sora looked at Chihwan’s peer who stood in front of her with a calm gaze. Chihwan felt as though he had a stomach ache. Just watching from the side was so nervewracking already, so how nervous would he be if he was the one standing there?

“I’m Kim Yoohwan. I-I’ll do scene 11.”

Yoohwan barely managed to speak and readied himself. Chihwan quickly flipped through the script to look at scene 11. It was the part that was slightly ahead of the scene he was planning to do.

Yoohwan, who wandered around in front of the camera for a while, took some deep breaths before starting his act.

“Uhm, if you’re going to eat by yourself, would you like to eat with me?”

As soon as he started talking, Chihwan clenched his eyes shut. He couldn’t bear to watch. The shaking voice, nervous hand gestures - it was an act that made the watcher feel ashamed. Chihwan clenched his teeth since he felt as though his whole body was being tickled. If he laughed now, he would be glared at by everyone else. He glanced next to him and saw that the others were also desperately trying to hold back their laughter. Some were twisting their bodies up. The girls were better. Since they were the judges, they were watching the act quite seriously. He felt rather ashamed when he saw that. He calmed his mind down and watched his friend’s acting to the end.

“That’s the end.”

“Okay, thank you for that. Next person, please come up.”

The friend that finished his act first sat down with an expression that looked like he was freed. Chihwan thought that he should’ve gone first if he knew that this was what it was going to be like. Chihwan licked his lips because of his impending turn. This was no time to laugh. He was going to be standing up there quite soon. He thought that he should try not to be nervous, but that made him more nervous instead.

“I am Kim Jinpil, and I’ll do scene six.”

It seemed that being second didn’t lessen the nervousness. Jinpil’s breathing was even shaking. As he looked at the script several times even during the same sentence, Daemyung told him to take deep breaths midway.

Chihwan couldn’t laugh this time. He realized that what he was seeing now, might very well be his own future. So acting wasn’t so easy. He focused and watched the acts of his friends. When he watched seriously, he no longer felt embarrassed. Instead, he was now filled with worries since he could catch the many immature parts that they showed. Younghoon, who went up third, was someone who was often complimented for his good pronunciation by the seniors during read-throughs, but right now, everything he said sounded completely incomprehensible. Chihwan realized just how hard it was to read through a script in a short time and act based on it immediately.

Eventually, the person sitting next to him stood up. He somehow felt even more scared with no one beside him. The fellow that stepped forward took a deep breath before starting to act. He didn’t think much about him usually since this guy was rather docile normally, but he was much better than the three that came before him. He was shaking and was stuttering from time to time as well, but this was the first time he felt that someone was looking at the camera while acting.

“Jinsoo, you’re good,” Daemyung said those words after the act ended.

Now there was even more pressure on him. Chihwan had another look at scene 14 before standing up.

“I am Ahn Chihwan, and I’d like to do scene 14.”

He felt like he was going crazy. As soon as he stood in front of the camera, his thighs tensed up and his knees started shaking. The gazes of the people that looked at him from the other side of the laptop were scary, but he never realized that a camera lens, which wasn’t even a living thing, could give off so much pressure. He felt his head go blank as he barely managed to utter his first line.

“It’s hard going to school, isn’t it? I find it hard too. Everyone looks down on me.”

What was the next line again? During that instant of silence, Chihwan could feel gazes that looked at him and hear some whispers, which made his head go completely blank. He dazed out for a few seconds before hurriedly taking out his script. He finally realized why the people before him looked so nervous. They all probably felt like him. What was the next line again? Which page was it on? Wow, this is completely crazy.

“Uh, uh… so it’s we should uh… we should help each other out. The winner is the one that lasts till the end!”

At the end of his sentence, he put too much strength into his words because he was so relieved that it was over. He didn’t even remember what he said. He heard the judges thank him before he walked to the others and sat down next to them.

“How was I?” he asked.

“You looked like a total idiot,” his friend replied.

“That was so damn hard.”

“I couldn’t remember a thing when I walked up there and saw the camera. I chose a short scene on purpose, but why couldn’t I remember it?”

“I tried to go with the cool scene, but boy do I regret it now. I was thinking about how I should do my hand gestures, my gaze, and my walking style, but nothing came to my mind when I actually stood up there. It’s driving me crazy.”

Chihwan clicked his tongue. It wasn’t even that hard. He just had to say a few lines and reach his hand out with a smile on his face, yet that was so hard to do. What was curious was that his nervousness disappeared when he realized that his act was over. Disappointment replaced his nervousness, and only regret remained behind at the end. Even though he had a plan, he couldn’t even start the ‘p’ of his plan before everything ended.

“The next group is coming in,” his friend pointed at the door and said.

Chihwan shook his head as he saw the five people come in with confident expressions on their faces.

‘Let’s see how you do in fifteen minutes.’

The benefit of being the first to take the medicine was that he could enjoy the pains of the followers. Chihwan looked forward to what kind of acting his friends would put on show. It was definitely a comedy, to say the least.

* * *

Ando glanced at Sora. She was writing things down with a serious expression. It seemed that none of them were to her liking.

‘Well, they were all strange.’

In the first place, they shouldn’t have had any expectations for them to do it properly after giving them only 15 minutes. Even he, who had zero experience in acting, knew that that was a difficult task. That was why he tried to look at the air they gave off rather than their acting skills as much as possible, but this audition made it hard to do even that. No, this couldn’t even be called an audition anymore.

“Wait a moment.”

This participant had a quick look at the script before continuing. A person with good memory should be able to memorize a couple of lines in a few minutes. But not even one of them finished their act without looking at the script. Was it that hard? Ando tried memorizing the lines after reading for ten minutes, and it was so easy. If he, who wasn’t so smart, could do it, they should be able to do it as well.

‘Looks like stage fright is really scary.’

Even though the judges were their peers, there were more than twenty people watching them. These boys probably rarely stepped up in front of the blackboard in class to present their answers, so it might be much more difficult than he imagined to act while everyone else paid attention to them. Ando imagined himself in front of the camera.

‘Oof, that’s not happening.’

Just imagining that was enough to make him become nervous. He could indirectly understand that not just anyone could become an actor.

“Seonbae, do you have anyone you’ve taken a liking to?” asked Sora in a small voice.

Ando slowly shook his head.

“They all look pretty much the same to me.”

“I think so too. I’m watching them seriously, but none of them caught my eyes.”

“We were going to pick them according to the feeling they gave off anyway.”

“That’s true. What do we do if even Maru-seonbae is like that?”

“Well, I’m not sure, but he’s been acting for a long time, hasn’t he? He should be different.”

“I’m worried since he only has 15 minutes.”

“Ah, right. Then he might be similar.”

“For now, I picked these five. Since the main character is being bullied, I excluded the ones that looked cheerful. Also, the good-looking ones too. I might be biased, but from the way I see it, most of the people that are bullied are shy-looking or are quite small.”

Ando nodded. Ando never had bullying issues in any of his classes throughout his school life. He didn’t know what kind of people were bullied, but like what Sora said, they shouldn’t be the likable-looking type. Thinking about it rationally, the ones that were teased when he was young all looked a bit dazed. Bullying had to be something that started from a trivial reason like that.

“I was actually bullied because I was overweight. Also, I stuttered quite a bit. Though, I still do that now,” Daemyung confessed something unexpected.

Ando looked at Daemyung in surprise. Bullied? He didn’t look like someone who would experience that at all. In fact, with a body like his, Ando thought that he was the one who overpowered everyone else.

“You were being bullied, seonbae? You don’t look like that though. Since you are quite cute, you’re more like a mascot rather than someone who would be bullied,” said Sora.

Daemyung smiled awkwardly and said that the reason he was bullied was something very trivial. Someone who had experience was sitting right next to him? Daemyung must’ve heard that someone that had the image of ‘being bullied’ was not good-looking, right? Ando felt sorry.

“So having a big body is a reason for bullying as well, huh. This whole bullying thing, I guess it starts off because of the pettiest reasons. It’s childish, really childish.”

Sora looked a little uncomfortable as she said those words. Maybe something came to mind?

At that moment, the door opened and the last group entered. Ando looked at Maru, who stood fourth in line. Until now, it was hard for him to discern the level of acting of the participants since they were all generally the same. If even Maru was like that, they would really have to base their judgement on looks.

“You have 15 minutes to read the script, and please start acting starting from the person on the left,” said Sora.

Ando picked up his pen. The audition was over after these five. The film production club, after all its ups and downs, was going to start creating a film again. Ando looked at Sora, who looked resolute. Although she was quite rude, he had seen her true feelings during the past couple of days. Plus, the other club members also agreed to create a film together. When he decided that they should create a good movie and told Sora about it, Sora expressed her thanks with a face that looked like she was about to cry.

‘We were a little taken aback back then.’

They didn’t know that she would show tears, so they had quite a hard time calming her down. Ando looked at Sora. He met eyes with her since she just happened to turn her head to see him as well, and Sora warned him saying that he should watch properly.

“Alright, alright,” said Ando with a smile.

For some reason, he felt a bit hot.

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KTLChamber's Thoughts

Oof, having to watch 13 people (14th is Maru) doing cringe acting must be quite excruciating in itself....

'he felt a bit hot' - are we seeing a new ship?

Editor's Note:
Hehehehehe, that's what they get for being overconfident. I get it though, judgment is very scary.
Also, new ship heck yea. All of the other ships disappeared from the novel entirely or are not cannon (yet).