༺ How I See The World ༻
Yoomyeong started walking without any hesitation while the other students watched, wide-eyed.
Rummaging through the worn-out equipment bag placed on a seat, he saw some black iron plates engraved with droplet patterns, leaf patterns, and window patterns.
He took out the one labeled number 43, returned to the stage, and looked for the position of the number 14 lighting fixture on the light plot (a stage lighting map).
It was an ellipsoidal light fixture hung on the very first line, its head bent in the direction of hitting the background.
He smoothly slid the gobo into the slot in the head of the light fixture.
The lighting technician nodded.
“I’m Kim Sung-jin, the lighting technician. What about you, student?”
“I’m Shin Yoomyeong from Gwanak University, class of ’00. We’ll be working together for a short while so feel free to talk comfortably, brother.”
Sung-jin chuckled lightly at Yoomyeong’s good-natured greeting.
“Okay. Let’s work hard until a substitute is found.”
Behind them, the assistant director sighed in relief.
As Sung-jin hung the light fixture, Yoomyeong quickly came to his side to secure the wire to the bar.
Just as the tape he was using seemed about to run out, Yoomyeong extended a new tape in perfect timing.
When the light didn’t turn on in the fixture, Yoomyeong had already gone to fetch a new one before being instructed to.
As time passed, Sung-jin was becoming increasingly impressed with him. He was quick-witted and smart.
“Did you do any part-time work in electrical engineering?”
“No. I just have a little interest in this field.”
Yoomyeong chuckled while making excuses.
Having endured 15 years in a theater troupe suffering from chronic deficits, he had developed various skills. Handling lighting fixtures was one of them.
He couldn’t compare to a professional lighting technician, but he was capable of basic tasks like hanging, securing, and tidying up the wires.
The upper stage setup was roughly finished.
“Do you know how to operate the console?”
* Console – a master device that controls all the lights/lighting fixtures in the theater.
“I know how to turn it on and off.”
“Go to the control box and raise the numbers I’m going to call out.”
Yoomyeong rushed to the control box located at the back of the seats.
In this space where lighting and sound were controlled during performances, there were many devices. Finding the lighting console among them, Yoomyeong raised the fader (a lever that adjusts the brightness of the lights) according to the sound coming from the walkie-talkie.
“Numbers 3, 9, and 12, full!”
He pushed the faders for numbers 3, 9, and 12 all the way up. Only the center of the theater stage, which had been darkened for testing, brightened dramatically.
“Turn them off, then raise them one by one.”
As he raised them one by one, Sung-jin held the light plot in his hand and carefully checked the brightness and angle.
“Give 76 to number 3, and 30 to numbers 9 and 12.”
“Give 35 to number 12.”
“Okay. Turn everything off, and this time, raise numbers 27 and 28.”
The lights that fell on the empty stage were fascinating.
Lights that were yellow, blue, and red when separated merged to form a single light, adding atmosphere to the stage.
Even when illuminating the same space, hitting the stage with lighting that came from above made it intense, while hitting it from the back made it look ethereal.
When illuminating the same space, mixing a bit of blue made it gloomy, and mixing a lot made it eerie.
And as expected from a technician from Hyejeondang, his skills were genuine.
“Now let’s go down again and adjust the angle.”
Their work continued late into the night.
In a beer house in front of Daehangno.
Yoomyeong sat across from Sung-jin. The draft beer they were drinking after eating dust for several hours at the theater was delicious.
“You do your work well. You were better than most assistant technicians.”
“I’ve learned a lot from you. Watching a pro like you work is almost like art. It’s really cool!”
He was being sincere.
Yoomyeong had met countless resident technicians and contract technicians while working in the theater, but he had never seen anyone produce high-quality work in such a short time just like Sung-jin.
After thinking for a while, Sung-jin opened his mouth as if he had made up his mind.
“Do you want to work under me after you graduate?”
Sung-jin was currently the youngest lighting technician at Hyejeondang, and Hyejeondang was the best theater in Korea.
Being in the lighting team of Hyejeondang, which offered the best conditions, was like catching a star in the sky. When a job opening occurred once every few years, experienced professionals and overseas doctoral graduates would flock to it.
However, Sung-jin was a person who thought that sense was more important than experience in working. He could teach any knowledge that was lacking.
“If you come and learn from me during each vacation and make an impression on the seniors, you should be able to get a job without any problems by the time you graduate. The theater scene is still a place where connections matter more.”
Of course, this was a misunderstanding that arose because Sung-jin took Yoomyeong’s words of ‘being interested’ at face value.
Yoomyeong was sweating inwardly. Sung-jin’s excessive favor towards him could make their relationship awkward if not handled correctly.
He decided to confront it head-on.
“Brother, I’m really thankful that you think highly of me! I know it’s an offer that others would bow down for. But I have a different dream.”
“What is it?”
“A leading actor who can stand on the stage of Hyejeondang.”
Sung-jin coughed in surprise.
‘So, he wants to be an actor. But what’s with the ambition of this amateur who hasn’t even debuted yet…?’
A leading actor who could stand on the stage of Hyejeondang.
This was an ambition that one would usually bring up only after becoming the leading actor of a prestigious theater troupe.
Moreover, the large ‘Sujeondang’ theater of Hyejeondang with a capacity of 3,500 seats was something people didn’t even dare to mention. It was mainly used for operas or concerts.
But what was the reason why it wasn’t funny when this guy mentioned it?
Was it because his innocence was cute, or because his gaze was serious?
“How do you know about stage lighting if you want to be an actor? Have you studied it separately?”
“Yes. I believe that understanding stage lighting is crucial to becoming a good actor.”
“Why is that?”
“Isn’t it stage lighting that encompasses all dramatic elements like acting, stage, sound, and sets the atmosphere? Well, in fact, I’d like to know a bit about everything related to theater and not just stage lighting.”
This was a thought that Yoomyeong had always had.
He believed that understanding the other components of a play certainly helped in acting.
Yoomyeong couldn’t say that he learned how to do other things because he only had minor roles and a lot of spare time.
At his words, Sung-jin was slightly moved.
It was difficult to find actors who paid attention to the many people and devices working behind the dazzling stage to create a play. It would be a relief if they even knew to express their gratitude for the effort.
To find a person who understands the value of theatrical lighting, which he has dedicated his life to…
“Do you want to tour Hyejeondang?”
At Sung-jin’s proposal, Yoomyeong inwardly cheered and nodded vigorously.
This was what he had aimed for from the beginning.
That Friday, evening practice.
Cheol-joo briefly called Yoomyeong aside before the practice.
“I heard that you helped out on the tour yesterday?”
His words were complimenting Yoomyeong, but his tone was somewhat snarky.
“I helped a bit because they seemed to be in trouble.”
Suddenly, Cheol-joo called his name in a friendly manner.
“I know you’re talented and hardworking, and I understand that you helped the senior with good intentions this time. So, there are many seniors who have high expectations of you, including me.”
“But in the real world, there will be people who envy you if you stand out too much. It’s better to be a little better than others, but not too much. That way, you won’t have enemies and can smoothly reach the top.”
Was that the case?
The old Yoomyeong might have agreed.
But would the peak attained by adjusting to the people around him truly be the real peak?
When someone steadily climbs without forcing themselves and reaches the peak of Mount Halla, wouldn’t the person who ran and fell while developing their lung capacity be looking down at them from the peak of Mount Everest?
Yoomyeong didn’t do anything to stand out. He just did the best that he could under the given circumstances.
I was miraculously given another chance. I don’t want to waste it. I will create as many opportunities as possible and unfold my potential to surpass my limits.
There was no reason to convince someone who meant nothing to him.
“Yes. Thank you for the advice, senior.”
“I’m not saying you did anything wrong. I just wanted to tell you because I felt like you reminded me of myself.”
The words were meant as a compliment, but Yoomyeong smiled bitterly.
He was probably right to be concerned.
However, how people saw the world differed from person to person.
“Hey, kneel down.”
“Where did this laborer come from? So suddenly—”
“Should we load that thing onto a shrimp boat, boss?”
The underlings of President Nam in <Ambitious Dream> were hounding Kim Cheolsu, who was on his knees.
“Joo Seon-Ho. You need to deliver your lines more wickedly!”
“All beginners are like that, Hansang. Make sure to properly train Seon-Ho.”
Park Hansang, who was playing the role of Underling 1 in President Nam’s team, was the big shot of this team. He moved to the next classroom with Underling 2 and 3.
“Seon-Ho, hey. Act like a man! Can’t you show some spirit, like ‘I’m going to beat that guy up’?”
“I know you’re working hard, but the acting needs to be a bit more… like you’re immersed in the character naturally, you know? You can watch me do it and take notes.”
“…Yes, I’ll try harder.”
Joo Seon-Ho. An economics major from the class of ’02.
Having a romantic vision of the university drama club, he sought out Changcheon as soon as he entered university.
In his sophomore year, he made his first attempt at acting. When he succeeded in getting a role in the highly competitive casting, he was overjoyed.
But now, no matter how much he thought about it, it seemed like he was miscast.
He was 165 cm tall with a slim body and a face with soft features.
However, the role he got was the second underling of President Nam, a small and medium-sized entertainment agency (aka the bully).
No matter how much he tried to act threatening with his thin voice, it just sounded amusing.
He even tried to lower his voice or make it hoarse, but the only response was, ‘Did you catch a cold, Seon-Ho?’
“Seon-Ho, come and see me.”
Another senior was calling him today.
“Do you know how many people wanted your role? If you don’t do well, it’s a nuisance to the people who got dropped because of you.”
“…Yes, I will do my best.”
The senior left the scene with a displeased face, clicking his tongue. Seon-Ho’s eyes welled up with tears.
‘Hah, should I resign from the role right now…?’
The practice for that day ended gloomily.
Seon-Ho, the youngest among the actors, cleaned the practice room until the end and found a script lying on the floor.
‘Oh, this is senior Yoomyeong’s script…’
A senior who, unlike himself, was showing incredible acting in his first performance. With a cool style and unmatched acting abilities, Yoomyeong was the object of Seon-Ho’s admiration, someone who was out of his league.
It was hard to imagine that this person was deemed ordinary during his first year.
‘Should I…take a little look?’
He couldn’t forget the actor’s ever-changing face when he acted out the assignment <Joy>. He couldn’t forget the seniors’ expressions, especially the assistant director’s stunned face.
He had secretly dreamed of receiving such admiration, but in reality, he was always the youngest and was always being scolded.
How would the script of such an actor look…?
It was a worn-out script.
While he was diligently looking into the tiny letters that filled the blank spaces and the back of the script…
The door opened.
Seon-Ho froze like ice upon raising his head.
“Ah, senior. I was just checking whose it was so I could return it. It’s your script, hahaha.”
An indifferent gaze looked down at him.
Yoomyeong’s face had an accusing ‘I know what you’ve done’ expression.
“I-I-I’m sorry! I was just so curious, so I read a bit…”
“Oh? That can happen. Why are you so flustered?”
Yoomyeong talked as if he didn’t care much.
He had always given off an intimidating vibe, but his tone is surprisingly gentle.
Encouraged by that, Seon-Ho closed his eyes tightly and blurted out.
“Senior! Can you help me by any chance?”
“I think my role really doesn’t suit me. I’m even thinking of quitting…”
Yoomyeong looked at Seon-Ho. It was the junior who had been criticized every day recently.
Yoomyeong had been paying quite a bit of attention to him. Actually, rather than to him…
To his role.
‘I owe a debt to that role.’
The role of President Nam’s underling 2 was a role that Yoomyeong had played in his previous life.
He was a real novice at that time, so while he had put in the effort, he still wasn’t able to act properly.
Yoomyeong thought that it would be satisfying if this guy could at least do justice to the role.
He checked the time.
“Where do you live?”
“What? Ah, I’m staying at a boarding house.”
“You can come home a bit late, right? Do you want to go and watch a movie with me?”
Shortly after, the two arrived at a movie theater near the school.
The ticket that Yoomyeong bought was for the movie <Memories of Murder>, which was released in April 2003 and left a huge footprint in Korean film history.
You can rate this series here.