Aura of a Genius Actor Chapter 16

Chapter 16 - Scene Stealer

༺ Scene Stealer ༻

 

  The performance of Oedipus’s <Hamlet> was a huge success.

 

  Renowned actor Seo Ryu Shin, with proven talent and a validated title, played the lead role. 

 

  Cheol-joo’s lips twisted when he heard that most of the performances had been sold out.

 

  A masculine appearance, a tall stature, and consistent acting skills. 

 

  The only case of a person being cast as a lead in their second semester of their second year at Changcheon was Choi Cheol-joo.

 

  Although he received great expectations at Changcheon, there was a sense of inferiority in a corner of his heart that couldn’t be filled.

 

  He harbored an uneasiness of not having become the best by competing with the best.

 

  ‘Anyway, if it were me, I would also be the lead at Oedipus.’

 

  Such consolation was shaken mercilessly after seeing a performance of Oedipus two years ago. It was after seeing the image of a crazed Alan overwhelmingly dominating the stage of <Equus>.

 

  Since then, his self-consolation had changed to this.

 

  ‘If I had been at Oedipus, I would at least be a rival to Seo Ryu Shin.’

 

  He decided to pursue the path of acting after graduation.

 

  Although it wasn’t quite like Oedipus, Changcheon was also a university theater group with tradition. If he offered his experience and looked for a university theater group, most of them would easily accept him.

 

  But what Cheol-joo wanted was something else.

 

  [Hello, senior. I am producing a performance of <Ambitious Dream> for this spring festival. It will be at Betty Hall, 7 PM from 5/29 to 5/31. I would be grateful if you could stop by!]

 

  [Oh, is Cheol-joo the director? Then I have to go. I’ll go to the first performance on Thursday.]

 

  Senior Baek Lee-shin, who worked as a casting director for the theater group <July>, promised to come and see the performance.

 

  Rather than auditioning, being recognized for his talent and being scouted was the picture that Cheol-joo wanted.

 

  Cheol-joo had a sweet dream that night.

 

  {I knew you could act, but I didn’t know you also had tremendous talent in directing!}

 

  {Please come to our theater group after graduation. I beg you!}

 

  The dream was about senior Lee-shin clinging onto him while he reluctantly agreed. 

 

  A contented smile adorned his sleeping face.

 

  * 

 

  “Ah- Ah- Ah- Ah-“

 

  “The technical rehearsal starts in 30 minutes. Let’s finish the sound check before that!”

 

  “Cue sheet! Who has seen the lighting cue sheet!”

 

  Before the first performance.

 

  The lights kept turning on and off without a break, and the stage set was getting the final details without a hitch. 

 

  The actors, wearing thick makeup, were either assisting the staff or looking into their scripts.

 

  Yoomyeong plopped down in one of the seats, having finished helping the stage team.

 

  Whew— 

 

  {It’s your first official stage since your regression. How do you feel?}

 

  Miho followed him today, just as he expected.

 

  Yoomyeong answered inwardly, staring straight ahead.

 

  ‘I’m surprisingly calm. I feel like I’ve returned to where I belong.’

 

  {Hehe. By the way, I saw Seo Ryu Shin’s performance yesterday.}

 

  ‘How was it? I wanted to see it too, but I couldn’t because of the performance preparation.’

 

  {The kid did well. That guy gives off a passionate taste.}

 

  At those words, Yoomyeong chuckled softly.

 

  It reminded him of Ryu Shin’s passion and competitiveness that used to burst out during rehearsals. It was a flavor that suited him well. 

 

  ‘Tell me what flavor I have later.’

 

  Leaving those words, Yoomyeong stood up.

 

  *

 

  Bustling— 

 

  One hour before the performance. Many people gathered in the hall lobby. 

 

  For this event, known as ‘Opening Night’, people related to Changcheon, such as professors and graduates, gathered to celebrate the opening.

 

  Beverages and refreshments were set up on each table, and familiar faces were having conversations here and there.

 

  “There’s the director

 

  As the auditorium door opened and Cheol-joo came out, the attendees greeted him with a big round of applause. 

 

  Cheol-joo’s face reddened and he nodded his head.

 

  “The director worked hard

 

  “Let’s hear a word

 

  As the focus of the crowd turned to him, he opened his mouth.

 

  “Professors, seniors, thank you for gracing us with your presence at the 65th performance of <Changcheon>, a place of history and tradition. I’m Choi Cheol-joo from the class of ’98, the director of this performance. Please enjoy watching and I would appreciate your candid advice if there are any shortcomings!”

 

  “How cool

 

  “He’s handsome

 

  Once again, the sound of applause echoed.

 

  Cheol-joo scanned the audience with sharp eyes. He saw the face he was looking for at two o’clock.

 

  Baek Lee-shin. He was the legendary senior who had directed three times while in school. He was the casting director of <July> whom Cheol-joo had been eagerly waiting for.

 

  As Cheol-joo walked towards the two o’clock direction, he casually struck up a conversation as if he passed by him coincidentally.

 

  “Oh! Senior Lee-shin. You really came. Thank you!”

 

  “Ah, Cheol-joo. I’m here to see you and to check if there are any good guys. Do a good job with the performance.”

 

  Lee-shin patted Cheol-joo’s shoulder.

 

  Having successfully caught the eye of the most important person, Cheol-joo now turned his attention to outside the theater. 

 

  He intended to check how many waiting spectators there were. However, he was surprised to see the person standing at the very front of the line outside the control line.

 

  It was Seo Ryu Shin.

 

  He had come the earliest to see ‘his performance’ and was standing in the front row.

 

  ‘As expected, Seo Ryu Shin is conscious of me, too,’ Cheol-joo thought, even feeling a sense of pleasure.

 

  Returning to the stage, Cheol-joo called the actors for one last gathering. After meeting Baek Lee-shin and Seo Ryu Shin, his already overflowing enthusiasm was set aflame.

 

  “Everyone, don’t be nervous, don’t forget your lines, and don’t improvise or break the balance! Changcheon fighting!”

 

  “Fighting

 

  The curtain of the performance was raised.

 

  *

 

  Lee-shin was sitting in the VIP seat, resting his elbow on the armrest and watching the performance. 

 

  His words to the director earlier were merely a courtesy; he had no real expectations for the Changcheon performance.

 

  ‘Not bad.’

 

  “Not bad” was by no means synonymous with good.

 

  ‘It has form for a university performance, but…’

 

  In other university performances, where clumsiness tends to be evident, one can often discover an overpowering energy or distinct character, but such expectations were not held for the Changcheon performances.

 

  ‘It feels like watching a performance where kids pretend to be adults.’

 

  Disliking the ‘Changcheon style’ which emphasizes adequacy and balance, Lee-shin made some bold casting decisions when he was directing during his time at the university.

 

  He cast a friend in the lead role who was said not to have a lead role vibe because he lacked certain attributes. Another female student, who was said to be suitable for a lead female role because she was pretty, was used by him as a comedic character because he saw a four-dimensional charm in her.

 

  He was called in by the seniors several times.

 

  He had heard enough and was tired of hearing the ‘tradition of Changcheon’.

 

  Since the director had full authority during the preparation for the performance, Lee-shin let the words slip through one ear while pushing forward with his intentions.

 

  And the nagging and worries turned into praise after the performance ended. That experience might have been what made Lee-shin a casting director.

 

  ‘The lead is Gu Won-young? His acting is better than Cheol-joo’s. However, he’s still just as boring…’

 

  Lee-shin let out a small yawn. He hadn’t gotten much sleep lately because the theater troupe had been busy. 

 

  Just as he was about to doze off, a new character appeared on stage.

 

  ‘Huh?’

 

  His drowsiness disappeared. 

 

  .

 

  .

 

  .

 

  A man was walking out from the left pocket of the stage.

 

  A suit with a bowtie, hair slicked back tightly with pomade and a shiny gold watch on his wrist.

 

  The man, who walked out swaggering with his hands shoved in his pockets contrasting his formal attire, captivated everyone’s attention. 

 

  Why?

 

  While Lee-shin was contemplating why the man was attracting attention without doing anything in particular, he sat down on the couch on stage, crossing his legs.

 

  In a posture that seemed almost laid back, he picked up a telephone.

 

  Ring— 

 

  Reporter Kwak, who was on the right side of the stage, answered the phone.

 

  [Oh, our dear reporter.]

 

  [Hello, Mr. President.]

 

  [Did you have a good time with the newcomer that I introduced to you last time?]

 

  [Look at this. You’re asking for another favor right off the bat, huh?]

 

  [Haha. You got a big scoop this time, didn’t you?]

 

  [Ah. That one~ The Spiderman concept went well and it got some attention. Isn’t it nice? The people’s hero, Spiderman~]

 

  [You came up with a mind-boggling concept. Does he have an agency? If not, introduce him to me.]

 

  [Want to take a shot? Smelling the money, aren’t you?]

 

  ‘Wow. That actor…’

 

  Lee-shin sat up straight. The instincts of a casting director were pulling at him.

 

  He exclaimed three times in a short scene.

 

  First of all, the voice.

 

  A voice as soft yet clear as the famed actor Peter O’Toole. 

 

  Was there such a voice among the local actors? The tone was so good that he would want to raise him as an actor even if he was just an ordinary person with such a voice.

 

  And then, the ‘voice character’ that reversed that smoothness.

 

  If you ask the average audience member what they think of that person’s voice, they would probably say that ‘it’s a very cunning and unpleasant voice’.

 

  His inflection, speech pattern, and conversational habits were so ‘third-rate’ that they covered up the original smoothness. Despite using the most deferential language to Reporter Kwak, the audience could still feel that he’s a villain. 

 

  The last was the expression, the reason why Lee-shin could not take his eyes off him from the beginning. 

 

  He had a realistically vile expression that could not hide his true nature even when he was smiling or being kind.

 

  The only unfortunate thing was that it seemed like the actor was naturally born with such a face because of the vile impression he had even when his face was expressionless.

 

  ‘It’s perfect for his current role, but with that kind of impression, it will be difficult for him to play anything other than a villain in the future, hmm.’

 

  Despite this, he was intrigued.

 

  This was an actor who had evoked in him not a ‘Wow, that guy’ or ‘That bastard’, but a ‘Wow, that actor’ kind of admiration.

 

  ‘Did I bring my business card today…?’

 

  The performance continued.

 

  Lee-shin noticed an odd atmosphere when President Nam appeared for the third time.

 

  If Kim Cheolsu was the virtuous protagonist and Reporter Kwak was an opportunistic, supporting role representing the bitter facets of modern society, then Mr. Nam was the villainous minor character symbolizing the darkness of society.

 

  The villain’s impact was significant, but since he was neither the lead nor supporting actor, his appearances were limited.

 

  Yet, even in those limited scenes…

 

  Whoosh— 

 

  The audience’s gaze was consistently concentrated on the supporting actor. 

 

  Feeling goosebumps for the fourth time, Lee-shin rubbed his arms with his palms.

 

  He might have been the first to recognize the value of ‘Mr. Nam’ with his exceptional eyes and maxed-out analytical skills. 

 

  But in the end, the most accurate judge was the audience. It was the audience who unconsciously favored a particular actor’s performance with their gaze.

   

  In Act 3.

 

  When he revealed his malice in a scene where he faced off with the lead actor in a one-on-one, a member of the audience sharply inhaled.

 

  Despite the lead actor delivering more lines directly, the audience’s gaze kept getting attracted to him.

 

  He stole the show. 

 

  He was, literally, a ‘scene-stealer’.

 

  * 

 

  Clap, clap, clap, clap, clap— 

 

  As a massive round of applause poured down, the curtain call began. Lee-shin anxiously waited for the reappearance of ‘that actor’.

 

  “As Gu Won-young in the role of Kim Cheolsu~”

 

  The sound faded.

 

  “As Kang Seok-ho in the role of Reporter Kwak~”

 

  The lighting faded.

 

  “As Shin Yoomyeong in the role of President Nam~”

 

  Finally, when the actor he had been waiting for appeared…

 

  ‘Huh?’

 

  Lee-shin blinked several times before rubbing his eyes. 

 

  The face of the young male student who was smiling brightly and waving was utterly devoid of any distortion and appeared very innocent.

 

  ‘I thought his villainous expression was his natural demeanor. This is insane… did he actually create that expression?!’

 

  Lee-shin rushed outside even before the lights in the auditorium came on.

 

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

 

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Aura of a Genius Actor

Aura of a Genius Actor

Score 9.99
Status: Completed Native Language: Korean
[Winner of the 5th Korea Web Novel Contest] He cast his very being into a life of acting, only to go unrecognized.   But now, his life begins anew

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