Aura of a Genius Actor Chapter 18

Chapter 18 - The View from Above, The View from Below

༺ The View from Above, The View from Below ༻



  Cheol-joo blankly followed the afterimage of Ryu Shin.


  Ryu Shin approached someone behind him.


  “Ah, did you come to see the performance, brother? Thank you.”


  “I’ve seen all the previous performances.”


  “Huh, really? Was it an analysis of Changcheon’s performance as the President of Oedipus…?” 


  Cheol-joo’s ears perked up.


  “No. I didn’t come to see Changcheon’s performance…”




  “I’m not interested in the performance, except for one ‘actor’.”


  Cheol-joo’s face indescribably soured when Ryu Shin handed the bouquet to Yoomyeong. He seemed about to say something but then stormed out of the theater.


  “Thank you.”


  “Your acting was good. But next time, I want to see your best performance.”


  “Huh? What does that mean…?”


  “I mean, it’s not that you didn’t do your best, but I want to see you act in an environment where your best becomes the greatest.”


  Ryu Shin left after delivering those cryptic words.


  His retreating figure crossed paths with a crowd of junior business students, and Yoomyeong busily posed for photos, clutching the bouquet.


  The flowers he received from this one performance seemed to outnumber those he had received in his entire previous life.




  After the play is over, I’m left all alone in the audience.


  Have you ever seen the stage after the lights went out?


  <After the Play is Over> by Sharp, 1988.



  Bang Kwang— 


  Heave… Heave… Huff— 


  The stage was being torn down.


  Tears filled the eyes of the troupe members as they destroyed the passion they had built up over three months with their own hands.


  As if to mock their sorrow, the sound team always played that song. The young troupe members cried out in genuine grief.


  Amidst this, Yoomyeong silently swung his hammer with dry eyes.


  ‘I feel surprisingly calm, and a bit bitter…’


  Fifteen years before his regression, 23-year-old Yoomyeong cried more than anyone else as he destroyed his first stage.


  The novice actor was touched simply by the fact that he had his share of attention. 


  He cried all night after the performance ended because he felt sorry for breaking the stage, reluctant to leave his role, and found his colleagues who had been with him so endearing.


  But what was different now?


  The reason that Yoomyeong followed the Changcheon minor role route as before in his regressed life was…


  ‘At first, it was a test.’


  Although Miho gave him presence, he couldn’t anticipate how much he had changed. He couldn’t feel that his acting itself was good except for his presence.


  However, when he had the opportunity to play the role of Freddie in the middle, he became sure that he was not his former self. There was a slight thrill in his heart when Ryu Shin later proposed his admission to Oedipus. It was obvious that the quality of acting of the actors performing with him would be different.


  But the reason he stayed at Changcheon was…




  Yoomyeong hit the last adhesive part of the wall hard and the detached wall fell to the ground.


  The crash made a loud noise.


  Thus, the stage was completely destroyed. He picked up the fragments scattered on the floor one by one.




  …The reason he stayed at Changcheon was for a requiem for his former self.


  A nameless actor without presence who was overwhelmed by the smallest attention.


  On his own birthday, he filled his empty stomach with water while waiting for 14 hours on an overnight shoot.


  He endured his minuscule pay, unable to protest for fear of not being called again. 


  And he had his role taken away by a newcomer who joyfully filled the vacant position. 


  It was a tribute to the first stage of an actor who had filled 15 years of unpaid time with only love and passion for acting.


  ‘With this, let’s put an end to the self-pity.’


  In his previous life, he had pride in Changcheon. He thought that it was a good theater troupe full of passionate and talented people. But Changcheon, seen upon his return, was very different.


  Why was the view from above so different from the view from below? 


  It was just the same scenery.


  It wasn’t because of Cheol-joo, who constantly took shots at Yoomyeong. 


  It was because although it was a group that was enthusiastic, for most of them, it was just a hobby. There was no sense of urgency or life-or-death commitment.


  Clearly, they were amateurs.


  It wasn’t until he was on the main stage that Yoomyeong realized that this wasn’t a place for him to play on anymore.


  The words left by Ryu Shin earlier probably meant that. A stage where the best becomes the greatest, and not this amateur stage.


  Yoomyeong went to find Jun-han after the stage was somewhat cleaned up.


  “Hey, Yoomyeong, you did well.”


  “Yes. Thank you. I’m thinking of skipping the after-party.”


  “Eh? Why…”




  “…You must’ve been disappointed. I’m sorry. I should have stopped him.”


  “No. I’m seriously considering a career in acting. I want to gain more diverse experiences.” 


  “…I see. It’s probably hard to hear good things at the after-party anyway. I’ll tell them that you’re not feeling well.”


  “Thank you.”


  “…Changcheon is losing a good actor. It’s self-inflicted, though.”


  At that bitter remark, Yoomyeong looked at Jun-han. He was a senior to whom he was grateful in his past and present life. He was also a good actor.


  “Won’t you go into acting?”


  “Heh. It’s hard to make a living with an ambiguous talent like mine. Acting is for people like you and Ryu Shin.”




  “I plan to live as an ordinary citizen. I’ll be satisfied if I occasionally go to your performances and proudly say, ‘That actor is my acquaintance.’ I don’t want to act foolishly and embarrass myself.” 


  Yoomyeong gave a self-mocking smile at those words.


  In his past life, he was exactly the case of someone who acted foolishly and embarrassed himself. 


  But even then, he didn’t regret it. It was because he loved acting so much that he didn’t think he could be happy without it.


  “When you get a job in a good place, please buy me a drink.”


  “Sure. When you become a pro, send me tickets from time to time. You know that the first assistant director is always the mother, right?”


  “Of course.”


  Yoomyeong extended one hand, and they firmly shook hands. 


  From then on, Shin Yoomyeong sent tickets for every premiere of his new work, and Jun-han spent his lifetime boasting that he was ‘an acquaintance of Shin Yoomyeong.’ 


  At this point, they didn’t know it yet.




  The one-act play, midterms, and Changcheon performance ended in a rush. 


  After taking a short rest, Yoomyeong contacted Kim Sung-jin, the youngest lightning technician at Hyejeondang, just yesterday.


  [‘Hyejeondang’ Shuttle Bus 20m→]


  He got off at Hyejeondang station and transferred to a shuttle. After a brief drive through the city, the shuttle quickly entered a lush forest that didn’t resemble Seoul. After running for quite a while through a wide green area, buildings that were scattered here and there came into view.


  The theater complex included a large 3,500-seat theater ‘Su (秀)’, which was the symbol of Hyejeondang, two large 2,000-seat theaters, three medium-sized theaters with 500~1,500 seats, three small theaters with less than 500 seats, and a large outdoor theater.


  There were exhibition halls, restaurants, and office buildings for performance-related companies.


  ‘I’ve been here countless times, but it’s a place that stirs the spirit of an actor every time they visit.’


  Even though there were many performance venues, to theater people, performing at Hyejeondang was a dream that was hard to grasp.


  It was due to the strict policy of not making the theater idle by putting on performances that were below standard despite being able to put on various performances such as opera, concerts, musicals, and classical recitals.


  However, that dream was now coming true.


  [The Dream of Theatricals, 19th National Theater Festival! 2003.06.03~06.12]


  ‘Huh? It seems like the National Theater Festival is in progress!’


  {Wow. It must be fun!}


  ‘If there are tickets left, shall we watch a performance after the tour?’




  When Yoomyeong mentioned visiting Hyejeondang, Miho tagged along. The bluish cluster of light that was visible only to Yoomyeong made a thrilled sound.


  The shuttle eventually discharged its passengers at the last stop.


  As soon as he got off, Yoomyeong picked up the theater festival pamphlet reflected at the bus stop.


  The National Theater Festival. It was a competition of theater troupes from all over the country who passed the local preliminaries. It was said that a total of nine theater troupes, two in the Seoul area and one in the other regions, perform each day.




  [6/7 (Friday) 4th day <Perfume>]


  [Representative of Gyeongsang Province <Haeundae> Theater Troupe]


  [15:00, 19:30. A 95-minute performance]




  ‘It seems like this is the piece today. Could it be based on ‘that’ original novel?’ 


  {The one that was made into a movie? That should be fun!}


  ‘I wonder. I’m curious about how they performed Grenouille.’


  While imagining Grenouille, an insane murderer who couldn’t understand human emotions, Yoomyeong wondered how he would have performed the role.


  Just thinking about it was challenging. However…it was also a bit exciting.


  “Please give me one ticket for perfume.”


  He purchased a ticket at the entrance.


  The 3 PM performance was currently ongoing, and there were plenty of tickets left for the 7:30 PM performance.


  ‘It’s not sold out even though it’s a theater festival performance?’


  Tilting his head, Yoomyeong headed toward his appointment.




  “Ah, you found your way here.”


  “That’s true. The theater was so small that it was hard to find it.”


  At Yoomyeong’s joke, Sung-jin chuckled.


  “What’s that?”


  “I bought a ticket to see the theater festival after the tour.”


  “Oh really? You should’ve told me. I could’ve gotten you a ticket.”


  “No, I’m grateful enough just for the tour!”


  Sung-jin glanced at the ticket in Yoomyeong’s hand.


  “Theater troupe <Haeundae>… That’s a bit of a pity. I heard that a lot of theater companies in Gyeongsang Province are boycotting the theater festival this year due to issues with the theater association, so the quality of the selected teams has dropped. It would’ve been good if it were the Gangwon team <Hwarang> performance.”


  “Is that so? But this is based on a famous novel, isn’t it? I have no idea how they got the author’s permission.”


  “That caused quite a controversy, but I heard that the script was wasted.” 


  “So that’s why it wasn’t sold out…”


  “Let’s go now. Luckily, the Sujeondang is still empty.”


  The Su (秀) was the signature super theater of Hyejeondang.


  Following Sung-jin, Yoomyeong entered the backstage.


  “You’re lucky. When they’re preparing for a musical or opera performance, you often can’t enter due to security issues. You could see other theaters, but it feels different from seeing Sujeondang, right?”


  “There’s no performance in the Sujeondang today?”


  “Have you heard of Shin Juyeon, who came in second place in the Liszt Piano Competition? She has a homecoming concert this whole week. Since the concert setup finished on the first day, the staff won’t arrive until about 5 PM today.”


  “I see.”


  A top laureate of the world-famous Liszt International Piano Competition. She was the person who caused a commotion in the media for a while for promoting national prestige.


  Indeed, one must be at that level to be worthy of the Sujeondang. Yoomyeong began to feel a little excited.


  The backstage was tremendous.


  There were conference rooms, a lounge with temporary beds, and personal lockers. Several private rooms for important people were equipped with separate dressing rooms and bathrooms.


  And that wasn’t all.


  There were luxurious facilities that were hard to find even in most theaters 15 years later such as a revolving stage, adjustable stage devices, lifts, side options, and a scaled-down model of the theater which was installed in the middle of the conference room.


  “Wow… it’s… I’m at a loss for words.”


  “It’s a killer, isn’t it?”


  Sung-jin looked pleased at Yoomyeong’s surprised expression. He proudly introduced the best theater in Korea, which he acknowledged while studying lighting abroad and visiting world-renowned theaters.


  “Let’s go to the stage now.”




  Yoomyeong’s heart started to pound when it was time to see the actual venue.


  The statement of his dream about being a lead actor in the Sujeondang was half an exaggeration to cover Sung-jin’s misunderstanding.


  However, after returning and getting a taste for acting over three months, he found himself reflecting on his words. And now, after taking a close look at the Sujeondang, that feeling grew stronger.


  The theater was dazzling.


  The grandeur of the largest audience in the country with 3,500 seats encircling the stage was overwhelming.


  The golden dome-shaped ceiling and the beautiful seats wrapped in red velvet had a dignity reminiscent of the Vienna court music hall. A single Steinway piano leaning to one side of the stage added to the atmosphere.


  “Wow…it’s…it’s incredibly amazing.”


  Sung-jin playfully grinned at Yoomyeong’s reaction. 


  “Go up and see.”






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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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