༺ I Can Do It ༻
Ryu Shin’s angelically bright and pure Jekyll became paired with the most fitting Hyde.
A devilishly bright and pure Hyde.
“Danvers Carew? Dead? Just like that?”
He tilted his head once and again.
The tone of his voice was eerily innocent.
“The left arm was twisted 90 degrees in the opposite direction and the right leg about 270 degrees. Ah, humans break so easily. It’s quite amusing.”
A smile spread across his face.
He looked happy. How could he look so cheerful with a corpse in front of him?
“Henry Jekyll is such a fool. This sort of thing is actually enjoyable.”
What Seo Ryu Shin was displaying wasn’t a filthy type of evil, but evil akin to the innocence of a child.
It was a marvelous concept. It may not go well with his own Jekyll, but it definitely fits well with Seo Ryu Shin’s Jekyll. Even more so, because Ryu Shin’s embodiment of that concept was even more beautiful than a painting.
“Ah, is there no one else to break? If not a person, then maybe a cat.”
Hyde licked his tongue.
The feeling was reptilian, emphasizing Hyde’s inhuman aspects even more.
Every action was filled with deliberation, choice, and practice. It was truly befitting of Seo Ryu Shin.
‘Indeed, it’s impressive.’
Yoomyeong nodded his head.
In his entire past life, he had seen only a few actors with such passion for acting.
Clap, clap, clap, clap—
A thunderous applause erupted.
While everyone was debating over Hyde’s incredible performance,
Seon Yu-ri was racking her brain.
‘This is difficult…’
Unlike when Yoomyeong had first attempted to challenge the lead role, she couldn’t easily come to a conclusion.
In the end, she convened a meeting with the directing team.
“Wow. What should we do about this?”
As she entered the next classroom, a groan burst out from Assistant Director Ji Hyung.
Yu-ri nodded in agreement.
“Both of them are incredible. I feel a sense of self-loathing to the point that I wonder if I deserve to be called an actor.”
“Ah, it’s a happy dilemma as a director… but as an actor, it’s bittersweet.”
“Both versions of Jekyll and Hyde clearly have their strengths. Shin Yoomyeong’s performance definitely evokes human empathy, and it’s persuasive. You get engrossed watching it and you can feel the conflict along with him.”
“What about Senior Ryu Shin?”
“He has a strong character that’s like an angel and a devil incarnate. First-time viewers will likely be more captivated by him. The fact that he’s a complete villain makes the twist of being pure even more attractive.”
“So what should we do?”
Silence fell again.
It was Yu-ri who broke the long, stretching period of indecision.
“If we can’t determine who is better, then the principle is to stick with the existing actor.”
“Yes, but Senior Ryu Shin’s performance surpasses anything we’ve seen in the last three years…”
“That’s true. They say having a rival speeds up your growth; as an actor, I’m envious. But for now, since I’m the director, we have to stick to the principle.”
Then, Jun-ho, who was present at the directors’ meeting as an adapter and a semi-director, cautiously opened his mouth.
“If it’s difficult to choose one side, would double casting be… too much?”
Yu-ri’s eyes widened.
The directors had returned.
“Yes. If one side was clearly superior then it would be one thing, but since both have shown exceptional acting, there’s no need to insist on choosing just one.”
“So then, are we dividing it by performances or by roles for Jekyll and Hyde?”
“We have a new writer who gave a good suggestion; let’s hear it out.”
Everyone focused on Jun-ho and he began to explain, his face reddening.
“There are a total of four performances, right? Thursday evening, Friday evening, and Saturday matinee and evening. My thought is, for one performance, Senior Ryu Shin could play both Jekyll and Hyde, for another performance Yoomyeong could play both. On Saturday, the two could split the roles of Jekyll and Hyde. Wouldn’t that be interesting?”
It was a new idea.
Although it looked extremely challenging, everyone’s eyes lit up at the thought that ‘this could be fun!’
The natural-born actors Ryu Shin and Yoomyeong felt the same.
‘If I share the stage with Shin Yoomyeong…’
‘If I share the stage with Ryu Shin…’
Their hearts pounded with intense excitement.
“So, what about the ‘transformation’ part?”
Ryu Shin asked a question. Everyone seemed to be on the same page, nodding in agreement.
It was the part where Hyde transformed back into Jekyll in front of Dr. Lanyon. It was a section newly written by Jun-ho, and it was the most challenging yet powerful climax of the play.
“I just thought of this, but what if we use a screen?”
“Yes. If we hang a white cloth and shine light from behind it, it’ll create a silhouette effect. The original actor for the Hyde role can act the transformation as a silhouette, and then the Jekyll actor appears from behind the screen…”
Jun-ho’s eyes sparkled as he explained.
Yu-ri raised an objection to this.
“But if the tones of the Jekyll and Hyde roles don’t match well, the audience will feel a sense of incongruity, as if someone else has jumped out…”
“Ah… yes, that’s true. Is it too difficult?”
Faced with Jun-ho’s embarrassed question, the two actors locked eyes.
“I can do it.”
“Of course, so can I.”
* * *
The practices became more intense than ever.
The production team was also extremely busy. Less than a month and a half remained and they had to build up as many as four different stages.
The intermittent script revisions were also a major task.
Into this whirlwind of activity, an unwelcome guest arrived.
“Min Juran, what brings you here?”
Yu-ri’s response was curt, but Juran skillfully took a seat next to her.
“Yu-ri~ Aren’t you being too harsh on me? Where is this coming from?”
“What are you talking about?”
“You double-cast Ryu Shin and Shin Yoomyeong, didn’t you? If those were the conditions, I wouldn’t have boycotted. If you had offered me such a compromise, I would have carefully considered it and accepted.”
‘…What sort of person is this?’
Yu-ri stared at Juran’s cheerfully smiling face in disbelief.
“Use my script now. You must have had a hard time revising the amateur’s script, right?”
“Go away, Min Juran. We’ve already changed the script. Everyone has memorized it and we’re in the middle of practice.”
“Then what about me?”
“You asked me to write the script and I poured all my time into it. What about my hard work?”
“You’re the one who withdrew. How is that my fault?”
“It’s not. If I knew that senior Ryu Shin was also appearing, I wouldn’t have pulled out the script. Now that he’s appearing again, isn’t it right to use my script?”
Yu-ri was flabbergasted.
“I get it, I didn’t come off well. I’ll formally apologize. But think about the script. What will you do if the script for the main performance of ‘Oedipus’ is poor?”
“Our current script is better than yours anyway.”
Juran snorted through her nose.
“Don’t talk nonsense. I got a copy and read it too. The dialogues are crude and the effects and mechanisms are all amateurish, aren’t they?”
“The scenes are innovative. We can refine the dialogues together.”
“This is totally unfair. Wasn’t ‘Oedipus’ supposed to be skill-based? Even though I’m a guest, I’ve made my name known among the ‘Oedipus’ members. I expect a fair evaluation from you as a director.”
Juran was clearly not willing to trust anything Yu-ri said.
As Yu-ri made a face of disbelief and Jun-ho fidgeted uncomfortably, Yoomyeong spoke up.
“What if an actor that you can acknowledge says that Jun-ho’s script is better?”
* * *
[Wow. Yoomyeong! Are you doing well with your performance preparations? What’s going on?]
The cheerful tone that seemed to emanate from the text belonged to the actor Lee Seon-ha.
Completely captivated by Yoomyeong’s talent at the ‘Oedipus’ workshop, she had given him her personal phone number, asking him to contact her whenever he needed advice.
[Sorry to disturb you when you’re busy! We have two versions of the script during our performance preparations and I was wondering if we could get the opinion of a professional actor.]
[Sure, sure. My regular performance has ended so I have some free time. Could you send it to my email? [email protected]]
“Make sure the writers are anonymous. Let’s have her judge solely on the merit of the work, alright?”
“Of course. I’ll also show you the email content to confirm.”
Within the quick wager that developed, Jun-ho’s face lit up while Juran crossed her arms confidently and crossed her legs.
‘As if an amateur’s script could…’
Just an hour after sending the email, they received a reply from Lee Seon-ha. For fairness, everyone watched as Yu-ri opened the email and read it aloud.
[Re: Attached script for your review, senior.]
[I’ve read both scripts. Jekyll and Hyde, huh? Who between you and Ryu Shin is cast? I’ll definitely come to watch it!
Script A seems really chaotic. I had a good laugh while reading it. Judging by the dialogues that don’t stick at all in some parts and those that fit somewhat better, it seems like you’re still heavily revising an amateur-written script?]
At the sharp insight, everyone nodded their heads in agreement, thinking ‘as expected.’
[Script B seems to be written by someone with experience. The scenes are well-organized, and the dialogues flow smoothly. It still has some rough edges, but it’s a script that could go live without any issues.]
At the praise for her script, Min Juran displayed a smile of smug satisfaction.
[But I like A more. The dialogue is rough, but the inner depiction of Jekyll and Hyde is excellent. The writer may have limited experience, but they have a keen intuition. The idea to include the transformation scene in the play, where Hyde turns into Jekyll especially surprised me. Normally, that would be hard to digest, but it seems you and Ryu Shin are going to pull it off, right? I can tell even without watching.]
As the message continued, Min Juran’s expression gradually faded.
[While I was having dinner with our team’s writer, I showed them the scripts and they agreed with me. Could you let me know the contact of the friend who revised and finalized the script after the performance? They suggested refining it a bit and considering it as a candidate for Comet’s special performance next spring. Is that okay? Let me know if you have any other questions.]
The email ended.
Jun-ho couldn’t hide his flustered expression. It was not just praise from a professional actor and writer; the script was even mentioned as a candidate for Comet’s special performance.
Seon Yu-ri lifted her chin and stared at Min Juran, as if to say, ‘Well?’
After momentarily biting her lower lip, Juran quickly shifted gears.
“The script is good, but the dialogues are a bit rough, right? So, wouldn’t it be better if an experienced writer could refine them?”
It was an incredible display of audacity.
“I’m scared of her, though…”
Jun-ho wore a gloomy expression.
In the end, it was decided that Min Juran would participate in the adaptation work. There were two reasons; one was that they couldn’t ignore the time she had invested in writing an entire adapted script. The other reason was that the preparation time for the performance was tight. Having an experienced writer could be helpful for script revisions.
However, Woo Jun-ho would be the main writer, and Min Juran the secondary one.
A condition was attached: if there was too much interference, Min Juran would be removed. Juran even accepted that condition. It seemed that the prospect of the script becoming a part of the special performance of Comet was too significant to pass up.
“You’ve read Jekyll and Hyde a lot while adapting it, haven’t you?”
“Yeah. I must’ve read it dozens of times.”
“Then let’s do one practice together.”
Jun-ho was perplexed by Yoomyeong’s mysterious request.
“What kind of practice?”
“Acting as Hyde.”
“Huh? Why me?”
“In life, you need a bit of Hyde’s characteristics. Especially if you’re Jekyll, you’ll likely be underestimated by certain opponents.”
“While working with Min Juran, there will be moments when she tries to voice her displeasure or take control of the atmosphere. Given her personality, it’ll likely happen within the first few sentences of the revision. And then,”
“Then you. Will. You. Back. Down?”
Jun-ho involuntarily leaned back.
The atmosphere created by Yoomyeong’s words felt like a biting cold that wouldn’t even let one tooth in.
“How… how can I say something like that?”
“You have to. The moment you pull this off, you and Min Juran will get along really well.”
“But won’t it make things worse?”
“Do you trust me? Now, let’s practice.”
Yoomyeong spent a considerable amount of time drilling Jun-ho on that single phrase. He worked on everything, from the angle of a sneering facial expression to the cold tone of voice and even an air of annoyance in his gestures.
Transforming Jun-ho’s originally submissive way of speaking took a long time.
Had Jun-ho not imagined Hyde’s way of speaking so thoroughly while writing the script, he might have failed.
The next day.
The first thing Juran said when she arrived at the practice session was,
“Why do I need to come to the practice session when we can work on the script through email?”
As expected, her first words were a complaint.
Yoomyeong raised an eyebrow, and Jun-ho, suppressing his trembling heart, recited the single line he had practiced hundreds of times.
“Then you. Will. You. Back. Down?”
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