༺ Are you really new to acting? ༻
Slender legs adorned with black stockings appeared first, followed by a pair of wide and angular shoulders which were emphasized by a tight mini-skirt and a strap sleeve top.
Those shoulders were not the typical type that would suit cross-dressing; they lacked the delicateness sometimes found in small-framed men that could rival a woman’s beauty.
A long wig tied into a ponytail swayed down to his waist. Smokey eye makeup that contrasted with his pale skin, and a rich, purple lipstick added a decadent touch.
And what completed the whole look was…
“Sister! You’re sexy! Eueu-eck~”
…the appearance of Yoomyeong walking out.
A strange allure subtly flowed when he walked with one hand on his hip and crossed his legs, exuding saucy gestures with a flippant demeanor. His chin was held high and his eyes were lazily drooping.
He resembled a charismatic drag queen.
“Over here! Look at us too!”
“This is crazy. He seems like the most beautiful one.”
“I always thought he was just funny and quiet…but he’s amazing.”
When Yoomyeong, who was walking the runway, knelt in front of an enthusiastic female student, the cheering of the students reached its peak.
The skirt slightly flared and perilously rolled up, while his eyes deepened with the gradations of eyeshadow.
Yoomyeong, with his left hand, gently lifted the girl’s chin, met her eyes, and gave a sly smile.
The female student looked up at Yoomyeong as if entranced. After giving her a light wink, Yoomyeong got back up.
And as he waved to everyone…
They all erupted in a crazy round of applause.
And at the end of the runway, Yoomyeong turned around.
“Hello, I’m Shin Yoomyeong from class ‘00. While I have your attention, I’d like to make an announcement. During the May festival, the Central Drama Club will be performing, and I’ve landed a role. If you enjoyed this performance, please come and see the play.”
He cleverly took the opportunity to promote himself.
“I’ll go! I’ll buy all the tickets!”
Amidst the chaotic shouts of various titles, the talent show of group 3 successfully came to an end, and they unanimously won the top prize.
Meanwhile, Sang Jin… had become a fool all by himself.
Until the MT ended, Yoomyeong was the superstar.
Thanks to him, the sophomore executives gave him a thumbs-up for creating the best atmosphere, and the freshmen showed interest in the drama team.
‘Being an insider is not easy…’
Yoomyeong, who had returned home, was completely wiped out.
Casting day at Changcheon.
Director Choi Cheol-joo and Assistant Director Sa Jun-han were having a meeting in advance.
“How many applicants do we have for the role of Kim Cheolsu?”
“Five. Three are members we have expected, and one, oh dear, is 99’s Park Hansang. This guy greatly overestimates his own abilities.”
“What about the last one?”
“Heh, well… It’s Shin Yoomyeong from class ‘00 who is aiming for the lead role in his first work.”
Jun-han fluttered Yoomyeong’s application.
“But wasn’t his reading really good?”
“There are people with nice voices who can’t move well. Regardless, it’s unthinkable for him to be the lead or supporting role in his first work. If he looks good today, it might be fine to give him a significant minor role to groom him for a future lead.”
“The ultra-picky Choi Cheol-joo is being lenient? You must like him.”
Jun-han applauded Cheol-joo with an ‘Oh’ expression, and Cheol-joo, pretending not to hear, brought up another subject.
“What is Oedipus’ spring performance?”
“The lead role?”
“Seo Ryu Shin. Why are you asking the obvious?”
Cheol-joo scrunched his nose at Jun-han’s answer. The Changcheon and Oedipus performances were divided into three days, overlapping the May festival week. It was obvious that they would be directly compared.
“We have to perform over the weekend.”
“That’s up to the planning team. We’re going to get picked regardless.”
“It will be difficult to win in terms of audience numbers if Seo Ryu Shin is cast as the lead role.”
“Don’t worry yet. We might have a stroke of good luck on our side.”
Cheol-joo’s expression turned serious. He knew that having the best cast was crucial in their situation.
They proceeded to organize applicants in their desired roles and searched for strong candidates.
“Those who applied for the role of Kim Cheolsu, please come to the center.”
Chairs scraped against the floor as a few individuals stood up. Yoomyeong also got up and moved toward the center.
The fact that a second-year student with no prior acting experience had applied for a lead role caused a stir among the Changcheon members.
Park Hansang, who also aimed for the lead role, added fuel to the fire.
‘That guy, I told him to be careful, and now he’s causing a scene again!’
“Starting now, we’ll be acting out the confrontation scene between Kim Cheolsu and reporter Kwak from Act 3, Scene 4. Each of you will take turns performing. I will play the opposing role.”
Assistant Director Sa Jun-han announced as he stepped into the center. Tension crept onto the faces of the five candidates.
Sa Jun-han was a master of character acting. If the prospective leads couldn’t match his energy and were overshadowed, it was clear that they wouldn’t make the cut.
“We’ll begin with Gu Won-young.”
The first one to act was Gu Won-young from the class of ’98.
Although he was among the top actors in Changcheon, he had always been overlooked for lead roles due to his height and appearance. With Choi Cheol-joo absent this time, he was determined to seize the lead role at any cost.
Won-young started acting from one corner.
Turning his head and scanning the surroundings, he spotted reporter Kwak emerging from the building and hurriedly approached him. Following the script exactly, he grabbed Kwak by the hem of his trousers and rolled around on the ground.
His breaths came fast and hard as though he had been running through the streets just moments before. Then, lifting his head, he cried out in desperation.
“Reporter Kwak! Please save our Jina!”
Applause erupted throughout the room as Won-young finished his acting.
It was an impressive performance. Kim Cheolsu was clinging and pleading with reporter Kwak, who coldly brushed him off. The members of the theater team applauded the performance of the two seniors.
Cheol-joo, concealing his satisfaction, jotted down a high score on a blank piece of paper.
‘Won-young is good at acting, but I’ve held him back in the past. It’s about time for him to take on a lead role.’
After Won-young, the performances of a student from the ’98 class and one senior who had taken a long leave of absence from the ’97 class followed. However, none of them matched the caliber of Gu Won-young.
‘It seems like it’s going to be Won-young after all. He has clearly put in a lot of practice. Although he’s holding the script, he hardly needs to look at it while delivering his lines.’
Just as Choi Cheol-joo’s decision seemed to solidify…
“Fourth, Park Hansang from ’99.”
“Um… I apologize, senior! I urgently need to use the restroom. I’ll be right back!”
“Come back quickly! Then let’s have Shin Yoomyeong from the ’00 class go first.”
After witnessing his seniors’ outstanding performances, Park Hansang became nervous. He knew that if performed after them, comparison would be inevitable. So, he feigned a sudden need to go to the restroom.
By allowing Yoomyeong to perform first, he hoped that his own performance wouldn’t appear as subpar when it followed. That was his strategy.
He stealthily slipped out of the classroom, and Yoomyeong then took his place in the center of the room.
And then, the acting started.
“Reporter Kwak! Please save our Jina!”
Upon hearing the first line, Cheol-joo thought so.
It sounded like the desperate voice of a tired family man in his forties, not that of a young man in his early twenties.
‘How could such a voice come out?’
“One minute I was regarded highly, and the next I was looked down upon. I never thought that the people who hailed me as the Spiderman of this era who saved people by climbing the rope used to clean windows would turn on me like this.”
“You were happy when you were doing well, weren’t you?”
Jun-han, his counterpart, felt differently.
He deliberately averted his gaze, but Yoomyeong’s eyes stubbornly followed. His desperate eyes, as if his life depended on it, made Jun-han genuinely want to ‘escape’ from that persistent gaze.
“Please don’t do this. I let you interview me, let you post my family photo, and I did everything you asked me to do because you told me to trust you. I’m not asking for it to be republished. At least provide some explanation. My Jina is too scared of public scrutiny to go to school.”
Kim Cheolsu’s emotions changed from pleading to regret, then from regret to anger.
Finally, as security guards rushed out of the building to restrain him, Yoomyeong stumbled backward, rose to his feet, crumbled, and stood up again.
“Reporter! Reporter Kwak!”
Everyone’s mouth hung open in astonishment.
It was especially true for Park Hansang, who had returned from the restroom and was left speechless after witnessing only the second half.
Applause did not follow.
Everyone was more bewildered than impressed.
“Fi…fifth, ’99 Park Hansang.”
In the end, without any comment, the director called for the next person, and Park Hansang walked out with an almost tearful expression.
The reaction to his acting was, indeed, pitiful.
“Next, the four who auditioned for the role of Reporter Kwak, come to the center.”
It wasn’t just Kim Cheolsu.
Yoomyeong also handled the roles of Reporter Kwak and President Nam wonderfully. And Hansang went first before Yoomyeong for both turns.
The spectators murmured among themselves.
“Wow. He’s really good. Did he go to some acting school instead of the military for two years?”
“But it seems like Hansang’s acting skills have dropped. I think he wasn’t this bad last year.”
“Right. Isn’t he too downcast?”
Hansang boiled inside upon hearing the murmurs around him.
‘It’s not that my skills have dropped! Try acting before that guy!’
The entire audition ended after three hours.
The directing team moved to another location for their meeting, and pizzas, bought by a senior, were distributed to the hardworking members.
As they ate, the largest crowd gathered around Yoomyeong.
“Wow~ Is this really your first time acting?”
“You seem like a genius, no?”
“A genius? I just read the script diligently at home.”
“Does practice make everything possible? There are people who can’t act even after numerous attempts.”
It was a senior that spoke, briefly glancing at Hansang.
Meanwhile, the atmosphere in the classroom across the hall was serious.
“I think Shin Yoomyeong did the best.”
“He was similar to Won-young. Also, there’s no precedent in Changcheon to give the leading role to a newcomer.”
“Hey, Choi Cheol-joo. Didn’t we say when we were sophomores that we should break that damn tradition of Changcheon? Does it make sense to push back a talented kid just because they’re young?”
“We only saw one scene. I acknowledge that he has a sense for acting, but do you think that he has the strength to pull through the entire third act?”
As Cheol-joo stubbornly argued, Jun-han put his hand on his forehead.
“Okay, let’s say that’s the case for the lead role. What about Reporter Kwak?”
“It’s the same. Although Kwak is a supporting character, he is essentially a co-lead. He’s a key figure that drives the whole incident. It’s too much to give to a sophomore during the first semester.”
“Ah… This is why Changcheon falls behind Oedipus.”
When the irritated Jun-han brought up a sensitive issue, Cheol-joo got angry.
“What did you say, you bastard?!”
“When did Seo Ryu Shin first get the leading role? Right when he entered school. And he’s been a star of Oedipus ever since! But what about us? We usually don’t get our first leading roles until our third year. That’s why we fall behind Oedipus in terms of the lead actor’s charisma and fandom.”
Choi Cheol-joo gritted his teeth at Jun-han’s fact-checking, but he didn’t argue back.
It was because it wasn’t often that the usually composed and smooth-talking Jun-han got angry like this. He also knew that he’ll eventually get his way.
“Seo Ryu Shin was a child actor. This is different. Besides, I’m the director, right?”
“Yes, Director Choi. Should the assistant director resign from today?”
“Let’s give Shin Yoomyeong the role of President Nam. That role is pretty important, too. I didn’t initially plan to give even that to a beginner.”
“You try training him well. If you think he has the potential to be a lead, I’ll consider it for the autumn performance.”
Being a lead in the second semester of the sophomore year was not common, but it wasn’t unprecedented.
“Ah, Choi Cheol-joo, really!”
“Let’s go, my wife!”
“Ah, get lost!”
In the theater, the director was often referred to as the father while the assistant director was the mother.
They headed back to the lecture hall to announce the list of those who passed.
2003 Changcheon Spring Performance <Ambitious Dream>.
Kim Cheolsu role: Gu Won-young
Reporter Kwak role: Kang Seok-ho
President Nam role: Shin Yoomyeong
Lee Young-suk role: Bae Suhyun
Kim Jina role: Shin Nahyun
…Subordinate 1 of President Nam: Park Hansang
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