༺ First Practice, First Assignment ༻
“Every moment of acting is an opportunity to live the life of a character in the play. These are the words of Stanislavski, often referred to as the founder of Method Acting.”
The class today began with a brief lecture from Jae Pil.
He didn’t give long explanations before the midterms.
He let them form their own teams, decide the script and casting, and didn’t interfere at all in the creation of the play. The only thing he did was to make a short comment of about 10 minutes at the start of each class.
That could be called the ‘theme’.
“What is Method Acting?”
Jae Pil asked, looking around the classroom. As expected, this semester’s students had keen eyes.
“Ordinary people might have a vague idea that it’s a style of acting where the actor erases themselves and becomes the role itself. But since you are all in the Department of Theater and Film, you should know.
The ‘Method’ in Method Acting refers to the techniques used to immerse oneself in the role. In other words, there are various types of methods.”
Yoomyeong carefully listened to Jae Pil’s words.
Although he already knew the content, that professor had a knack for extracting enlightenment from common knowledge.
“There’s the De Niro approach, which involves modifying one’s external conditions to assimilate with the role, and the Suzuki method, which emphasizes physical training for free expression. There are many types of methods.”
Jae Pil wrote on the whiteboard.
<Method of Mine>
“What’s important is to find the method that is most effective for you.”
Then he dropped the marker on the podium with a thud.
“After the midterms, we will spend some time analyzing which method you used in your performances and how effective it was. If you can discover a primary method that suits you while you are still a student, it would be a valuable asset for your acting career.”
The classroom fell eerily quiet as he foreshadowed the upcoming challenge.
“I will make up for last week’s canceled class after the midterms. Groups that have not yet submitted their script and casting must do so by today.”
Free practice time.
The students had divided into five groups and occupied every corner of the classroom. Among them, the atmosphere of the group that had claimed the front window was more heated than any other.
“I knew it. I wanted to pretend that I didn’t know until the very end if I could…”
This pitiful voice, full of sorrow, came from a man.
It was their first practice after casting.
Yoomyeong was taken aback by Ryu Shin’s acting, which perfectly portrayed a petite woman with even the smallest gestures and phrases.
‘The star of future <July> indeed…’
It was different from the charismatic drag queen Yoomyeong had portrayed at the MT event.
The man with a delicate and beautiful face was so feminine that in conjunction with his acting, it was doubtful whether he was not actually a woman.
“I love you, Freddie.”
The angle at which he looked up, the hand nervously clutching at the hem of his clothes without strength. Yoomyeong realized that all these actions were calculated.
They were movements that would have been discovered one by one while looking in the mirror, the ones that looked the most feminine and attractive.
‘So he really was a practice bug…’
A critic had once described Ryu Shin in such terms.
An actor with the presence of a peacock, the talent of a monkey, and the tenacity of a viper.
Yoomyeong had no choice but to deeply acknowledge Ryu Shin.
“Try loving yourself first.”
Hye-Seon’s acting was also without awkwardness.
She had successfully captured a slightly prickly but solidly centered mature male character.
It was a bit different from Jim Hutton in the movie, but it was quite convincing.
‘She is indeed a leading actress from Oedipus.’
Watching them grow by leaps and bounds within a few days, Yoomyeong was strongly stimulated.
Even though he might appear ahead right now, his young friends would grow dramatically day by day.
‘And me too…!’
It was time to show that his passion, which he had nurtured over the past 15 years without any reward, was not to be taken lightly.
Yoomyeong gradually revved up.
He hinted, immersed himself, and became Freddie.
“The group leader is such a scam.”
As the class ended and Yoomyeong was leaving the classroom, Ryu Shin poked him.
“Do you have a moment?”
They pulled out 200 won worth of coffee from the vending machine and sat on a bench in front of the theater and film building.
Ryu Shin smoked a cigarette.
“Last week was the Changcheon audition, right? How did it go?”
“Oh, I got cast. Our practice starts today.”
“Then, a supporting role?”
Ryu Shin’s face crumpled each time Yoomyeong answered ‘no’, not understanding the reason why.
“A small role with some significance?”
“No, do they have rotten eyes?!”
Yoomyeong was taken aback by the sudden, harsh curse.
Why is Ryu Shin behaving like this?
“Anyway, those Changcheon bastards are a mess. Giving a supporting role to an actor who beat me with acting? It’s about the damn school year and experience again, isn’t it? Damn them.”
This person, who looked like a character from a romance comic and usually spoke gently, had quite a foul mouth when he got angry.
Well, it wasn’t like there were many people with a gentle disposition who had been in the theater for a long time…
“I’m fine. It’s my first time, and I think the role I got will be fun.”
“Would you rather ditch Changcheon and come to Oedipus?”
Yoomyeong hardened his face, thinking that it was about that issue again.
“I told you that I aspire to be an actor.”
“I know. If I didn’t know that after watching you, I’d be an idiot. I’m sorry about the other day. I was a bit excited after reading the script and was rude.”
“I’ll take it as a compliment that the script was that good.”
“You know, you’re not bad at acting. Do you really have no plans to go to Oedipus? If you come, I’ll bet my spot just to take you in.”
— Are you going to let him join, or should I quit?
The thought of Ryu Shin saying that felt so real that it gave him goosebumps.
“Are you hesitant because the casting for our spring performance is already finished? In Oedipus, there’s a ‘Hey you, get out!’ system.”
“Hey you, get out?”
“Yes. Even after the casting, if you think you can do better than them in that role, you can request a battle. If you win, you get the role.”
What a savage world…
“Thank you very much for your kind words. But I already have a role, and I think it’s going to be fun.”
“…I thought you were combative, but surprisingly, you’re a pacifist?”
“There’s no need to deliberately cause a disturbance.”
Ryu Shin extinguished the cigarette he had finished smoking and got up from his seat.
“That’s right. If you prefer the path of least resistance, I should respect that preference. For your information, I’m the lead in this Oedipus production. Let’s both do our best.”
“Yes. We’re also preparing for our one-act play.”
Ryu Shin nodded and disappeared.
6 p.m. The first Changcheon rehearsal.
Yoomyeong headed to the practice room on an empty stomach. They were asked to have dinner early and gather, but he knew from his previous life experience how far Jun-han could push them.
The practice started with physical conditioning.
Stretching was performed in pairs, and there was an endless PT gymnastics session where, if even one person missed a count, they had to start all over again. It was the Burpee test, which tested the limits of one’s stamina.
In the end, one person rushed to the restroom, retching. It seemed like he had eaten something.
Luckily, Yoomyeong had nothing to eat, so he had nothing to vomit up.
“What’s this already? Back in our days, we would have spun around five times as much and still been fine, right?”
The assistant director laughed and chided them.
Even if anyone was furious at the outrageous statement, there were no actors who could refute it.
Any rebellion would only result in more intense practice.
“You don’t seem thirsty. I can’t hear any response?”
The actors, who were sprawled out on the sweaty classroom floor as if they didn’t care about the dirty floor, gathered their remaining energy and shouted.
Jun-han approached the nearest one of them.
“If you can vocalize for 30 seconds, I’ll give you water. Start!”
“Ah- Ah- Ah- g!”
An unreasonable demand was made to someone who was gasping for breath as if their lungs would burst.
The first victim failed in just four seconds and faltered, watching the water recede into the distance.
“Ah- Ah- Ah- Ack!”
Finally, in the second round, one person barely succeeded and received water. Everyone had drank water after the fourth round.
During the five-minute break after physical conditioning, everyone sprawled out and mumbled.
“He’s a devil.”
“He must be from hell…”
It was a challenging task, but one they couldn’t avoid.
Performing tirelessly throughout the show consumed more energy than one might imagine.
The break was over.
Jun-han gathered the actors in the center of the rehearsal space and wrote a single word on the chalkboard.
“Acting, in the end, is about expressing emotions. How diversely and detailed you express these so-called emotions of joy and sorrow determines the richness of the acting.
In today’s acting class, we will deal with joy. Let’s try to express different kinds of joy and not just simple joy.”
Jun-han looked at the faces of the actors.
They were about to find out how uniform and simplistic their expressions of emotions were.
The first one to go was…
“Shin Yoomyeong. Come forward.”
Jun-han held hope for this talented novice actor.
Yoomyeong quickly stood up and walked to the front. When he turned around, he saw about twenty actors sitting on the classroom floor, looking up at him.
Jun-han gave further explanation.
“The joy of the first snowfall and the joy when the sports team you support wins a match. Even though both are called joy, the type and intensity of emotion are different.
Each time I clap my hands, you’ll change the way you express your joy. Let’s see how many different kinds each of you can portray.”
Bae Suhyun, who was playing the role of Lee Youngsook, heaved a deep sigh.
‘That guy, snagging them from their very first day. Especially a beginner… What is he going to do if he scares him(Yoomyeong) off?’
She remembered her own experience when she first started in theater and had received the same assignment. Expressing a variety of emotions had been really difficult.
After acting out three kinds of joy, she had been harshly criticized for all of them being ‘the same’.
‘He really needs to maintain his morale…’
After witnessing Yoomyeong’s performance during the casting, she, who had developed a bit of a fan feeling for him, clasped her hands together and observed Yoomyeong’s condition.
‘He seems… fine?’
Yoomyeong, after a moment of thought, asked the assistant director.
“Am I allowed to use words?”
“Words? Well, there’s no need to suppress sounds deliberately.”
Jun-han tilted his head and responded, thinking of exclamations like ‘Wow!’ or ‘Yes!’
However, what Yoomyeong voiced out was…