Act 11: Slowly 10
Hearing that simple question, teacher Hong Yoojin gave a grin.
“Why shouldn’t you choose famous musicals? The reason is simple.”
After tapping her feet across the floor yet again, she stopped in front of us, before raising her head and gazing down,
“Anyone here who has seen the famous musicals listed on the paper I gave you?”
After confirming that a several including me had raised our hands up, the teacher continued her sentence.
“How was it, it was really good right? Their acting was good and their songs were good. There are even musicals where they dance on top of that…”
Throwing a glance across, she asked.
“Can you guys, do that?”
An awkward silence befell the room.
“Let’s think realistically. Most of you are newbies. There are even some of you who haven’t learned how to sing yet. Then what do you think we should do?”
Lifting a finger up, she looked at us.
“Let’s go simple. An ardent love? Can you guys even express that? The sorrows of a battlefield? Do you even know what wars are? Admit what you can’t early on and let’s focus on what you can do.”
While everyone had their mouths closed, the teacher’s voice echoed across.
“First off, our strengths – our main vocals are good at singing. There are three prac high-achievers from first-graders right? Then we can go strong with the ‘numbers’ for the mains. But regardless of songs, acting won’t be possible so it’s better to skip ones that require complex acts.”
In response to her words, I gave a nod.
She was right. No matter what, we were noobs and were young students so suddenly jumping to a high-level musical made zero sense. Perhaps Song Mirae or I might be able to pull it off but others won’t be able to.
“So what I want to recommend is something like this. Get rid of complicated love stories and go with a brighter and a funnier one. That’s why apart from the famous, difficult musicals, I also brought some musicals made by students. There are some that are good despite being easy.”
After the teacher ended her sentence, Lee Suh-ah turned her head at me.
“Did you know all that?”
“Hmm… I just thought that we shouldn’t do anything too difficult.”
And besides, I assumed that the RC Society before the regression which Song Mirae was a part of, would not have gone with a famous musical that required a large number of members.
“Also, the female protagonist was a perfect fit with Song Mirae.”
With a bright expression, Song Mirae stared at me with sparkling eyes.
“Really? What is it???”
Seeing her mouth being puffed open like a carp, I gave her a warm smile.
“It’s a story about animals you see. You’re a goldfish and I’m a dog. So well, it’s like a love that cannot be realised due to the physical separation of ocean and land… I think it’s a reinterpretation of Romeo and Juliet, but it seems like a slightly comical musical.”
Watching the speechless Song Mirae, Han Dasom chuckled from the side.
There were actually lots of events in Future Arts High.
The Music Department alone had string instrument concerts, subscription concerts, choruses, and almost every day there would be news about concerts. And yet the school also had the Dancing and the Visual Arts Departments.
As such, even when the scenery around the school campuses changed, we would just think to ourselves that it was the start of another event without thinking too much about it.
Today was the same.
While on the way to school with our usual members, I abruptly stopped my feet and looked forward. Rows of easels standing alongside the main pathway welcomed our arrival.
Brown wooden supports and canvases resting on top. On those canvases were all sorts of pictures and paintings.
Artworks lining up under the Septembre sun had their oil paints brightly reflecting the sunlight.
“It looks like an outdoor exhibitionn!”
Seeing the placard fluttering in a distance, Chloe spoke with her fingers interlocked together.
Blankly looking through the paintings placed in front, I slowly carried my feet across and appreciated the paintings.
There were all sorts of pictures – there were still life paintings with the likes of apples, a scenery of an oval inside the campus, a portrait of a smiling lady and the appearance of a man engrossed in his performance.
‘They are all great painters.’
As expected of a school that was also well-known in the visual arts sector, the general standard was very high. It was to the point that I, who was unknowledgeable in visual arts, had also been enraptured by some of the paintings.
Feeling glad from the sudden event, I appreciated the paintings before suddenly discovering a familiar image and stopping my feet. Brown, wooden furniture and an interior that reflected its old-ness and a window with sunlight coming in.
“Isn’t that our club room?”
Seeing Song Mirae making a fuss about it after running up to my side, I gave a nod. It was indeed our club room, evident from the names written on the white board.
Yun Soojin, Lim Suhjoon, Lee Hyeji…
Reading through the small names of the club members, I reached the end and found Song Mirae’s and my name written at the bottom.
“How is it?”
When I raised my head up from the sudden voice, I found Yun Soojin-sunbae’s face above the painting.
That scared me.
Her face being like that made her look like a ghost. Thinking that, I looked at her face with an awkward expression as she returned a small smile.
“Were you surprised?”
“A little. How long have you been there for?”
“Just came~. Hello to you too Mirae~”
Walking around the easel from behind, she finished greeting others and immediately turned towards me.
“So, how is it?”
Her eyes bent into crescents.
“I haven’t heard your evaluation yet~”
Hearing that, I glanced at the painting and nodded.
She seemed to be the one that painted this as expected. Since Yun Soojin-sunbae belonged in the Visual Arts Department, it was definitely possible for her artwork to be in an exhibition.
‘Being a third-year, she must be busy though…’
After having some stray thoughts, I gave a response.
“It’s pretty. Bright and looks good as well. When did you draw it?”
“Hmm… two weeks ago, was it…? Around that time~. And then I heard that you two were joining so I quickly wrote your names in.”
That was why the more recent ones didn’t have their names written.
Coming to an understanding, I resumed staring at the painting as Yun Soojin-sunbae nonchalantly continued her words after throwing a glance at me.
“That’s good then. I was thinking of placing it in the club room after the exhibition ends.”
“Sounds like a good idea.”
She quietly stared at the painting for some time, before touching the end of the canvas and opening her mouth.
“You know what, actually I wanted to draw the kids in, but my fingers wouldn’t move when I tried to.”
Her eyelashes slowly lowering down towards the ground appeared sorrowful.
“Two years ago, we had quite a lot of people. We had slightly less than the musical club so we were on the big side compared to other societies.”
From what I remembered, the musical club had around fifty members, so it seemed that there had been around that many people two years ago. I was baffled, wondering how that could suddenly be reduced down to around ten members, when sunbae’s voice dug in through my ears.
“But… after I came in, there was a little incident with the musical club and… last year, they all left in huge groups~. And this year… you know the rest right?”
“What exactly happened…”
In response to my question, Yun Soojin-sunbae with her gaze lowered to the ground tapped her feet and replied.
“Nn. They fought, apparently. With the musical club.”
“Well, the number of members was on a decrease from before that but that incident was like a turning point. Our society’s atmosphere wasn’t good either and… there were also bad rumours about us so this year, I wasn’t expecting anyone to be joining.”
…That’s the reason for their strange publications huh.
I observed Yun Soojin-sunbae with a myriad of emotions when she suddenly raised her head up and met her eyes with mine.
“But these days, it’s good~”
Wearing a bright smile, she patted the painting and joyously continued her sentence.
“When I go in, it’s bustling with people~ they smile a lot more~ and practise hard as well. Don’t you feel a bright aura just like this painting?”
As I replied with a grin, she stared at me with a warm gaze.
“Thanks for coming. Let’s do our best together!”
She patted my shoulder a few times before walking away with a wave.
Staring at her back, Song Mirae nodded and added a bit more words.
“You know, that president of the Musical Club, Kim Sukwon. That guy seemed super upset about having people taken away by our society. Maybe it’s related to what happened before.”
Hearing that, I entered a deep contemplation.
Well, Kim Sukwon wouldn’t have been there two years ago, but he might have heard about it while taking over the club president position.
‘For some reason, I keep getting involved with that sunbae.’
Soon, I organised my thoughts with a shrug of my shoulders.
Regardless of what happened in the past, the things I had to do were the same.
Practise hard, learn about musicals and make a good performance.
As long as I do that, other problems should be naturally solved right?
Thinking that, I laid my foot on the main building with a smile.
Since we decided to do ‘Animal Farm’, now it was time for us to allocate the roles.
“Hmm… First off, the protagonist, ‘dog’ role will be taken by Jo Yunjae…”
When I nodded from teacher Hong Yoojin’s statement, Lee Suh-ah sneered from the side.
“A perfect fit.”
…Feeling slightly offended, I was having a staring contest with Lee Suh-ah when Chloe suddenly turned towards me and reached her hand out.
Dumbfoundedly, I stared at Chloe’s small palm before thinking, ‘ah whatever’ and placed my hand on top of hers. Seeing that, she began laughing aloud.
“Huhuhuh. So cutee.”
Suddenly I was being treated like a dog and was getting patted by Chloe, when teacher Hong Yoojin tapped the white board.
“You guys. Focus a bit would you?”
We closed our mouths shut as the teacher then resumed her words.
“And Mirae will be the ‘goldfish’ role. Dasom chose ‘rabbit’ huh? The songs for the rabbit are a bit more difficult so that’s a good decision.”
Since it required a higher vocal range, Han Dasom might be the only one that could pull it off properly. After reading down the list of names and our chosen roles, the teacher reached the end and called out Lee Suh-ah’s name.
“Suh-ah, you chose a ‘cat’? The cat doesn’t have that many lines though, right?”
Lee Suh-ah, who had been staring indifferently at Chloe, turned her head away with a flick.
“…Well, it’s up to you. Now, since we finished choosing our roles, let’s actually start practising, shall we?”
Shooting out of her seat, teacher Hong Yoojin carried her heels across the floor and continued speaking.
“The scripts and the music sheets I handed out last week – is it safe for me to assume that you guys have all read it and are familiar with it?”
Considering how the music sheets had been given out a week ago, everyone should have definitely read through it at least once. Checking that we all nodded, the teacher came to an abrupt stop.
“But can you be certain that you have properly read through everything?”
We all rolled our eyes and avoided eye contact. Haughtily, the teacher gazed down at us before turning her gaze to me.
“Let’s see it then. Oi, protagonist over there.”
“Come up and sing your part.”
As expected, it’s the main vocal that gets beaten first huh…
I slowly stood up from the seat with blinking eyes and headed to the front of the club room. From behind, I could hear Han Dasom’s whispering cheer.
“Do your best…!”
Gradually, I formed more distance with the club members while getting closer with the teacher. After meeting eyes with teacher Hong Yoojin, who had her eyebrows lifted up, I turned around.
There, I found twenty-or-so members staring at me and only me.