Act 11: Slowly 12
After that, the preparations for the performance progressed smoothly.
“Suhjoon. Did you finish with the forest background I gave you last time?”
“Yes. I added the finishing touches to it, and all that’s left is to put them back together.”
“Then give it over to Hyeji, please. And… here we go.”
Saying that, Yun Soojin-sunbae poured out a box full of props. Seeing that, my chin dropped unconsciously.
How many things did she bring?
The amount of props she had hand-made thus far was already a lot and yet the amount she brought today was on a different level. There was enough to form a big mountain on the ground.
One of the props then rolled its way over towards me, while I was standing off in a distance. In curiosity, I lifted it up after bending my back and it turned out to be a ripe apple.
“…thought it was real for a second.”
It was but a piece of flat wood painted like an apple, but the shining lustre and texture of a real fruit was well-expressed. I was fooled by it before lifting it up.
Do they teach students things like this in the Visual Arts Department?
I asked Hyeji-sunbae but she shook her head in response.
“They do draw still life paintings, but not three dimensional things like these props.”
Besides, judging from the fact that she made this many props in the mere span of one week… it was safe to say that Yun Soojin-sunbae was practically taking care of half the construction of the stage and the making of props.
“Aren’t the third graders extremely busy right now?”
I was unable to hold myself back from asking that question but Lim Suhjoon-sunbae shrugged his shoulders from the side.
“Well, her uni admission is right around the corner and she should get ready for it but… what can we do when she still brings stuff with a smile even when we try to stop her?”
She was diligently taking acting and singing lessons while also directing and allocating the club members with their jobs. I realised that this definitely was the reason why this society had succeeded before the regression.
‘For some reason, it’s the protagonist side that’s falling behind…’
Glancing at where the actors were at, I looked at Song Mirae while scratching my hair.
Song Mirae, the musical star who would later become famous.
I remember her gaining exceptional popularity due to her outstanding singing and acting ability, plus her decent outward appearance. She was in fact more well-known than Lee Suh-ah or Kim Wuju by the general population, and was a big star that frequently showed herself in television.
‘A big difference with them is that most of her career was focused in Korea, though.’
But currently, she was merely a high schooler, who was getting scolded by a teacher in a corner of the room. While listening to Song Mirae’s song, teacher Hong Yoojin made a frown and gestured for her to stop.
After quietly tapping the table a few times, teacher Hong Yoojin let out a sigh while pressing on the middle of her forehead.
“…Song Mirae. Are my words too difficult to understand? A musical and an opera share the same basics but there are small differences in between. I said that countless times right?”
Throwing a glance across the club room which had suddenly turned quiet, she eased her expression a little and continued her words.
“Of course, this is Future Arts High. No-one would be expecting a perfect musical or perfect acting from you. It is natural that you will be evaluated on your songs.”
Standing off in a distance, I was listening to her words and gave a nod.
Although we would be wearing the mask called a musical, our school was fundamentally a place to learn singing. We weren’t from the drama and theatre department or anything, so the audience won’t be expecting an outstanding act.
That’s why we decided on an unknown musical with simple acting, while eliminating the famous musicals.
The teacher observed the atmosphere for a while, before opening her eyes thinly with her arms crossed.
“But since we excluded other elements, the importance of the song becomes even greater. It has to be more elaborate, and more perfect. We need to take care of every single detail one by one.”
“But in your case, there’s no difference between your current singing and your opera songs.”
Looking back at the teacher who was indifferently staring at her, Song Mirae spoke with a pout.
“Because I’m from the Opera Department.”
Whoa, look at her talking back to the teacher.
She then hurriedly lowered her head after being scared away by teacher Hong Yoojin’s glare. It was exactly how Song Mirae was always like.
‘A child like that is the future musical star…’
Staring at her, I let out a sigh and shook my head.
In any case, just like that, the students learning acting were in a slightly more suffocating atmosphere. First off the female protagonist was in that state and Han Dasom, the ace, was also seemingly lost as to what to do.
Lee Suh-ah seemed quite unenthusiastic and after a short temporary visit to the society, she went back and forth between here and her other society like a migratory bird.
I was quite busy myself due to my given task.
After confirming what was happening around the room, I turned my head back to Chloe, who was sitting next to me.
Chloe, blinking her eyes and facing me with an innocent expression.
Yun Soojin-sunbae who had come to me after completing her work at the prop section.
And a first grade Dancing Department student, who had recently joined the society.
‘Non-majors who decided to enter the stage.’
I, who had the most time up my sleeve, was tasked with teaching them. With the main actors in that situation, there was nothing much for me to do.
After finishing my line of thought, I opened my mouth with a grin.
“Now, we will start practising again. Are you all prepared for it?”
In response to my glance, Yun Soojin-sunbae replied with a smile.
“Yes sir~ huhuh.”
She started calling me like that after I was allocated to teaching them, and it seemed that she found my way of talking during lessons funny. It was a habit from giving lessons in the past.
Chloe was also imitating her after bursting out into laughter.
It couldn’t be helped though.
I had been teaching for way too long. What could I do when my speech automatically turns like this after standing in front of students?
After reminiscing some of the past memories a little, I carried my feet and stood in front of the three as the gazes of the three gathered at me. Returning those gazes, I slowly opened my mouth.
“Firstly, we don’t have much time. Both Chloe and sunbae are not people majoring in singing right? Since you can’t put all your time into this either, we can say it’s impossible for you to sing properly.”
Hearing that declaration, the happy and enjoyable air surrounding us stiffened.
While observing them, I explained with a bitter laugh.
“You might think I’m ignoring you guys too much, but let me put it this way. Let’s say I were to learn how to draw. Just as a hobby. Plus, I can’t even invest much time into it, nor have I learnt it before.”
These days, it was busy with mid-sem exams and such. With this school being a performing art school that puts significant importance into school grades, it was impossible to force them to stick to club activities.
“But after two months, I want to draw something and hang it on an exhibition.”
I met my eyes with Yun Soojin-sunbae.
“If I said that, how would you reply, sunbae?”
The smallest of the three, the friend from the Dancing Department quietly gave a nod.
They were literally non-majors.
Urging them and making them sing a perfect song, and having them practice everyday throughout the day was impossible. Even if it was possible, that would be a nuisance to them.
For them, singing wasn’t a dream, and they hadn’t sacrificed everything for singing either.
Slowly, I glanced across them, before turning my body around and continuing.
“Fortunately, the parts allocated to the three of you, aren’t extremely important or anything. You just have to come out and give one or two lines, or participate in the chorus. Even if you just lip-sync, no-one will be able to really tell. In other words, you are like extras in the performance and if you practise a little bit on matching the melodies a little, the performance would flow smoothly without much of an issue.”
I found Yun Soojin-sunbae lowering her gaze, coming to a compromise.
It was natural because she was someone who loved the society more than anyone else. Even if she herself didn’t shine, she would be able to withstand it as long as the performance could flow without an issue.
She was a sunbae who even loved the appearance of the gradual descent of the society and left it in a painting.
After staring at the sunbae for a while, I opened my mouth.
“But that’s not what we are going to do.”
Shooting her head up, she stared at me in doubt.
She seemed surprised, and it was apparent that she was thinking, ‘what is this about?’.
Seeing that face, I almost broke out into laughter but held it in, and glanced at the three of them one by one.
“The three of you didn’t join this society to become extras, right?”
I could feel three children blankly staring at me. In a somewhat cheerful mood after remembering the past, I gently carried my feet across and opened my mouth.
“You have a small role, or can’t sing, so let’s just go over it. Of course, that’s possible. Giving up is easy. In fact, it’s true that it doesn’t have much of an influence, considering the overall quality of the performance itself.”
Having my feet come to a stop, I turned my head over to the three disciples.
“But if we do that, it won’t be fun for sunbae and you guys.”
First-graders who joined this small society because they thought it would be fun to follow me. And a third grade sunbae who would be standing on the stage for the last time in her high school.
Giving up on those three, is too harsh, isn’t it?
Wearing a smile on my face, I crossed my arms.
“Of course, I might bother you a bit during the lessons and there obviously will be times where you get upset. Since I can’t take too much of your time, the lesson intensity might be a bit difficult to handle.”
“But it might be a once-in-a-lifetime memory for everyone, so wouldn’t that be better than doing it casually?”
I could see the expression of the Dancing Department student, who had been sitting down introvertedly, turning brighter. There was a lively smile appearing on Chloe’s face, while the calm, sunken atmosphere around sunbae turned into a bright aura and spread across.
A dense unity being shared between the three.
It is one of the best moments during lessons that made the lessons feel worthwhile.
“I’ll try my best!”
“Let’s do our best!”
The first-graders shot their hands up. Glancing back and forth between the two of them, Yun Soojin-sunbae then turned her head towards me.
Her lips were then gradually lifted upward.
Wearing a warm smile, the sunbae matched her eyes with mine.
Letting out a chuckle with a hand covering her mouth, she spoke with eyes resembling half moons.
“I told you to speak casually. You seriously sound like a teacher.”
No, that’s because this relationship with a younger sunbae is awkward…
I looked at her with an awkward expression but soon opened my mouth with a grin.
“I got it, sunbae.”
As I thought, there was nothing easy in this world.*
The main actors who had been practising at a different corner of the room were taking a short break. Exhausted from the intense lessons of teacher Hong Yoojin, Song Mirae heaved out a sigh.
“So annoying. Why does your teacher hate me so much? Always says something and…”
Seeing Song Mirae, who was grumpily kicking the ground, Lee Suh-ah shook her head.
“That’s because you’re not doing it properly.”
“…tch. What’s so bad about my singing? I’ve been doing it nonstop from middle school so isn’t it okay for me to cut some slack?”
After declaring that in full confidence, she suddenly dropped her head low and formed a sorrowful expression.
“Maybe I shouldn’t do musicals…”
“Why all of a sudden.”
“Maybe I don’t have any talent.”
Hearing the sudden words escape Song Mirae’s mouth, Lee Suh-ah faced her friend with crossed arms.
Thinking back, Song Mirae had always been like this. She seemed rather full of confidence, while having low self-esteem. While believing in her own ability, she looked down at her own existence, and was eager for affection every time.
Due to that unstable appearance, she was a friend whom Lee Suh-ah couldn’t leave alone.
“…Don’t say that. You can do it well if you practise.”
“…Right? If Suh-ah’s saying that, then that must be true!”
Then, Song Mirae was suddenly put in a good mood and flipped through the music sheets with a bright smile. Seeing that, Lee Suh-ah let out a small sigh.
‘Something’s a bit weird though.’
Although Song Mirae always had such a personality, she seemed to be lacking concentration a bit in this society. Perhaps it was because she was with someone she liked, but she would constantly glance at Jo Yunjae, without taking the teacher’s words in full.
She was someone that practised in nervousness when she was being disliked by the club president of Cantabile, the musical club…
‘Ever since middle school, she liked musicals after all.’
Since she was about to get expelled from the only club where her favourite musical was allowed, she was naturally restless and anxious.
And yet now, she was snorting even after listening to the words of a teacher.
Seeing Song Mirae’s attitude which might result in a dark future, Lee Suh-ah let out another sigh.
* Yunjae is still speaking in polite language (a bit less formal).