Act 11: Slowly 4
“To be exact, we’ll start by choosing the main actors.”
Main actors. When we remained silent after hearing that word, teacher Kwak Jungsoo looked across the room and reopened his mouth.
“Was that too sudden? Then let’s start from scratch, about the current situation of the society.”
Saying that, he started slowly walking back and forth.
“I heard you were doing a musical. I was wondering what you were talking about despite not being a musical club but… you were originally from this side?”
In response to the teacher’s question, Yun Soojin-sunbae replied with a faint smile.
“Yes. Last year we did a play and the year before we did a musical.”
“A play… good. In this festival, you were doing a musical right? Then we need to allocate members to their roles but… how many students here can sing?”
Yun Soojin-sunbae quickly counted with her fingers and replied.
“First off, there are two students from the second-grade that are from the Opera Department. They said they could sing already and the rest… hmm… they focused on making costumes and setting the stage last year so I think they will be supporting from the back.”
Hearing that, I gave a nod. Right, it was natural that not every member from the society would like to stand on the stage.
Although there were those that loved being embraced by the lights on top of the stage, there definitely were some people that found it burdensome. Especially for normal people, compared to a play that only focused on acting, a musical in which you must also sing probably had a higher difficulty barrier inside their hearts.
‘In any case, only two volunteers huh…’
The numbers were too few and performing a musical piece itself was questionable at this rate.
I heard Song Mirae did it well here in the past so I joined it without any worries but…
Glancing my eyes around, I was reading the mood when Yun Soojin-sunbae quickly added more words after seeing teacher Kwak Jungsoo’s indifferent expression.
“Actually I’m more towards supporting but… if there’s not enough members, I will learn as much as I can and…!”
The teacher nodded his head after seeing Yun Soojin-sunbae making a tight fist and turned his gaze over to the freshmen students gathered in one spot.
“Good. Singing can be taught after all. So that means there are three volunteers instead of two. What about you guys?”
“I will participate.”
When I gave an immediate reply, teacher Kwak Jungsoo watched me with a strange light in his eyes before turning to others.
“…Alright. And you?”
The recipients of his gaze, Song Mirae and Han Dasom replied as if in competition.
“I’ll do it too!”
And as three of the freshmen members were decided to be on the stage, it was Chloe’s turn to answer.
When the eyes of everyone gathered at her, she lowered her gaze in deep contemplation before carefully opening her mouth.
“Won’t it be late if I start learning singing now…?”
Hearing that, I came to a sudden stop.
Singing? Was she interested in it as well?
Although it would be good for me if she entered the stage, I thought for sure that she would be playing the accompaniment, since she loved piano. I tilted my head feeling it was weird as teacher Kwak Jungsoo crossed his arms.
“Late? Since the festival is during the end of November, there is around three months left and it would be quite rough. Although third-graders have done a musical before, you should’ve at least started preparing from the first semester to have some leeway.”
Yun Soojin-sunbae made an amiable smile in response.
“There were way too few people during the first semester…”
“It’s okay. Although three months is short, it won’t be completely impossible. The important thing here isn’t time.”
Tapping the whiteboard, teacher Kwak Jungsoo raised a marker with his hand. He then threw it into the air before grabbing it again while opening his mouth.
“A festival; you said you were presenting it at a festival. What I want to warn you guys about is that it won’t be easy just because it is an enjoyable, fun festival. In fact, satisfying the audience who has ‘entertainment’ as their objective… is very difficult.”
Slowly starting his words, the teacher blankly looked at the air as if he was reminiscing something.
“Back when I was in high school… Although I’m not from Future Arts High, I had been a part of a band during school. It wasn’t bad. Since it was an extremely popular society back then, there were tons of guys asking to join just to hit on some girls.”
…Teacher Kwak Jungsoo in a band huh.
With that visual, he definitely did suit rock bands. A full-on russian style even.
I glanced down at his massive build as he continued his words.
“Every member was chosen after countless skill checks so they all flooded with skills and confidence. Then, we decided to participate in a festival to boast of our skills… A vocal soaring through high notes and a long guitar solo, plus a drum being played crazily. What do you think was the result?”
Judging from the context of the question, it probably wasn’t great. Seeing our expressions, teacher Kwak Jungsoo gave a grin.
“Yes. It naturally wasn’t good. It seemed like the audience could tell its difficulty, but didn’t like the sound of it. Because festivals are for fun, its level of entertainment is more important than how complete it is as a music piece.”
Dropping his hand on the table with a gentle thud, teacher Kwak Jungsoo looked into our eyes.
“Plays including musicals and operas are the same. Singing? It’s good to be better but that isn’t the end. The audience are not judges – stableness of voice, uniqueness of expression, magnificence in comprehension of the song… these aren’t the things they are after. The sole aim they are after is entertainment.”
“But that also doesn’t mean that it’s easy to be on the stage. You must not make any visible mistakes at the very least to not make an unpleasant sound. To do that, you must repeat practices upon practices to rid yourself of mistakes. Besides, that isn’t everything and you must act as well. Yes… there is nothing more ambiguous than a fun performance. It’s better for your mind to be at a concour where good singing equals good marks.”
Lowering my head, I slowly thought back about my past.
Thinking back, I had never thoroughly contemplated the audience before.
In the past, there was my position in my family to consider, so I had focused more on ensembles that gave stable incomes. At an ensemble where you could just randomly sing and receive salary, there was no reason to worry too much about the audience.
Back during college and after leaving the ensemble, I did sing in front of an audience by myself but that was literally just singing, and I did not have a mindset of ‘I must satisfy the audience!’ during performances.
I had been singing solely for myself, or for judges.
Learning musicals this time around was, after all, also for myself.
‘A song not for myself, but for others…’
While I was in my muddled thoughts, teacher Kwak Jungsoo rhythmically continued his words.
“But if you can’t pass through their ambiguous standards, cruel yet naturally, the audience will turn their backs from you. The amount of effort you put in during the past three months, skill and future – all of those will scatter away like dust. They won’t be interested in those in the first place, because that is what ‘audience’ is.”
Teacher Kwak Jungsoo threw a glance towards me.
After wordlessly examining my face for a short period of time, he turned towards Chloe once again.
“So, do you still want to be on the stage?”
Wearing an expression of determination, Chloe replied.
“Good. Then four freshmen it is, and so there will be six to seven people on the stage.’
Raising his hands from the table with a smile, he carried his feet in large strides until he was before the whiteboard again. Touching the word [Protagonist] still remaining on the board, he opened his mouth.
“Now then, let’s get back to what we were talking about – protagonist.”
Returning each and every gaze he was receiving, teacher Kwak Jungsoo opened his mouth.
“Protagonist. Quite obviously, who the protagonist is, is very important in operas and musicals. It’s the same in dramas. While watching a drama, rather than saying ‘that drama is fun’, or ‘it has an interesting twist’, the names of the main actors have more impact in gathering views.”
“But unlike dramas that could at least compete in terms of story, musicals and operas offer the same plays by just changing the actors. Since a variable called ‘story’ disappears, the importance of the main actors become more and more important.”
That was true.
Even I also decided on whether to buy tickets to operas or not by seeing the main actor’s name.
“That’s why the first step in preparing for a musical, is to choose who the main actor will be.”
Hearing that, Lim Suhjoon-sunbae tilted his head.
“But don’t you usually choose what piece to do first? Then we choose a protagonist that suits that play through auditions. That’s what we did during our play last year…”
With a light reply, teacher Kwak Jungsoo glanced at us and raised one of his thick eyebrows.
“But you guys lack way too many members to find a matching protagonist for a musical piece.”
They all closed their mouths in response to the teacher’s arrangement of facts.
“So choosing the important protagonist first, and choosing a matching piece afterward will suit you guys more.”
“So… Who will be the main actors? I’m thinking of going with the classic method of choosing one male and one female.”
Out of the seven people that would be going on the stage, there were only two males consisting of a second-grade sunbae and myself, but when he saw my face, he immediately shook his head.
“I will concede it to him. I saw him during the Prac Concert and, wow, he was good.”
Seeing how we had come to a quick conclusion, teacher Kwak Jungsoo then turned towards the girls.
“So let’s say Yunjae will be the male protagonist, so who will be the female protagonist?”
Han Dasom, Song Mirae, Chloe, a second-grade sunbae, and the club president, Yun Soojin-sunbae. The gazes of those five female members met in the centre.
Silence befell the room.
Observing that fierce staring contest while holding my breath, I suddenly felt an urge to tremble.
‘…Maybe the aircon is too strong.’
It was a bit cold.
The first person to withdraw from the fight for female protagonist position was Chloe.
“I think it would be better for someone else to do it, huhuh.”
She then added more words saying that it would be better for someone that could sing well to be the protagonist, to which I agreed.
Since it was the protagonist, it would be better for it to be done by a person that could sing than someone that couldn’t. It was a logical decision.
When the atmosphere was calmed down a little by Chloe’s bright smile, Yun Soojin-sunbae gave a clap in agreement.
“It would be better to yield it to the Opera Department here, right? Count me out as well!”
Thus, the remaining members were three; a second-grade sunbae giving a strong impression, Han Dasom and Song Mirae.
When the three remained quiet while glancing at each other, teacher Kwak Jungsoo organised the situation for them.
“If all three of you want to do it, there is no other option. Do an audition.”
“I’ll give you scripts, so sing. The best one out of you three will then be the protagonist.”
It was a simple solution.