“Put down your scripts . ”
The entire club put down their scripts . The entire auditorium quieted down right then .
“We’re going to stop using our scripts from now on . You all have your lines memorized, right?”
“Good . ”
Miso drew a rectangle on the floor with blue tape .
“This is the size of the stage you’ll be working on from now on . ”
9 meters wide, and 7 meters tall . The eleven members of the club looked around from inside the rectangle .
“Smaller than you think, isn’t it?”
“Yes . ”
“This is how big most small theaters are . But actually performing in it should change your thoughts drastically . You’ll realize how massive it is once you actually start performing in front of a crowd . Now! Let’s start again from the top . Stay focused, now . Don’t try to take it too seriously, and feel free to ask for lines if you get stuck . Ok?”
“Yes ma’am . ”
“I won’t comment too much, since this isn't for real yet . Just try to figure out how the play goes as you work in real time with other actors . Now then, Daemyung, begin . ”
The play began with a loud sigh .
“Hm . ”
Soojin smiled awkwardly, causing Maru to put down his tiger doll .
“Is there a problem?” he asked .
“No, it’s nothing . ”
Her words betrayed the look of disappointment she wore .
“Please tell me . I’m trying to learn here, so anything helps . ”
“Well, ok . If that’s the case…”
Soojin took the doll from his hand and put it on hers .
“First off, your flow of speech is perfect . Even an adult who’s never heard the story would be able to understand everything after just one go . But…”
She looked at the doll for a split second before going “rawr” with a smile on her face .
“The play isn’t for adults . A good story has value, for sure . But kids want entertainment . It’d be good if we can tell them a good story and make them have fun at the same time, but children can’t focus for too long at once . In the end, what you need is something that can grab their attention . Entertainment . ”
She went “rawr” again quietly before continuing .
“You’re good at explaining things, Maru . Ah, I’m not a professional, so don’t take my words too seriously . ”
“You’re certainly more professional than me . ”
“I-is that so? In any case, you’re good at explaining, but it’d be better if you tried to add in some funny bits in the middle . Speaking of which…”
Soojin put the tiger doll back on Maru’s hand . She walked back down to the first floor before returning with something in her hand . It was a camcorder . A small one at that . They should be pretty expensive at this time…
“Is that yours?”
“Oh, this? Yeah . It’s from Alpha . The video quality’s good, and it has decent memory . Plus…”
Soojin closed her mouth with a smile . What an interesting lady . An early adopter trying to get a truck license…
“In any case! Can you try putting on a play with that doll?” she asked .
“Yeah . I’ll take care of the other voices . ”
Maru put on the doll . He decided to start from the section when the mother and daughter characters would meet the tiger on the mountain .
“Rawr . ”
“Oh dear . ”
“You’re fearless, aren’t you?! Coming into these mountains so late at night! Sniff, sniff, what’s this I smell? Rice cakes?”
Maru decided to just go straight to his next line . Normally, a teacher would intervene here to explain the story .
“I won’t eat you if you give me one of those . ”
“H-here you go . Please let me go . ”
The play started again . The tiger would eat the rice cakes, and then eat the mother as well .
“Alright, let’s stop here for now . A video should explain the situation really well . Here, take a look . ”
His videotaped self was a lot more awkward than he expected from the beginning . He was just staring straight into the camera with no expression at all . Once Soojin finished saying her lines, he finally opened his mouth in the camera .
“Aha,” Maru exclaimed .
“You get it?”
“Yes . ”
Maru’s pronunciations were good, and his voice acting decent as well . But his face… His face didn’t carry any emotion in it at all . Apart from his hand, the rest of his body was completely still . In short, it was just really boring to look at .
“Alright, now that you got some feedback, let’s try again pretending you have an audience this time around . Here, I’ll show you how . ”
Soojin donned the mother & daughter doll on one hand, and the tiger doll on the other . She took a small breath before starting .
That roar alone was enough to make Maru realize how much better Soojin was compared to him . She was moving her entire body when she performed . She tried to become the character itself as she acted out the dolls . She roared like a tiger when the doll was supposed to roar, and she shuddered in fear when the two human dolls scrunched away as well .
That face of hers bloomed into a grin one second before morphing into fury in the next . It was pretty funny to look at . She even made a sorrowful expression when the mom got eaten by the tiger . After the short demonstration, Maru couldn’t help but clap . He realized that he was looking down on finger doll plays all this time . He was trying to get into this with the wrong mindset .
“This is a bit embarrassing when you first try this for the first time . Finger dolls can only do so much to convey emotions . In the end, I realized that I had to express things myself as well . Dolls are just symbols . Mascots . You have to be the one to convey the actual emotions . Voices aren’t enough . Just moving your body a bit here and there aren’t enough either . ”
Soojin frowned deeply, saying “you have to do it like this” as she did so . She seemed to be trying to look scary, but she only looked cute doing it .
“Kids are sharper than you think . They get bored if they realize you aren’t trying hard . That’s why you need to do your best . ”
She gave him back the tiger doll . Maru nodded . He realized what the woman was trying to tell him . He didn’t know if he could do it well, but he might as well try .
“Smile,” Soojin smiled toothily .
“Smile,” and Maru decided to follow suit .
He had to wonder, if a play for kids were this hard… What was an actual competition like? His mind drifted off to the other club members back at school .
Were they doing well?
“Auuuuagh,” Miso said, with a strange expression .
Dojin was just looking down at the floor right in front of her .
“Ababa, abababa . Are you trying to imitate a baby?”
“No, ma’am,” Dojin responded .
“I told you to ask if you didn’t know how to do it, didn’t I?”
“Yes, ma’am . ”
“So why didn’t you? Are you trying to waste time?”
“I’m sorry . ”
“Why are you apologizing to me? You’re only hurting the club here . In any case, don’t you have something to do?”
Ugh . Dojin ran outside . Ask questions if you have any… It was a great motto . A very nice way of running a club . You could always ask the other members if you happened to forget one line .
But there was a rule here . A single rule that existed to stop Dojin from asking any questions .
The rule itself was simple enough . If you forget your line, two laps around the field . If someone tells you your line, two more laps around the field . Dojin shouted annoyedly as he came out into the field .
“Ugh! Friggin’ hell! What am I supposed to do?!”
“I can hear you!”
Dojin flinched when he heard Miso’s voice from above . He ran the two laps as fast as he could before coming back in . The practice resumed afterwards .
He had his issues with Miso, but he couldn’t help but follow her instructions regardless . They were definitely working very well .
Running cleansed him of his other thoughts . The nervousness in his body disappeared . The lines slowly returned to him as the club practiced again .
“Okay,” Miso clapped her hands together .
A single round of practice without looking at the script had finished .
“We can’t just finish this with one practice round, can we?”
Dojin nodded, along with everyone else . They were pretty confident they could do better this time .
“Alright . Let’s just go at it, then . We’ll try running after one more round of this . ”
Running . That is, actually putting on the play . Miso always threatened to ‘murder’ them if they made a mistake during this .
Dojin swallowed . He was the one that’s made the most mistakes in the past week . He knew what Miso was capable of when she got angry . The other club members seemed to have thought the same thing .
“Good, good . That nervousness is good . This is for real, now . Making a mistake in a run means you’ve made a mistake on the actual performance . You need to be careful . We’ll get right into it after this . ”
Miso leaned back in her chair with a smile . Dojin, on the other hand, just sighed . He didn’t even want to imagine the consequences of making a mistake here .
They were crying .
One of them started first, then the other kids started crying as well . What did he do wrong? Maru looked at Soojin nervously . In the previous scene, he decided to try hard and put as much emotion as he could in showing the tiger eating the mother . He put on a big frown, shouted “roaaar!” as he bit down on the mother doll .
He thought he did pretty well . He really did . But the little girl in front of him exploded into tears .
“Ha, haha . ”
Soojin laughed awkwardly before bringing out a different doll . It was a cute turtle . She walked into the crowd of crying children . Maru tried stepping in to help, but receded after the children all stepped back in fear .
“Why did you cry? Were you scared?” Soojin said, waving the turtle doll in her hand . Her voice was soothing and slow .
The crying children instantly gathered around her .
Maru flinched inside . He felt like he did something wrong . But since there wasn’t anything he could do to remedy the situation, he just awkwardly scratched his head .
“They must’ve been surprised . Then again, when you roared, I almost flinched as well,” the teacher next to him whispered .
Maru apologized .
“Don’t worry about it . You were just trying hard . I don’t think we can continue with you today though . The kids will cry if they see you . ”
The teacher gave Maru the doll on her fingers . Maru turned to look at the kids with a conflicted look . The kids were all telling Soojin to punish the bad tiger with a crying look .
“…Come to think of it, my daughter wasn’t a fan of playing with me either . ”
He recalled the time when he threw his daughter in the air to stop her from crying . His wife smacked him for that .
Of course, his daughter only cried more from that as well .
[Ugh, have some common sense!]
The voice of his wife was still ringing in his ear .
“Sorry, I’m just not very talented . ”
Maru turned to head up to the second floor . The first time he tried to help out in a puppet play, he got three strikes immediately .