He yawned and got ready to get some sleep, even if it was for a little, but raised his head when Daemyung, who sat next to him, woke up.
“What is it?”
“Wait a minute.”
Daemyung rushed out the back door. He asked Dojin what was up with him, but he did not seem to know the reason either.
He hadn’t returned even when the class started. The teacher, who carried in with him a billiard cue to show his ‘love’ to people that didn’t listen to class, stood behind the lecture desk and spoke.
“What’s up with that empty seat over there?”
“He just went to the toilet.”
“Geez, he should have gone beforehand.”
Just as the teacher clicked his tongue, Daemyung came back to the class.
“Big one, or small one?”
“Big one huh. Visit the toilet before class next time, okay?”
He had become quite quick witted. Maru smiled as he pushed Daemyung with his elbow. Daemyung sighed as he sat down.
“Where did you go? Did you really go to the toilet?”
“No, I visited that seonbae from before.”
“That seonbae? You mean the one from the broadcasting club?”
“I asked if I could give a proper reply after talking about it with the members. I gave her an answer because I was fl.u.s.tered, but when I thought about it, I don’t know if the first years are fine with it or not. You’re busy as well. It’d be rather bad if I accepted her and told her later that we can’t do it.”
“Boys, let’s start class. Do I really have to wait for you to quieten down?”
The math teacher spoke. Daemyung flinched as he turned his face forward. Maru faintly smiled as he saw Daemyung hurriedly open the textbook.
While he fidgeted with the mechanical pencil, the class began.
* * *
“I’m okay with that.”
“I think we should do it!”
As soon as Daemyung’s words finished, the three first years spoke out.
“She said we might get to be on the radio if it goes well. Let’s try.”
Aram seemed enamored by the word ‘radio.’
“How about you, Maru?”
“I can do it if it’s just every once in a while. If it takes a long time, I’ll have to think about it. For now, I can’t do Mondays to Wednesdays because I have to go to Seoul right after school, but I’m fine on Thursdays to Saturdays, I don’t have anything planned as of now.”
Maru looked at the clock before standing up with his bag.
“I’m sorry, but I have to go.”
“Oh, okay then. I’ll talk to the seniors about the details and will tell you about it next time. Let’s decide on it then.”
“Thanks. Have fun doing practice, everyone.”
He left behind the members of the acting club who waved at him. He went to the front door and changed his shoes before heading to the bus stop.
‘I should look for a small studio to live in when I graduate.’
After he watched the passing buildings on the bus for a while, he soon arrived at Suwon station. He pushed in between the people coming out to get on the train.
‘But why did senior Ganghwan call me in the first place?’
From how he asked the time and place, it was highly likely that he was coming to meet him. It wasn’t surprising though, since that was just how he usually was.
He got off at Gangnam station and walked towards Film.
A lot of people around his age were walking into the academy. It was highly likely to encounter a celebrity when standing near the front door for a while. There were at least middle-aged veteran actors among the faculty here. It wasn’t called a super company of the acting education industry for nothing.
When he entered the 4th lecture room, Sungjae welcomed him. He was holding a sandwich.
“Is that your dinner?”
With the beginning of the new semester, the lessons were pushed later into the evening as well.
“Yeah. Do you want some?”
“I’ll gladly accept it if you give it to me.”
The sandwich contained mashed eggs and potatoes. Just as he took a bite, the door to the lecture room opened once again. This time, it was Gyunglim, who was wearing a hat.
“Do you want some as well, Gyunglim?”
They were all eating a sandwich, sitting down in a row, before looking at each other and chuckling.
“Did you prepare your skits?” Sungjae asked.
“No. From what I know of instructor Miso’s personality, she’ll never give us the same context as the ones she gave as examples, so I just didn’t prepare at all.”
“That’s the same as what I had in mind. How about you, Gyunglim?”
“Just a few that she told us….”
“Really? Then should we try doing one? I’m getting a little bored now since I’ve been sitting here for so long.”
Gyunglim nodded and stood up. She even seemed to have made a script for her short skit as she was holding a piece of A4 paper.
“Tell me if I look awkward.”
After replying to Gyunglim, Sungjae fixed his position and got ready to respond.
This was the usual now. Remembering the topic that Miso threw at them at the end of the class and researching it before the next class. At first, they were quite awkward, but now, they were able to start acting without many problems.
“You took my five thousand won bill.”
“You acting ignorant?”
After rolling her feet on the ground in frustration, Gyunglim stopped.
“How was that?”
“Your pronunciation was too mashed when you breathed heavily, so it was hard to hear. Also, people usually lose their speaking habits when they raise their voice, so it doesn’t sound natural.”
“Is it like that after all?”
Gyunglim put her finger inside her hat and scratched her head.
“Why don’t you two try? I need some practice.”
Gyunglim sat down and Maru stood up this time.
“Do you have anything in mind?”
“How about a historical drama? Watching ‘The King’ these days made me want to practice that.”
“That’s good. I’ll just take things slow. Gyunglim-noona, give us some feedback.”
Gyunglim nodded. Sungjae snapped his fingers and spun around several times on the spot before raising his head. It seemed that he had got things ready.
“I’ll try imitating one of the cuts I watched yesterday.”
Sungjae frowned and knelt on the ground with one knee. He said his line very tragically. His line was the last shouts of a losing general.
He was good. Seeing him upfront, Maru was surprised by the wave of emotions he received. His forcefulness was one thing, but the transfer of his emotions was very good as well. A shouting scene sometimes blurred the meaning of the lines with reckless shouting, but Sungjae distributed his efforts between the two evenly.
“You tried historical dramas before?”
“I was even a supporting role once.”
“I knew it.”
That made more sense. Maru looked at Gyunglim.
“I think it’s okay overall. But Sungjae-oppa, I feel like you were putting too much effort into frowning. I think it’ll be better if you loosen up a little.”
Sungjae’s eyebrows twitched as he tried changing the expression. When he did it a couple of times, he managed to create a face that still expressed vivid despair without exaggerating too much. After repeating that face a couple of times in front of the mirror, Sungjae made a smile of satisfaction.
Just then, Gwangseok entered the lecture room. He swung his bag and threw it into the corner. When the bag hit the wall with a thud, the door opened once again. This time, it was Miso, holding a cup of coffee.
“Looks like no one’s late today. Well then, we’ll start in 5 minutes. Do some stretches on your neck, face, arms, legs, and even your hair for today.”
Miso crossed her legs as she sat down.
* * *
“Can’t you bring out some more? You’re supposed to be enjoying yourself. More, more, more, more!”
Miso was teaching first hand that it really wasn’t easy to laugh one’s lungs out. Maru looked at Gyunglim while massaging the area around his lips. She was laughing and clapping to the point that her lips were going to rip. She was even using her feet as well.
Hahahaha - that was the laugh that could be heard for the past hour or so. Sungjae and Gwangseok were also massaging their lips.
“Exaggerate more, make it look more artificial. More, more, more. Think of it as you might end up spitting something out from your mouth while laughing!”
Gyunglim, who laughed like a, well, a crazy bitch, was only freed from Miso’s grasp after three more minutes. This really went to show that it was possible to tire yourself out through laughing.
“Expressions are made by your facial muscles. No matter how dramatic of an emotion you have, it’s no use if your facial muscles are underdeveloped. There’s a reason why veteran actors exercise their facial muscles before acting. Even those veteran actors keep practicing in order to utilize the 80-something muscles in the face as though they would their limbs. But people just starting out acting forget that the basics are important and end up doing crappy emotion acting. You have to realize just how hard it is to just breathe while laughing. Understood?”
“Well, then. We’re going to add this to our daily practice routines. Since we laughed together, let’s try crying tomorrow.”
Miso’s speech was very warm, but as the listener, Maru felt drained of energy. Laughing was hard enough already, and now they had to cry? His eyes and neck felt strained already just by imagining that he was going to cry exaggeratedly.
“Let’s clean things up and-.”
Just as Miso was about to wrap up the lesson, someone knocked on the door.
“Wow, Instructor Yang Miso, you look blinding.”
Ganghwan entered while telling a joke. There were paper bags in each of his hands.
“Huh? What brings you here?”
“I’m here to cheer you on. And also to see him.”
Maru greeted Ganghwan who pointed at him with his chin.
“Huh? Yang Ganghwan!”
Gyunglim, who was massaging her face while sitting down on the ground, became startled and shouted. She seemed to have noticed that she was being rude after she shouted and apologized immediately.
“Sorry, I just didn’t expect to see you here.”
“Haha, I guess I wouldn’t usually be here.”
Ganghwan laughed before standing next to Miso.
“You haven’t had dinner yet, have you? I bought some to eat with the people here.”
Ganghwan took out some plastic containers from the paper bags.
“I wonder if everyone here’s okay with sushi?”
Gwangseok cheered in joy before laying out the containers on the floor.
They sat down in a circle and started eating.
“Can I ask you for an autograph?”
Gwangseok and Gyunglim seemed to know Ganghwan. People interested in plays would have heard of his name at least once, so it wasn’t that surprising.
“Of course. But there’s a much more famous person than me here.”
Ganghwan sneakily pushed a pen and paper towards Sungjae. Sungjae smiled in embarrassment before giving him an autograph.
“With this autograph, I guess you’ll get a hundred, no, a thousand of my autographs.”
Ganghwan smiled as he stashed away the autograph he just got.
“But why are you really here?” Miso asked.
“It’s got nothing to do with you, Miss Yang Miso, so stay out of it and enjoy your sushi.”
Ganghwan picked up a piece of sushi with his chopsticks before putting it towards Miso’s mouth.
He’d probably get smacked for that - just as he thought, Miso smacked Ganghwan on the back of his head. Gwangseok and Gyunglim seemed to find their banter rather curious as they looked at the two in surprise.
“Uhm, are you two perhaps lovers?” Gwangseok asked without holding back.
“Me, with this woman? Geez, did you have to swear at me like that on our first meeting? Man, that was hard to take.”
Ganghwan replied sarcastically while Miso just outright ignored him as though there was no meaning in replying.
“This woman has a man she’s going to marry soon. Ah, these people don’t know about it, do they? Looks like I’ll have to tell the tales of Miso’s dramatic love stor… fine, fine. I’ll stay quiet, so put down those chopsticks, alright? Jesus, that was scary, putting chopsticks against someone’s eyes like that. Other people will just do it as a joke, but it’s scary since you look like you’d really stab.”
“Why don’t we just get on with our meal already? Just why did I help this guy’s play out, I wonder.”
Miso shook her head in resignation. When they finished about half of the sushi that Ganghwan brought, someone knocked on the door again. Maru put down his chopsticks and looked at the door. There were a lot of guests today for some reason.
“Looks like he’s here. Come in!” Ganghwan spoke. Was it someone he called?
The one that came in with a bright greeting was Sooil. Everyone exclaimed in surprise as though they recognized him.
“Yoo Sooil, right?”
“Yes, that’s me.”
“Wow, is today a special day?”
Gwangseok whistled. Sooil greeted Sungjae first. It seemed that they had experience shooting together before.
“Is there some for me? I haven’t had dinner yet.”
“There’s a lot, come sit.”
Ganghwan pushed one of the containers towards Sooil.
“But what’s that in your hand?”
“Oh, this? Just some desserts. Thankfully, I was right on the number of people. Here.”
The paper bags that Sooil brought had plastic containers in them as well. Opening the plastic container, there was neatly lined-up food.
“It’s a crêpe. It has fruits and cream inside, and it’s pretty good.”
Ganghwan reached out first, and Maru also picked one up.
He took a bite out of the crêpe as Sooil told everyone to enjoy it.