The club members all lined up after getting in their costumes . They had some makeup on them as well .
“We’re going to have twice the amount of makeup, now that we are going on stage . We do this to give volume to our face, since the lighting usually makes our face look flat . Understood?”
“Yes . ”
“This time, we’re going to complete the sets for each scene as well . Don’t forget where you’re supposed to go . Don’t try to rush things when you take out props either . We have plenty of time, so just think about doing it perfectly more than anything . ”
The club members nodded tensely . They all looked quite different once they had their actual costumes on .
Geunseok, Taejoon and Iseul had their high school uniforms on, but all the other kids were wearing all sorts of clothes portraying various age groups .
Dojin and Daemyung, for instance, were wearing suits . Gray and black striped suits . They didn’t look so bad in it, surprisingly .
Awkward, though? Sure .
The second years looked very different as well . Yoonjung had a wig on her that looked very expensive, considering how natural it looked .
Joonghyuk was wearing a white button-up shirt with dark blue dress pants . He even had a little mustache drawn on his face .
Minsung was wearing very loose gym clothes . His turtleneck really completed the jobless look .
Danmi played a shopkeeper . She wore a strangely-colored pair of pants with a white shirt and a jacket on top . Her lips were painted purple to resemble the appearance of a talkative neighborhood lady .
“Daemyung,” Miso called out .
“Loosen up your necktie a little bit . You guys just got out of work . You’re walking over to get a drink . Show that you’ve loosened up significantly . ”
Daemyung pulled his tie down a little bit, earning a nod from Miso .
“Yurim . ”
“Yes . ”
Yurim stepped forward . She too was playing a middle aged lady like Yoonjung and Soyeon .
“Remember this well . You guys are friends of Jungsoo’s mothers, and you live better than her . You guys call yourselves friends, but you only associate with Jungsoo’s mother to look down on the woman . You can be a little toxic if you’d like . Just look down on her . Soyeon, you too . The more you girls pressure Jungsoo’s mother, the more your characters come alive . You get it?”
“Yes . ”
Yurim and Soyeon nodded nervously . During the past few months, Yurim gave herself a little curl to her hair, giving her a mature look . Soyeon too, attempted the mature look, by losing an incredible amount of weight .
Surprisingly, the girl was dissatisfied about her current weight, as Maru often heard her talking about eating as much as she want after the plays .
“By the way, the people over here are friends during my year in the club . The first generation of Blue Sky . This is Hong Geunsoo, and this is Kang Soojin . Don’t disappoint them, now . ”
Maru gave Soojin a little glance . He didn’t know she was a member of this club too .
“Maru, you watch the play carefully . You’re going to be the audience today . Give the kids an honest review . ”
Maru went to sit down next to the seniors . Watching the club members from the audience felt fresh to him . So this was what Miso saw . He could feel the energetic gaze from each of the club members . The energy exuding out of them was extraordinary .
‘Being an instructor must be pretty hard . ’
The energy from all eleven of the students was, quite frankly, overwhelming . He had no idea how Miso managed to even dare act as she did under all those gazes .
“Your friends are pretty good,” Geunsoo mentioned .
The man’s social skills were incredible . Whereas his brother, Geunseok seemed pretty difficult to approach, Geunsoo semmed incredibly easy to befriend despite the age gap .
“So why are you here and not on the stage anyway?”
“I hesitated . ” “Hesitated? To do acting?”
“Yes . I still am, actually . ”
“Hesitation… It’s a good thing to have . If you aren’t passionate about something, you might as well think before you act . Lots of adults demand that kids your age be reckless, but I think differently . ”
Maru looked up at Geunsoo . This was a man who’d succeed big time with acting in the future . He couldn’t very well take the man’s words lightly .
Right then, Miso called the kids over with a clap .
“We’ll begin in exactly ten minutes . Treat this as the real thing . Think before you act, think before you walk, and think before you even breathe . This is your last test, so be very careful . ”
The floor became awkward for a split second . Maru continued talking to Geunsoo .
“How did you get into acting?”
“Me? Hmm . . . ”
Geunsoo looked up at the ceiling as he started thinking .
“Do you want to know what this guy’s nickname was in high school?” Soojin butted .
“What was it?”
“Lunatic . ”
Geunsoo smiled, muttering ‘that’s a nostalgic nickname’ to himself .
“There really wasn’t a better name for him at the time . He just went straight to Mr . Taesik and just asked to make the acting club . In that sense, that teacher was quite amazing as well . They just made the club right then and there . The two of them got along real well, which only made things difficult for everyone . ”
Soojin smiled, thinking back at the time .
“Geunsoo would always say this at the time if you saw him: ‘Do you want to try acting?’ He was incredibly persistent, too . His entire class had to endure this for a month straight . ”
“Hey, I wasn’t that bad,” Geunsoo complained .
Miso butted in immediately .
“Soojin actually toned it down . He was even worse than that . He’d just scream every single day from the class podium going, ‘let’s burn our youths away with passion!’ Thought I was going to become flipping deaf . ”
“To think the very first member of the club would say this to me… I feel hurt, you know?”
Geunsoo lightly smacked Miso’s shoulder, earning an awkward smile from her .
Well, that was quite a sight . Maru never imagined that anyone could shut Miso up .
“In any case, that’s how the club was made in the beginning . To be honest, I… really didn’t want to join at first . You remember what kind of a situation I was in, right?”
Soojin had told him that she was adopted in the beginning of high school . She probably didn’t want to join any club with such a heavy heart .
“But Geunsoo would just ask me again and again and again . I thought he had short-term memory loss when I first saw him . Really, he was just a complete lunatic,” she continued .
It felt incredibly alienating hearing the word ‘lunatic’ come out of Soojin’s mouth so many times . It was strangely cute, though, for some reason .
“So, did you get into the club in the end?”
“Yeah . But I wasn’t forced in or anything . I just realized I stopped thinking about my home or my life or anything else when I was arguing with Geunsoo . I mean, you must’ve experienced it too . When you focus on something, you can’t think of anything else . That’s when Geunsoo really convinced me . ”
“What did he do?”
“He told me he’d make me smile for the next three years, as long as I was in the club . That really got me for some reason . ”
Maru glanced at Geunsoo, who just shrugged in response .
“She looks very pure and happy now, but back then she was a real piece of work . There was rain around her face all day long . ”
Geunsoo gestured rain falling with his fingers over his head . Soojin’s face immediately flushed red .
“You wanted to know why I started acting, right? It isn’t anything special . It started as a rebellion against my father . But that just disappeared after a while . The real reason why I got into acting was because I enjoyed it . As soon as I realized how fun it was, I couldn’t give it up . I started going into it with the mindset, ‘I’ll do it even if I have to die!’”
Even if he had to die, huh . That one sentence seemed to describe Geunsoo’s thoughts pretty well . Maru took a look at the first gen members carefully . Each one of them had a very strongly defined personality .
Miso and Geunsoo made acting their jobs, while Soojin turned it into volunteer work .
“You were doing puppet plays with Soojin, right?” Geunsoo asked .
“Yes . ”
“How was it?”
“It… was fun . Pretty satisfying, too . ”
“Yes . ”
“Hm, I see . Anything else?”
Maru shook his head . He was satisfied with just this for now . Geunsoo put on a strange smile in response .
“Yo, smiley,” he said, turning to Miso .
“I don’t think this kid will go really deep into acting . ”
Geunsoo looked at Maru with a hand on his chin . He had a small smile on his face .
“It’s fun and satisfying, right?”
“Yes . ”
“That’s good enough, then . I like to think of acting as a greedy monster with a very particular eye for things . Acting chooses people, rather than the contrary . Some people are born to become actors, while others just aren’t . And if a person is unfortunate enough to be the former… Acting just swallows those people up completely . That’s how the ghosts of Hyehwa station come to be . They’ve been devoured by the monster . ”
Geunsoo scanned Maru with a sharp look before continuing .
“I don’t know what’s making you hesitate, but I recommend that you don’t think too much . If acting takes a liking to you, you’ll be taken up by it no matter what you do . If it doesn’t, you’ll never be able to make it onto the stage . ”
Geunsoo pat Maru’s back lightly .
“Oh, and lastly . You said you were feeling satisfied, right? That’s completely fine . But people who are taken by acting feel something completely different . They feel excitement . ”
Geunsoo gestured towards the club members with his chin . Now that Maru looked, he noticed a flaring energy of excitement and passion coming off of the members .
“The kids this time around are all amazing people,” Geunsoo said, furrowing his brows .
That’s when Maru noticed .
The man’s face was starting to flare up with excitement like the other kids .
* * *
As soon as Maru excused himself to the bathroom, Miso slapped Geunsoo’s back as hard as she could .
The club members looked at Miso and Geunsoo with surprised faces .
“Don’t worry about it . Focus . ”
“Yes . ”
Geunsoo asked Soojin to rub his back with a pained face . Soojin rubbed Geunsoo’s back with a slight grin on her face .
“I ask you to make the boy care about acting, and you just go trample on him, huh?” Miso growled .
The main reason why she called him here today was to check on the club as a whole, but she also wanted him to nudge Maru’s interests towards acting as well . But instead of saying any words of help to the boy, he just blew out the candle completely .
“And Ms . Soojin?”
“I asked you to help Maru become interested in puppet plays, not become interested in playing around with children . You’ve just turned him into a volunteer worker, haven’t you?”
“No, I . . . ”
“Oh my god, you idiots . ”
Miso shook her head with her arms crossed . This was bad . Maru’s eyes just now… She could just see him drawing the line with the club again . At this rate, the boy would just end up interested in volunteering, not acting .
That was no bueno .
“Why are you so obsessed over him anyway?” Geunsoo asked .
“He makes me insanely curious . He’s going to show me something if I train him well and put him on stage . That’s what my guts tell me anyway . ”
“Well, I’m not doubting your judgement, but . . . ”
Geunsoo leaned back with his legs stretched out forward .
“The way I see it, he’s not the type to do something because someone else tells him to . He’s very centered . He really has to have an interest in it himself if he wants to try something . If you force him to act, sure, he’ll do it, but he won’t be committed . “
“I know . That’s why I’ve been slowly tempting him . And then you do this?”
Geunsoo was right . Maru, unlike other kids his age, was actually thinking of his future .
Safety first .
There was no better phrase that described the boy than this . To Miso, Maru was a very tempting subject . The boy was somehow fundamentally different from everyone else . That was the judgement Miso came up with after two months she spent with him . She was crazy curious to see what the boy would be like if he actually took up acting .
“Well, you’re reckless as usual . ”
“I don’t want to hear that from you, you goddamned lunatic . ”
“Oh, so scary . ”
Miso sighed exasperatedly .