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A Thousand Faces Chapter 18

Updated: Jan 15

The Scene of the Pre-Screening of 'Actor Kingdom' 

 

A hall spreads out under a high ceiling in front of the broadcast studio. 

 

Inside the closed door, the screening was in full swing. 

 

The hall was buzzing with activity. 

 

The waiting participants sat on the floor, practicing their lines as they waited their turn. 

 

There was a mixture of excitement and nervousness on their faces, but they never let go of their hope. 

 

From children to middle-aged adults, people of all ages were expressing their emotions passionately in different parts of the hall. 

The door creaked open. 

 

"Next, please enter number 176." 

 

The official spoke like a machine. 

 

Everyone who came out of the studio had a dark expression on their face. 

 

The faces of those who finished the audition were resigned, and their shoulders were slumped. Others cast sidelong glances at them, conscious of their own fate. 

 

The tension escalates 

 

From the end of the corridor, 

 

slow, heavy footsteps could be heard. 

 

There's a confident stride, growing closer. 

 

Junwoo was walking towards the hall, his eyes filled with curiosity, taking in all the sights. 

 

As he walked in, late, people began to turn their attention to him. 

 

They glanced at him, their eyes lingering on his handsome features. 

 

"Don't I know him from somewhere?" 

 

"That's him. Gil Junho..." 

 

Those who recognized Junwoo's face lowered their voices. 

 

"Gil Junho?" They perked up their ears one by one when they heard the name. 

 

In an instant, the commotion died down in the middle of the corridor, and Junwoo, who had been walking, stopped at one place. 

 

"..." 

 

He wasn't practicing, and he didn't sit down on the floor like the others. 

 

He suddenly stood in the middle of them, his hands in his pockets. Some waiting participants thought he was doing it to enjoy the attention. 

 

"But I find that kind of thing annoying. He's aware of the attention but pretends he doesn't know anything." 

 

"He's just good-looking. Are you jealous?" 

 

"I'm not saying anything." 

 

The moment they made eye contact with Junwoo, they quickly lowered their heads. 

 

"Huh?" 

 

Junwoo was simply listening to something. He had instinctively stopped walking when he heard the sound coming from the studio through the crack in the window. 

 

Inside, the sound of someone sobbing could be heard. 

 

"Hey, someone's crying in there. It must be a tearful performance." 

 

"Ugh, I'm not sure I can do that. I'm so nervous; my tears are all dried up." 

 

In the midst of the audience's assumptions, 

 

"He must have failed." 

 

Only Junwoo, who had sensed the pattern of the voice, knew that it was not an act. 

 

The waiting time was longer than expected. This was his first time experiencing such a thing, and he had no idea it would take so long. He didn't have any particular plans, but 

 

Swoosh. 

 

"I'm the only one with nothing." 

 

Junwoo was empty-handed. Compared to the others who were eagerly looking at something and trying to figure it out, there was nothing he could do here. 

 

As he was starting to feel bored, Junwoo's gaze lingered on something. 

 

A script lying abandoned in a corner of the hallway, with a pen rolling next to it. 

 

Junwoo took a quick glance at the cover. 

 

[Starmaker Acting Academy - Actor Kingdom Preliminary Audition Improv Practice] 

 

At the bottom, the name "Kim Yoojin," presumably the owner, was written. 

 

The script, with its neatly written letters, seemed to have been made with a great deal of care, and the texture of the paper was slightly different. 

 

He knew it wasn't his, so he left it alone, but... 

 

"Is it abandoned?" 

 

He looked around again. Thirty minutes passed, and the owner still hadn't returned. His curiosity grew. 

 

After all, there were scripts everywhere. He wondered if the owner had failed and thrown it on the floor in a fit of anger. 

 

Swoosh. 

 

Finally, Junwoo picked up the script and turned the page. 

 

The pages, divided into chapters by emotion, were filled with scenes that were appropriate for improvisation. 

 

Flip. Flip. 

 

After flipping through a few pages, Junwoo realized something. 

 

'It wasn't dropped. It was given up.' 

 

The pages were filled with the owner's marks. 

 

The corners were crumpled as if the owner had squeezed them in anger. There were tear stains everywhere. And angry notes. 

 

"She must have lost her voice." 

 

The traces of someone trying her best. There were traces of crossing out and correcting the lines to shorten them somehow or of only choosing scenes that didn't require loud voices. But of course, the quality would inevitably suffer. 

 

The participant must have caught a bad cold because she couldn't even speak a single line properly. 

 

In other words, she must have given up and gone home because she was in a state where she couldn't act. 

 

For a moment, his sadness faded away. 

 

"I hadn't thought of this before." 

 

Junwoo's face lit up with interest as if he had found something interesting. He was also bored at the time. 

 

Junwoo, who had roughly grasped the paragraphs and structure of the script, picked up the pen next to him. 

 

Swiftly, steadily. 

 

After twenty minutes of this, 

 

"What's the matter with you?" 

 

Pause. 

 

A hoarse voice came from behind. 

 

Junwoo stopped scribbling and felt a pang of regret. She hadn't left yet. 

 

He turned his head slowly. A girl with puffy eyes was standing there as if she had been crying her heart out. 

 

Her name was Kim Yoojin. She seemed to be the owner of the script. The girl, wearing a school uniform with her hair in a bob, looked to be about Junwoo's age. 

 

"That's mine. Who are you?" 

 

Kim Yoojin's face was sullen. She glared at Junwoo and sniffled. 

 

"Oh, I'm sorry. I thought you had thrown it away." 

 

This was awkward. 

 

When Junwoo handed over the script, she immediately snatched it away. 

 

"Are you practicing with my script? Don't you know our academy? How much is this worth, and you're watching it for free?" 

 

StarMaker Acting Academy. 

 

The academy, located in Gangnam, was well-known for being attended by only the most wealthy families. It was a place that only accepted the most talented children, who had to audition several times before they could even enroll. 

 

Junwoo didn't know any of this. 

 

The script, which had been specially produced for the preliminary audition, was limited to only ten copies. 

 

Kim Yoojin felt like she would go crazy if this unknown kid practiced her script and got through the audition, even though it was obvious that she would fail. 

 

"I didn't practice." 

 

"Liar." 

 

"Oh, but I did scribble a bit... Sorry." 

 

Junwoo scratched his head. 

 

"You scribbled on it? Do you know how much this is worth!" 

 

Kim Yoojin's face turned red with anger. 

 

Was it expensive? Junwoo stood up with a troubled look on his face. 

 

"I'm really sorry. How much is it? I'll pay for it." 

 

"Are you really going to ask? This is irreplaceable!" 

 

"Oh. Then should I use it somewhere else, like the previous one...?" 

 

"What are you saying? Just go away. Don't cross my path today!" 

 

"..." 

 

Kim Yoojin gestured for him to leave. 

 

That's probably for the best, Junwoo thought. He had already done enough damage. He turned around helplessly. 

 

But then, he hesitated as if he had something to say. 

 

"But..." 

 

"What else!" 

 

Kim Yoojin shouted in a hoarse voice. 

 

Junwoo glanced at the script and seemed to want to say something, but then he said, 

 

"It's nothing. Good luck." 

 

He left, leaving behind a half-hearted cheer. 

 

Kim Yoojin glared at Junwoo's receding back with a snarl. 

 

"Right. The scribbles?!" 

 

She flipped through the script with a face filled with anger. 

 

"Oh my God. What the hell did you write all over this? What did you do?" 

 

Flip. Flip. 

 

The pages were being flipped through mercilessly with a rapid and irritated gesture. But then, 

 

"...Huh? Wait a minute." 

 

Having thoroughly checked, Kim Yoojin returned to the beginning and began to scrutinize the scribbles properly. 

 

"What's this...?" 

 

Kim Yoojin's eyes widened. 

 

A handwriting scrawled without much hesitation. 

 

It wasn't just a scribble. 

 

She could only understand it after reading it to the end. The intention of these scribbles, which perfectly fit the scene from beginning to end. 

 

He did this in such a short time? How did he come up with this answer, which I couldn't figure out even after worrying all night yesterday? 

 

Every line of dialogue in the scene had been changed to a memo. 

 

The play was performed without a single word, only with body language, such as facial expressions and gestures. 

 

The sounds that were not enough were expressed using props that were easy to find as objects. 

 

Only with a single pen. 

 

Tick, tock. The sound of fingernails clicking repeatedly. Boom. The sound of stomping feet. The sound of swallowing saliva in the throat. The sound of a palm slamming down on a table. 

 

The play used the sounds of the body to express emotions, replacing the voice. 

 

The sharp changes in eye contact, the increasing intensity of movements, finger-pointing, and pursed lips all had precise timing. 

 

It was as if the dialogue was coming out of the script itself. 

 

Kim Yoojin, who had finished checking Junwoo's scribbles, covered her mouth in disbelief. 

 

The scribbles were even better at conveying emotions and situations than the lines that had been carefully crafted by the academy, one line at a time. 

 

In fact, each line was broken down into detailed combinations of possible expressions. There were also physical reactions that could not be expressed in performance and incomprehensible words, but that was not important to Kim Yoojin. This was enough. 

 

Kim Yoojin, who had been stunned, suddenly had a question. 

 

"But why was he doing this? He's not hoarse like me." 

 

Kim Yoojin, who had been thinking hard about something, shook her head. 

 

"No way. Could he have been doing this just for fun? At a time when everyone is running out of time to practice more?" 

 

Kim Yoojin suddenly raised her head as she thought about it. She stretched her neck and quickly followed the crowd where Junwoo had disappeared. 

 

Meanwhile, Junwoo had returned to a corner of the hall with a bored expression on his face. 

 

'Why didn't you tell me I had to wait like this?' 

 

He was now unable to do anything carelessly, so he just sat there quietly. 

 

"Hey, you...! Scribble!" 

 

Someone approached quickly from a distance. 

 

"...?" 

 

'That's the same hoarse voice I heard earlier. She must be really angry to chase me all the way here.' 

 

Junwoo started to rack his brain. He didn't know what kids did to make up when they were angry, so he just looked uneasy. But the girl's face, who was getting closer and closer, was far from angry. 

 

"You!" 

 

Suddenly, the script was thrust in front of Junwoo. 

 

"How did you do this? No, why did you do this? No, I mean..." 

 

Blinking. 

 

In front of the silent Junwoo, Kim Yoojin, who had been huffing and puffing for no reason, averted her gaze noticeably. 

 

"So, you know." 

 

"What are you trying to say?" 

 

After glancing between the script and Junwoo's face, Kim Yoojin cautiously spoke up. 

 

"This. Can I do this? For the upcoming evaluation." 

 

Kim Yoojin waited anxiously for an answer. 

 

The sweat of her hard work, studying, and learning for a long time. No matter how desperate she was, she couldn't just steal it and use it. But she had to do it. The only way she could get into the audition this time was with what she was holding. 

 

Junwoo, who was watching her intently, narrowed his brows slightly. 

 

"Did you chase me all this way to ask me that?" 

 

"Oh, I see...is that a no?" 

 

"Why are you asking me? It's yours, right?" 

 

"Huh?" 

 

His face was so indifferent that he didn't understand what was happening. It was as if he had never even thought of it as his own. 

Kim Yoojin, who had only seen her classmates spend a fortune and fight for a small tip or a line of idea, couldn't understand his reaction. 

 

"Really? Then I can use this as much as I want?" 

 

"Yeah...I guess so." 

 

With a wide smile, Kim Yoojin suddenly looked like an angel dropped from the sky before him. 

 

'Still, it seems like fate didn't abandon me. The effort was worth it.'  

 

While she was thinking this, Junwoo felt relieved. 

 

'...Thank goodness.' 

 

He silently sighed with relief, clearing his heart. 

 

'I thought she'd start yelling at me in that hoarse voice, demanding that I give it back. I was so close to being the center of attention in this hall, and it would have been horrible.' 

  

*** 

 

Kim Yoojin wiped her tears away and focused on the newly changed practice script. She entered the studio a short while later. 

 

"I forgot to ask his name," she thought. 

 

She took a deep breath and suddenly thought of the boy from before. 

 

"Thank you, Scribble...! This is the best I can do, but please stick with me." 

 

Kim Yoojin bent her waist at a ninety-degree angle. 

 

"I'm contestant number 234, Kim Yoojin! Nice to meet you!" 

 

One of the judges glanced briefly at her resume. 

 

"Oh, you're from StarMaker? I'll be looking forward to it." 

 

But there was no hope in his face as he spoke. The judges could already tell that she would be eliminated, even from her brief self-introduction. 

 

"Her voice is completely gone. How is she supposed to act, let alone improvise?" 

 

"Tsk." The judge clicked his tongue in disapproval and slipped the resume into the pile of those who had already been eliminated. 

 

"I'm going to show you a performance that's a little different from the others today! I'll do my best!" 

 

"Yes, good luck. Here are your keywords." 

 

The judge finished speaking and displayed two keywords on the screen. 

 

'I guess she tried his best. She's not bad-looking, but it's a shame.' 

 

Inside the studio, where everyone was eager, Kim Yoojin straightened her waist. Unlike earlier, her face now showed confidence. 

 

*** 

 

After a while, 

 

Yoo Sang-jun, holding something in his hand, hurried towards the meeting room. 

 

Knock, knock. 

 

"Come in." 

 

In the meeting room, Park Jun-gil was sitting alone. 

 

Yoo Sang-jun, nodding slightly, placed something on the table in front of Park Jun-gil. 

 

"StarMaker Acting Academy" 

 

Written on the script cover that had worn out over time. Park Jun-gil glanced at the script as if questioning what it was. 

 

"Who's Kim Yoojin?" 

 

"That's not important. That kid... I'm talking about." 

 

"Han Junwoo?" 

 

Park Jun-gil immediately said the name. He had instructed Yun Sang-jun to keep an eye on Junwoo from the start of the audition. 

 

As soon as Jun-woo's presence was brought up, Park Jun-gil adjusted his posture. 

 

"I think you should take a look at this." 

 

Yoo Sang-jun unfolded the script. 



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