About 30 people were allowed to enter the waiting room on a first come, first served basis.
It was Do Wook’s turn and he entered the waiting room. The inside of the waiting room was like a marketplace. Everyone was busily rehearsing what they’d prepared out loud.
“Aaaaaaaak! Let go! Let go! You crazy woman! I didn’t have an affair with your husband!”
The woman in one corner pulling her hair and pretending to rip her ear off as she screamed the lines she’d prepared caught Do Wook’s attention.
It wasn’t a particularly strange sight since everyone was busy focusing on their own thing.
‘That person is… It is, Park Ko Woon!’
It wasn’t a face that was considered to have distinct features or to be particularly pretty like other actors. However, her innocent vibe was impressive and the feature that distinguished her from the others.
That was the reason Do Wook was able to immediately recognize Park Ko Woon who wouldn’t debut until a few years later.
‘I hope that one day I’ll be able to act with Park Ko Woon…’
Do Wook warmed up his voice while thinking that thought and started to seriously focus on rehearsing for the exam.
Korean National University of Arts’s exam was a two-part exam.
For the first part, you memorized a short script that they’d give you on the spot and acted it out. Then you demonstrated a song or free acting you’d prepared. After that, there was a simple question and answer session.
As a test that demonstrated one’s fundamental acting skills and basic talent, the result was decided within 15 minutes.
The true exam was undoubtedly the second exam.
The second exam that those who’d passed the first round took, had a written exam as well as an exam where you were given a scene and you acted out your own reinterpretation of it.
What Do Wook had prepared for the first exam was a song.
“Will it be ok…to sing a song even though the fact that I’m a singer could rather be an obstacle?”
Do Wook had asked when Instructor Lee Kang Yeon had said to prepare a song.
Instructor Lee Kang Yeon had answered,
“I thought about it as I was preparing. It’s not a brag but I’ve taught a lot of students preparing for admission, and they passed.”
Perhaps feeling that it was self-praise, Instructor Lee Kang Yeon laughed, slightly embarrassed. However, Lee Kang Yeon wasn’t bragging about herself, she was explaining how accurate her intuition as a teacher was. Do Wook listened attentively.
“Students like you who immediately get the hang of it in a short amount of time, or have outstanding vocalization are rare. Truly. No matter what kind of script they give you, your skills will show during the short-script acting exam.”
“Is that so?”
This time Do Wook became a little embarrassed. Instructor Lee Kang Yeon praised Do Wook every class.
He hadn’t been learning it for long so he was often awkward when acting, but his understanding of the script and ability to empathize was always unshakably exceptional.
“If you assume that they are all generally good at acting, the next thing they’ll look at is other talents or skills. You’re good at singing, so there’s no need to hide your special talent. Show them that being a singer is actually an advantage.”
Lee Kang Yeon, who was explaining it, added,
“Because arguably, singing is also acting.”
Do Wook nodded his head. Instructor Lee Kang Yeon’s words were persuasive enough, and even if it weren’t persuasive, Do Wook planned on trusting and following her.
Acting was an unknown field that he wasn’t familiar with. Do Wook had no intention at all to haphazardly disagree regarding a field that wasn’t his own.
Five people were lined up in front of the examination room door. The assistant handed out the short scripts that they were to act out.
You were given ten minutes to rehearse it, which could be heard from the outside so the applicants were not able to practice too loudly.
After 10 minutes, the doors opened, and the applications who had been in the examination room exited and those who had been waiting entered the room.
Three KNUA professors were in the examination room. They were clearly exhausted from the all-day-long exams.
“Choi Min Suk…I heard that Choi Min Suk was a professor at this school, but to think that he’d personally proctor the exam.’
Choi Min Suk, who was a renowned actor in Korea, was sitting as one of the examiners. When he made eye contact with Do Wook, his eyes shone and he stroked his beard.
Do Wook was the second out of five people to take the exam.
He was naturally reminded of the day he auditioned for HIT Entertainment.
The person who took the exam before him seemed to have also prepared a song. He was a guy, but he made a deep impression by singing a song from the musical ‘Rebecca’.
“Rebecca―! My Rebecca――! Hurry back here to Mandali― Everything is yours!”
The man had a naive expression as soon as the song was over with no trace left of the deranged expression he had when singing the song.
‘It’s very diverse and interesting…’
That was what Do Wook had continuously thought as he had looked at the wide variety of people preparing for the exam in the waiting room.
Even while preparing to act, as he looked at people acting, Do Wook genuinely felt interested in ‘acting’.
It was because he found it very interesting how acting immediately allows one to transform into a different person and personality.
“Next, Kang Do Wook.”
It was Do Wook’s turn.
Do Wook stood in front of the three professors with his shoulders back. Once he stood up straight, his tall height and amazing body was visible.
“Your background sure is unique~ It’s an application our school typically doesn’t receive~!”
Of course the male professor with white hair and horn-rimmed glasses pointed out that Do Wook was a singer as soon as Do Wook stood up.
It was a passing comment saying that his essence was different. It wasn’t that he was bluntly stating he didn’t like that fact. However, it was hard to know what he was truly thinking.
“Do you have good academic scores? It must have been hard for you to study since you’re busy.”
The female professor in front of him asked. KNUA weighed fairly heavily on school grades in place of taking the CSAT.
“I studied from time to time, and my grades are in the upper middle.”
“Oh, is that so?”
Surprised, the female professor looked through Do Wook’s application again thoroughly then asked again.
“Why do you want to act?”
“I’m not sure.”
At Do Wook’s answer, a brief silence fell in the exam room. When the female professor frowned, Do Wook continued with his answer.
“At first I wanted to run away. To a different world than here. To someone other than me.”
“You wanted to…run away? Are you saying you wanted to reject yourself?”
“It was like that at first. However, I realized it as I started acting. Someone other than myself, similar or completely different. The more I acted as someone else, the more I ended up learning who I am.”
Do Wook made eye contact with the professors one by one.
“So now I want to do it to find myself. Acting, that is.”
It felt like a very well-prepared monologue. However, Do Wook meant it. The professors could also see his sincerity.
The female professor checked Do Wook’s age again.
To their knowledge, KK, who had debuted last year, had one success after another without much hardship. There was a lot of talk among the faculty about the fact that there was an idol member among the applicants. Because of that, they had looked into it.
The professors hadn’t imagined that they would see this much sincerity from Do Wook, an idol member.
The female professor realized again that you cannot know what someone is really like just based on age or external circumstances.
“Please proceed with the script acting.”
A heavy low-tone voice instructed Do Wook. It was Choi Min Suk.
Choi Min Suk’s big bright eyes were looking at Do Wook as if he were dismantling him. After gulping once, Do Wook began to act out the script received without making a single mistake.
KNUA had its own acting style. They hated excessive emotions the most. They wanted to act as real as possible no matter what the situation.
Do Wook distorted his expression.
“·······Why do I have to endure such pain when the end is the same anyway? Nobody can avoid a search, nor can they not confess. Once branded a criminal, he dies on a set date. So why must fear be firmly embedded in a future we can’t change anything on?!”
After the brief act was over, the professors silently wrote down their scores for the act.
“Do you know where the script you just acted out is from?”
“Yes. It’s a piece from ’1942’,”
Do Wook nodded his head to the female professor’s question and responded. The professor adjusted her horn-rimmed glasses.
Choi Min Suk, who had finished recording his score, instructed him to proceed with the next thing he had prepared.
The song Do Wook had prepared was Kim Woo Yeon’s ‘If It Were a Dream’.
Do Wook performed ‘If It Were a Dream’ more heart-wrenchingly than ever. Do Wook’s singing rang throughout the examination room.
After taking the exam, he didn’t know the results yet, but Do Wook prepared for the second round of exams in anticipation of passing.
During that time, they were scheduled to record their first full-length Japanese album.
The KK members were gathered in the recording studio and worked on the recording. They were each entering the booth and recording, starting with Ahn Hyung Seo who had a lot of parts.
“Ah…this pronunciation is hard.”
“I think reading it as a ‘g’ instead of a ‘k’ is closer to the original.”
Suk Ji Hoon helped Jung Yoon Ki, who was weak in Japanese. Suk Ji Hoon was also a novice in Japanese, but he started studying it not too long ago. After studying it for just a few months, he was showing more confidence than he did last time during the recording.
“Your brain probably works fast because you’re young.”
Jung Yoon Ki lamented although there wasn’t a big difference in their age.
Suk Ji Hoon looked at Do Wook, who was also going over the lyrics and preparing for the recording, and gave a sigh that was adult-like instead of a mangnae*.
(TL note: Mangae is the youngest in the group/family/etc.)
“Do Wook, didn’t you say you’re preparing for your second round of exams?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“If I were you I think my brain would have already stopped working from being overloaded.”
Do Wook laughed faintly.
“What play did you prepare?”
Even at the dorm, Do Wook would always isolate himself in his room and prepare for the exam. He looked so busy that it was hard to strike up a conversation.
This waiting period they had while preparing for the recording was the most free time Do Wook had.
It was something he had wanted to ask for a while so Suk Ji Hoon took this opportunity to ask.
“Ah…Death of a Salesman. It was kind of dramatized.”
“Oh Oh! Death of a Salesman!”
“What is that? Suk Ji Hoon~ Have you read this?”
“I, I haven’t read it. I’ve only heard of it.
“Then what do you mean ‘Oh oh!”
Jung Yoon Ki teased Suk Ji Hoon as he cackled. Suk Ji Hoon closed his mouth tight.
At that time, the recording director said he was going to the bathroom and to take a break. When Ahn Hyung Seo came out of the booth and Jung Yoon Ki left to talk with Ahn Hyung Seo, Suk Ji Hoon started to talk again.
“I don’t know if it’s ok to trust him as a leader and follow him.”
Suk Ji Hoon took a jab at Jung Yoon Ki in an harmless way.
“What did you do for the assessment? I’d like to see your acting for the play, can you show us?”
“You have to be able to do it here so that you won’t be nervous during the exam. You said it’s an exam in front of a hundred people.”
Suk Ji Hoon had a point.
Do Wook looked at the members, who were scattered throughout the area and resting, then started to recite the lines he prepared.
“I’ve moved from one job to another but…the results were the same. Damn it! I’m 34 years old already, it’s time for me to settle down!······ But it’s all messed up. Maybe I should have gotten married. But you can’t do that without a decent job. It was a mistake to not do that. I’m just like a kid. I’m not married, I don’t have a job. In the end, I’m a kid after all. So are you satisfied? Did you succeed? Are you satisfied?”
Do Wook’s voice brought all the members’ gazes onto him.
Do Wook recalled his life as Kim Bo Myung who had an unfortunate life.
At that moment, the person Suk Ji Hoon saw wasn’t the KK member Kang Do Wook, but a pitiful adult man who wasn’t married and had no job.
Do Wook, who was on the airplane to Tokyo for the full-length Japanese album release, received news of his acceptance.
The news of Do Wook’s KNUA acceptance was quickly known to the world.
‘He applied to Ju Won College’s practical music program but failed. Afterwards…Kang Do Wook went on to apply with a big dream.’
By the time Do Wook had arrived in Tokyo, a stream of related articles had already been released. Below the articles there were many comments filled with question marks.