Till the Last Moment on the StageA backstage look at the lives of performers
Hong Hae-jin Reporter  |
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승인 2004.09.01  00:00:00
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THE VERY last words of the play spread into the still silence. After a short moment, the audience  stand up and start to clap their hands. All the spotlights are projected upon the actors whose faces are covered in the shimmering sweat which makes them look more adorable. People watching them are immersed in the enormous spectacle and do not hesitate to pour out applause for the actors' efforts and ability. This all occurs after the curtain call when all performers come up to the stage again to say "Thank you."

   It is amazing to know that those terrific performers are human beings, just like us. The fact that we are all born and live under the same physical condition, breathe in and out in the same way and eat the same kind of food is unbelievable! This astonishment engenders the feelings of envy and lures people to dream of the gorgeous looking stage-life. Our everyday lives seem too tedious compared to the actors' vivid activity. We simply yearn for the spotlight and feel jealous of the performers, thinking it unfair that some always receive thunderous plaudits while others never do.

   People are, however, misunders-tanding the actors' efforts to get recognition. Their past days are full of unnoticed hardships. From the moment he makes the decision to become an actor to his last performance on stage, every actor is bound to make difficult choices. The decision to become an actor does not immediately guarantee a role on stage, and aspiring actors realize this at the beginning of their careers. Ability, efforts, and long training courses are the main factors that affect the possibility of whether their dreams can come true or not. An individual may already have acquired all the above factors, but it is sometimes hopeless without a certain amount of luck, because if you do not make it through the auditions, then there is no choice available.

   Each performance is prepared with the best efforts. Unfortunately, not all of them succeed in making enough money to compensate for their past endeavor. When a performance fails to gather a big enough audience, it immediately faces financial difficulties due to the need for proper publicity works, and this causes a smaller audience again, making a vicious cycle. Though more and more performances are being showed, the demand for it is still low. Thus, the actors' working circumstances get worse and some companies give up the next performance because of this. Some say that being an actor entails serious risks of failing in real life. For this reason when someone decides to live a life on stage, many people around him feel sorry for the uncertain future. This prejudice discourages aspiring actors. However, the desire to show the best performance is the driving factor that pushes actors to practice harder despite all difficulties.

   Pretend you are cast as a character of a performance. Yes, sumptuous spotlights are surely waiting for you, but not before you finish the long and exhausting training, which usually last for one or two months. Individual roles should be perfectly rehearsed before, because the months of continuing practice is for the whole staff together and not just for one person. This could be hard for the actors who do not play big parts, for even when your part is not longer than ten words, it is your duty to stay at the rehearsal from the beginning to the end. Every staff member keeps their seat, with a patience that comes from the love and passion for their work. As the rehearsals near completion, the staff practice with anxious hearts, expecting great results including the audience's satisfaction.

   The very first opening performance may be the most nervous moment. Actors feel uneasy right before the first performance because of the sudden excitement and concern. During meal with colleagues, those feelings are not lightened and the fear remains until all make-up and costumes are prepared perfectly. Some actors even suffer from aches because of the anxiety. Before going out on the stage, everything is so crazy and confused. Performers run around with their music notes and repeat their own lines over and over again. The producer and other staff members are also in the middle of chaos, preparing even the smallest items perfectly, because mistakes are not allowed on stage. Only when they finally enter the stage and have eye-contact with the crowd, does the tension decrease and the spotlights feel quite comfortable. Actors do their best when they feel that the audience is following every single movement of their acting and listening even to the tiniest syllables of their speech. The performers wish to achieve success and touch the hearts of the members of the audience through the performance. 

   In spite of all the hardships during the preparation, performers feel a sense of achievement when they see the audience's satisfaction. They sometimes forget immediately what was to be done after the performance. By shouting and jumping in happiness, the hard days of the past are completely forgotten. This is why actors, despite such difficulties, still hope to stand on the stage and perform in front of the audience. Hopefully they will live their lives on the stage until the end and realize what they have always dreamed of: beautiful applause only for themselves.


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For a succussful stage, engineering experts' help is also needed. They are doing their best for sound and lighting which are essential for a play.

To make sure microphones are in the right position, they are all checked before every performance.

Seats are empty, but the stage is still attractive to stand on for the actors. This is the real stage on which they live.

In the training term, many presentations are held by directors of variousfields. It is to exchange ideas and to come up with the most idealistic performance.

They feel tired during the long training, but their friends are those who cheer them up to start again.

Make-up is in place of the masks to hide their real faces. When it is finished, actors are the characters in the play, and not themselves.

Even actor's every possession is heading for the audience, just like their heart is.

At least a month is spent for rehearsal. Every staff member is enduring hard times for a successful performance.