I Will Live as an Actor Episode 66

Episode 66

Thump, thump.

I stepped onto a theater stage for the first time since my past life. It would be a lie to say I wasn’t nervous, especially since this wasn’t just any stage—it was the stage of the theater troupe, Comet, where I once belonged in my previous life. Like a crossroad of coincidence and fate, I found myself on the stage once again. Moreover, Morning in the Western Sky was my theatrical debut in that past life.

Is this some kind of joke by fate?

I couldn’t believe it. When I heard from the staff that they were looking for someone to fill the supporting role of Do Jeongsu, it all felt like some divine prank. Whether a joke by the gods or just a product of chance, it didn’t matter.

Let’s have some fun this time.

As the opening began, the stage lights shone down amid a full house. A man (Jang Yeongguk) with his face heavily smeared with soot and limping on one leg appeared on stage. He hobbled with a wooden crutch tucked under his armpit, and eventually, throwing away the crutch, he said,

“Truly, isn’t this a damn hard world?”

Act 1, Scene 1.

The theater stage was busy with merchants and people bustling about, and there sat the man. Although a shoeshiner, not a single person paid him any mind. It was just after the Korean War, a time when wearing shoes was a luxury and therefore most went barefoot. The boy muttered to himself as if complaining, yet his natural projection reached the audience.

“You see, I was conscripted as a student soldier to fight off the North Korean forces pushing south of the Nakdong River. Back then, ignorant as I was, I took up a rifle with nothing but a single-minded determination to save my country. All the hyungs who went with me died, and I, the youngest, was the only one to survive, ending up crippled like this.  Hey, passerby! How about a shoeshine before you go?”


“Look here, can a shoeshiner make a living in today’s world? It’d be better to be a dung collector at this point. Even if I wanted to, there are too many beggars around to even consider it. Now, where was I? Ah, I should start from when I was in the trenches.”

Before long, people began to gather in front of the shoeshiner boy, who was talking to himself. His voice and expressions captured the audience’s attention like a storyteller who had once roamed the streets of Hanyang. He picked up the crutch lying on the ground and assumed a position as if he were mounting a rifle.

“Would a kid like me have ever handled a rifle? Outside the trench, bullets were flying, grenades were exploding, and above my head, I couldn’t tell if it was blood or flesh, but it was raining down like raindrops. All I could do was shake. Then one day, a hyung next to me got shot and dropped dead. I felt the blood rush to my head. ‘It’s now or never,’ I thought, so I stuck my head out of the trench and fired like mad. But luckily, I shot a North Korean company commander right in the head. Suddenly, the big shots from the army I’d never seen before praised me, gave me rice and meat soup, and even promoted me. I should’ve run away then. If I had, my legs wouldn’t be crippled like this. Want to hear what happened next?”


Actor Seo Jongin sat in the central row of the audience, watching the stage with his eyes fixed on Jang Yeongguk the entire time. The other audience members seemed to be similarly ensnared by his voice, as if they had fallen into a swamp. Surely…

He said he had never done theater before.

It was unbelievable.

Acting on stage was different from film acting.

Unlike movies that confronted the audience from beyond the screen, theater engaged with the audience on a proscenium stage that was close to them. Hence, habits acquired from film acting were practically useless. From projection and vocal tone to the maximization of expressive acting, everything had to change. It was no wonder many film actors faced bitter experiences when they challenged themselves in theater. Yet…

Can this even be possible?

On the stage, Jang Yeongguk’s portrayal of Do Jeongsu seemed to have become one with the student soldier character.

* * *


If one were to name the most famous playwright in South Korea, it would undoubtedly be Jeong Yongdae. He was synonymous with the modern history of Korean theatre, having written many plays, one of the most famous being Mupeung (A Still and Quiet Place), which won the Dae Han Literature Award in 1985.

This play captivated not only the theatrical community in Britain, considered the holy land of theatre, but also American theatregoers, leading to a Western-style remake. Some Brits even praised him as the “second Shakespeare” for an Asian playwright.

However. Even he had his troubles—


It was an inescapable fate for any writer. Even the best writings could become obscured overnight, as if fog had suddenly rolled in front of one’s eyes. Thus, Jeong Yongdae had been suffering from a severe slump for nearly three years, to the point where he couldn’t even write the first sentence of a play.

Morning in the Western Sky…”

The slump-ridden playwright visited none other than Daehakro. This place, synonymous with youth and romance, was the most active theater scene in South Korea. People there burned with passion for theatre, enduring hunger and satiating themselves with just a bowl of ramen. Jeong Yongdae decided to watch a play at Daehakro to rediscover his initial inspiration.

As the curtain of the theater stage rose…

Over time, what captivated Jeong Yongdae wasn’t the lead actor. True to a play depicting the horrors of the Korean War, everything from the intermission structure to scene transitions and stage details was impeccable. Yet, what drew the most attention was the supporting actor.

As time passed, what captivated Jung Yongdae wasn’t the lead actor. True to a play depicting the horrors of the Korean War, there wasn’t a single flaw in the intermission composition, scene transitions, or stage details. However, what drew the most attention was the supporting actor.

Do Jeongsu.

A question formed in Jeong Yongdae’s mind. With such acting skills, the person could easily have been the lead. Unlike film actors who followed a framed path on screen, stage actors must expose all their emotions on stage.

In that sense, the blocking of the young actor playing Do Jeongsu practically dominated the entire stage.

After the play ended, the face of the actor who played Do Jeongsu remained etched in playwright Jeong Yongdae’s mind. He was certainly not ordinary-looking as no amount of soot could hide his tall stature and distinctive features. He wished he could go straight to the dressing room after the play ended to find out who he was and express his deep feelings, but—

It wouldn’t be polite to the juniors.

He didn’t want to disturb their time of unwinding after the performance. Yet, the most important thing was that thanks to the actor who played Do Jeongsu, the inspiration for his writing, which had been stuck like a clogged drain, began to sparkle in his mind.

Returning to his studio, he relentlessly pounded away at his typewriter, even as dusk thickened outside the window and dawn approached once more. Although a day was passing, his typewriter showed no signs of stopping. How much time had elapsed?

“Phew, maybe I should have asked for his name at least.”

Jeong Yongdae stretched his sore shoulders as if unfurling his wings and rose from his seat. The sofa, which he had been sitting on, seemed to exhale a long-held breath, puffing back into shape. Jeong Yongdae fetched a can of beer from the studio’s refrigerator, popped it open, and took a gulp. Then, for the first time in a long while, he turned on the TV. Hadn’t he avoided even the TV while he was stuck in his writing for the past three years? That’s when it happened.


Beer sprayed from Jeong Yongdae’s mouth. The actor he encountered the previous evening on a Daehakro theater stage appeared on the TV screen. Wasn’t he the theater actor who had shown an indescribable aura, now winking at him from within the cathode-ray tube?

– “Handsome men like apples.”

* * *


The film shoot was nearing its final stages. Hadn’t the past three months been a relentless rush? Now, wearing the priest’s robe was as natural as wearing my school uniform. On my days off from filming, I occasionally visited the Comet Theater Troupe in Daehakro.

It was quite the scene.

Even though I only stepped in as a supporting actor once, the news spread somehow, and I ended up getting an article and a scolding from the CEO. Nowadays, since I’ve been told not to go around alone without a manager, Lee Bongchun-hyung followed me around like a nanny.

“Yeongguk, you’re attending the SBC Acting Awards next week, right?”

“Is it already that time?”

“Of course. The agency’s been getting calls several times a day. They’re worried you might be too busy with the film shoot to attend the ceremony. Even though the CEO hinted that we might not be able to make it because we’re in the final stages of shooting, PD Kim Jin insists that Yeongguk must be there. What would we do if the lead actor were to miss it?”

It made sense, in a way.

Youth was a long-awaited project that SBC’s Drama Department finally realized after several years. Moreover, although it was a teen drama, albeit briefly, it managed to achieve a remarkable record of over 40% viewership. But then again.

Have I ever received awards like this in a past life?

In my past life, I mostly played minor and supporting roles in dramas. Even those roles didn’t bring any significant awards until I rose to prominence. During my rookie years, the term “award luck” seemed very distant from my life.

“But why isn’t Actor Seo here today?”

Lee Bongchun looked at the closed door of the dressing room with curiosity. Ever since we visited the Comet Theater Troupe in Daehakro together, we became quite close with Actor Seo Jongin, and he almost always accompanied me on filming days. However, he won’t be coming today.

“Today’s scenes are emotionally important.”

As I picked up the script again, Lee Bongchun tactfully slipped out of the dressing room without making a sound. Yes, today’s shooting was important. The fact that the usually talkative and easygoing Actor Seo Jongin didn’t even show his face in the dressing room was enough to tell. Naturally, it was a scene that was hard to get emotionally prepared for. For example—

“It’s like being betrayed by the axe you trusted.”

I gave a small smile to my reflection in the dressing room mirror.


“Scene number 101, The Truth Unveiled―!”

Detective Seo Dogwang (played by Actor Seo Jongin) rushed out of the autopsy room. His face was shadowed by an anxiety and urgency never seen before. And for good reason, the fifth victim had been discovered.

The mutilated heart and the cross scar etched onto the chest indicated the same perpetrator. But the truly terrifying part didn’t end there.

“Damn it!”

Seo Dogwang, gripping the steering wheel, cursed loudly. It was because of the clue the medical examiner gave him. The killer, who had never left as much as a fingerprint, hair, or drop of blood, had inserted something into the victim’s chest after carving the cross.

– “It’s a cross figurine, doesn’t seem like it’s sold in stores, seems like someone made it. The weapon that matched the scars from the previous incidents was also a wood carving knife, sharpened precisely.”

When the medical examiner showed him the cross figurine found in the victim’s body, Seo Dogwang’s eyes widened as if they might split open. On the dashboard in front of him, he could see a cross wooden figurine.

– “Would you like one for yourself, brother?”

Just a few days ago, a young priest, who had said he was the assistant to the parish, had given it to him when he visited the diocese. It was the same kind of cross figurine that was found on the victim’s body. Whether the young priest was the killer or not, he didn’t yet know. It could be a cunning ploy by the murderer to frame him. However.

Detective Seo Dogwang’s intuition was screaming that the young priest was the suspect, so he immediately called the diocese to check on the young priest’s whereabouts. He learned that the priest was attending a fundraising event at the orphanage. Without hesitation, he turned the car around and headed to the orphanage where the fundraiser was taking place.

“Father Matthew, where are you?”

Seo Dogwang, with a fierce look, accosted an orphanage teacher. Startled by Seo Dogwang’s sudden and menacing inquiry, the teacher hesitated. But as Seo Dogwang showed his police identification from inside his leather jacket, the teacher began to stammer out a response.

“He’s, he’s currently in a conversation with Assemblyman Kim Mincheol.”

“What! Where is that!”

“On the third floor, in the director’s office.”

Seo Dogwang bit his lip hard as he ran up the stairs. The camera director followed behind him, using a hand-held camera. From under the door of the director’s office on the third floor, blood had already seeped out thickly. Seo Dogwang kicked the door open to find the orphanage director trembling under the desk, hiding in fear. And then Seo Dogwang was met with the sight.


The sight of the elderly assemblyman lying brutally lifeless. Sure enough, his heart was punctured by a sharp carpenter’s knife. Between the torn shirt buttons, a cross pattern was drawn on the chest, just like the other victims. And then.


A young priest in black robes stood there, covered in bloodstains like red droplets scattered on a black canvas, his white Roman collar also stained crimson. But what shocked Detective Seo Dogwang was not this. The chilling gaze beneath the neatly combed hair indicated he was the murderer, but the voice that followed carried the solemnity of a clergyman.

“Brother, have you arrived?”

The young priest’s mouth twisted into an unending, madman-like grin.

I Will Live as an Actor

I Will Live as an Actor

Score 9.7
Status: Ongoing Type: Author: ,
I Will Live as an Actor is a heartwarming story of a young man who grows up poor as the son of a widowed fishmonger. Fueled by a passion for acting, he neglects his mother and her sacrifices, only to regret it when she passes away. In a twist of fate, he is reincarnated back to his youth, just before he went down the wrong path. Determined to live a better life and honor his mother’s memory, he embarks on a journey to become a successful actor while also being a filial son.
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