Musical <Gone with the Wind> is coming to the stage. The place where Bada and Seohyun meet is a woman who became the sun, Scarlett O’Hara.
The memory of Scarlett in our heads is mostly from the classic weekend film. The original novel won a Pulitzer Prize and the film that won 10 Academy Awards was watched in many of our childhoods, our butts planted beside our parents late into the night. Vivien Leigh, whose incredible beauty surpassed that of a doll, her fancy dress, a massive mansion found only in storybooks, raucous parties and ‘real man’ Clark Gable. Despite being a historical piece, <Gone with the Wind> is widely adored.
To Seohyun, who is double-cast as Scarlett, <Gone with the Wind> was a “dream-like opportunity, I’ve been earnestly waiting for”. It’s not a role that she could have just with the fame associated with SNSD. “I didn’t think I would be able do it but I really wanted to so I kept telling myself ‘I can do it’, believed in myself and worked very hard. If I don’t believe in myself, who would believe me? To show that ‘I’ve prepared a lot’ at the audition, I analyzed Scarlett in great detail. Even after all that, I’m sure I’m still lacking. So I will continue to work hard.” At the announcement press conference, Seohyun said, “I’ll commit to it with my life.”
And she has been keeping that promise like an oath. Doing both the activities of SNSD and a musical is a cutthroat fight against time that makes you want to go somewhere to buy time. “It’s inevitable that practice is hard because of my work as SNSD. I can’t miss any rehearsals for SNSD performances because if we’re missing even one person, it messes up the choreography. So I came up with an idea. I asked a dancer to practice my exact choreography so during SNSD rehearsals, I asked them to stand in for me. We filmed it and I practiced separately early in the morning. I’m very thankful we found this alternate method.” She says her average sleep time is 3 hours these days but there is fire in her eyes, like Jung Dae-Man from <Slam Dunk>.
If you were at least a bit interested in SNSD, you would already be familiar with Seohyun’s deep love for musicals. To the interview question “What kind of work do you want to do in the future?”, her answer was always musicals. She uploaded many photographic proofs at various musical performances. However, she did not prematurely attempt it. Like a lover you want to protect, to Seohyun, musicals were the one thing she wanted to do well for a long time. She committed herself to her first musical <Moon Embracing the Sun> and to Seohyun, it is a precious piece that dreamed alongside her. “I was truly happy while I was performing. Normally, I love watching musicals but compared to that, it was a hundred times more fun. I did not perform perfectly but I gained so much more passion and greed.”
For an actor, a new role breathes new life. In <Gone with the Wind>, the story follows Scarlet as a 16 year old in 1861 to her as a 28 year old through the American Civil War. It’s a love story but at the same time, it is also a drama about growing up. Even though it’s a different era, similarly-aged Seohyun feels empathy toward the role of Scarlett. “Scarlett loves herself more than anyone else. She doesn’t care about what other people think and she lives a progressive life. In that way, I think we are similar. And the fact that we are greedy. Unnis tell me that I’m very strong-willed (laughs).”
After performing in <Moon Embracing the Sun>, Seohyun has been receiving vocal lessons. While doing her first musical, being a singer was both beneficial and detrimental. “I didn’t start learning because there was a particular area of focus but I’m taking lessons because I want to pursue various paths. I want to make sounds in various directions but until now, I’ve only had a single direction. During performances of <Moon Embracing the Sun>, I tried very hard not to sing it like a pop song. For my next piece, I wanted to start it in a place where I could improve my vocals.”
Bada is a singer but to represent her muse who does musicals, she created a word called ‘Gamuse’. (In Korean, singer is “ga-su” so it’s a combination of “ga-su” and muse.) It also means guardian angel. ‘Gamuse’ Bada already had the same experiences as Seohyun. “When I did 2~3 shows, I took separate vocal lessons. Gamuse can do other pieces well, like gospel, for example. For a while within Korea, there were many pieces from Austria but from now on, there will be many pieces from France and the US. You have to look at variety from a distance. Even in <Gone with the Wind>, the first act has a lot of pop-like songs and in the end of the second act, there are vocally-demanding songs. Gamuse definitely has the ability to satisfy audiences beyond their expectations. In this piece, I’m anticipating and cheering on Seohyun to see her successfully do both well.” Bada’s affection toward Seohyun is exceptional. “I’m in trouble because my arm keeps bending in. I want to rest but when I see Seohyun, I want to do anything for her. I never understood why people talked about being from the same hometown or being alumni. But I guess I had special feelings toward a female idol hoobae, even though I didn’t know her before this.”
These are the two Scarletts we will meet starting in January. Original author Margaret Mitchell once said, “When faced with difficulties, there are always people who want to overcome it. And those people have a resourceful personality. I want to write stories about people with and without resourcefulness.” It’s a story we want to hear and these are people we want to see now. Margaret Mitchell was right. Through Bada and Seohyun, tomorrow’s sun will rise tomorrow.
Translation cr. Stella Lee