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“The kid I’m looking for, you can’t see him easily and he’s able to see the wide world. He loves small grass leaves”
When I was on my way back home from watching Kyuhyun’s debut stage as the clumsy country bumpkin D’Artagnan in The Three Musketeers, I thought of Camomile’s song The kid I’m Looking for. Kyuhyun, the thirteenth member of Super Junior is currently working as a musical actor. The innocent young man Kyuhyun is living happily as D’Artagnan and has fallen in love with charms of musical curtain calls. Kyuhyun who says he’s “now somewhat used to the highly technical ad libs from the sunbaes” started the interview with his feeling about his musical debut claiming, “for the first four performances, I was getting angry with myself.”
With as the start, you began your musical career.
I did my first performance on December 21st. Including the afternoon performances, I did four performances for three days in a row. At that time, I got angry with myself. I regretted it thinking, “why did I do it like that?” In the beginning, I didn’t fully understand and I was swamped. Fortunately, because there were people who encouraged me, I’m able to stand here today. Now, I have my own character and I don’t know about compliments, but I don’t get angry with myself anymore. (laughs)
You need to do ad libs during the musical. I’m sure there are many occasions when unexpected things happen.
There’s a scene where D’Artagnan goes down to the audience to complete the missions in order to become a musketeer. At first, I simply did ad libs. One time, I got a mission saying that I have to kiss an audience member. I was thinking about what to do and in the end, I couldn’t do it and just returned to the stage. Now, I have my own method. I can do anything and everything now. (laughs) One time, during the scene where Jussac and D’Artagna have a duel, the audio went out. At that moment, I was thinking, “is this a rehearsal?” So, I was going to ask, “hyung, what are we going to do?” But before doing that, I thought, “ah, I shouldn’t do that!” So, I just started. The sunbaes told me that I did good. (laughs) I think that I can react to situations more quickly now.
There are a lot of reviews saying, “Kyuhyun was D’Artagnan.”
Didn’t fans write that? I often read performance reviews and there are three types of reviews. Half of them are my fans complimenting me and half of them are people who love musicals. There are also people who comment that it was either unexpectedly good or that there are big differences between me and the other actors. On the days when I think I did badly or I’m really tired doing The Three Musketeers, I read reviews from the fans. They really give me strength because it makes me think, “even with this performance, they are cheering me on.” Some audiences said that they didn’t expect many things because an idol singer was going to appear. But after seeing the musical, they said it was unexpectedly good. Others pointed out that I have bad vibrations and that my vocalization is not suited for musicals.
I’ve heard that even veteran actors don’t read reviews they are demoralizing.
Of course I get hurt sometimes. But I know they are a big help to me. There are a lot of people who leave malicious comments about me. Those who leave malicious comments and attack some other aspects about me regardless of whether I sing, act or appear on variety shows. But the audiences who write musical reviews give me advice after watching my musical performances. They are not people who just hate me. They talk about things that they didn’t like after seeing my performance. I like them because I can learn about things I need to fix.
Did you ever see other D’Artagnan’s (Uhm Kijoon, Kim Mooyeol and Jay) performance?
I really wanted to see them all, but I was only able to see Mooyeol hyung’s D’Artagnan because of my schedule. I saw it before starting my first performance. I learned a lot from it thinking, “hyung interpreted it like that.” It’s amazing because each scene is different the way the actors interpret it differently. When I saw the performance, it was more like watching Kim Mooyeol’s The Three Musketeers and following his movement rather than watching the musical The Three Musketeer. (laughs)
I’m sure there were big burdens on you.
It was difficult at first for a lot of reasons. It wasn’t like I got the role through an audition. Also, I got a big role in my first work that I felt sorry and burdensome. So, I worked hard and the sunbaes saw that and helped me a lot. Mooyeol hyung even came to the practice room when he didn’t need to and he taught me everything after watching me practice.
There are a lot of veteran actors including Kim Bubrae and Seo bumsuk.
Bumsuk hyung told me to just talk loudly. I normally talk softly and he told that I can’t do that in musicals. He told me to talk loudly even if the line says I have to speak softly. (laughs) I was really confused and Kim Bubrae sunbaenim told me to stand still. He said if the actor’s nervous, the audience will become more nervous. He told me not to look so nervous even if I am. When I was practicing, after each scene, the sunbaenims came and coached me on how to do the scenes.
Ah, sounds like it must have caused a lot of stress. (laughs)
Not at all. When I heard that I was cast in The Three Musketeers, I was thinking if I should learn acting separately. Suju member Yesung hyung said, “being taught in the practice room by the hyungs who do musicals are the most accurate.” I was worried thinking, “what if they don’t want to teach me?” But the sunbaes taught me closely that it was really good.
Singing was more easy, right?
I received a lot of criticism for my singing as well. (laughs) I still had my habit that I had singing on gayo stage. When I sing, I have to act too. But I received some comments that I only sing. That was difficult. If I want to continue working as a musical actor, that problem is something I have to solve.
Doing the musical, when were you most proud of yourself?
Super Junior is a group that has more than 10 members. (laughs) Since I’m the maknae, I didn’t receive a lot of spotlight. With the musical, I receive a lot of spotlight. So, in that aspect I like it. (laughs) I can’t forget the feelilng of inspiration I received in my first performance. Curtain calls are touching with every performance. In that moment when I’m saying hello, it feels like I’m Kyuhyun and not D’Artagnan. There’s also a feeling of “I did it” that I get overwhelmed. When I stand on stage as D’Artagnan, it’s really fun. I think it’s more more fun doing musical than singing on stage as a singer. (laughs) I think it was really a good decision to do the musical.
I’ve heard that Composer Yoo Youngsuk said, “you are a genius. Where did you come from?” It was a late discovery of Kyuhyun.
Sigh. I’m not a genius or anything like that. Yoo Youngsuk sunbaenim helped making Super Junior’s third album. During that time, he paid close attention to me. Before the third album, you couldn’t see me because the members who primarily danced stood in the front while the members who sang stood in the back. After the third album, Sorry Sorry, I sang in the front and there were many opportunities to show myself on the variety programs.
Vocal trainer Park Sunjoo said, “I saw Kyuhyun’s potentials first” which received a lot of interest.
I was always interested in singing as I was the band vocal in my middle school. Before becoming a singer, I tried out for a singing competition called Buddy Buddy Gayo Contest to win the reward money. (laughs) I met teacher Park Sunjoo through that contest. The sunbaenim wanted to work with me. So, I just said yes and waited for her. Afterward, SM contacted me, but I told them that I have already decided to work with teacher Park Sunjoo and kept waiting for her to contact me. But that was when she was singing A man and a Woman with Kim Bumsoo sunbaenim. I couldn’t get in touch with her. Finally, I contacted SM and asked if they are still willing to accept me. That’s how I joined Super Junior. (laughs)
What kind of a singer or a musical actor do you want to be?
I don’t think now is the time for me to discuss what kind of a singer or a musical actor I want to be. (Yesung told me he really wants to do Jekyell and Hyde.) I think it’s too rash to think about that now. Haha. I have to focus on my singing career and if I’m given the chance to do another muscial, I’m going to do it with full of passion. Now, I’m only thinking about The Three Musketeers because I think I can do other work later. If I did a good job, wouldn’t other producers hire me? If there’s no talk about that when I’m done with The Three Musketeers. Hmm~(laughs) I want to finish The Three Musketeers well!
Translated by Minnie @ SUJUISM.BLOGSPOT.COM
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