Realistically speaking, success is never guaranteed for free. Everyone has to work extensively and overcome many difficulties to finally get to say, “I did it.” For some in particular, opportunities for success may be hard to grasp because of the competitive field they are placed in just like the characters in the musical, Audition.
Audition is an “actor-musician musical”, where the actors not only sing, dance, and act on stage, but also play instruments live. The musical introduces the story of a band and their perseverance in chasing their dreams despite financial difficulties. This musical is currently celebrating their 10th anniversary, and is complimented as a performance that has moved the audience by perfectly depicting the lifestyle and dreams that young musicians have.
When the first scene begins, the stage lights shine on the characters singing a song together. These characters are members of a band called “Box Pop”, with singer-song writer and guitarist Byeong-tae, lead guitarist Chan-hee, bassist and leader Joon-cheol, drummer Da-bok, and the band manager Chorong. The band, however, is not in a good shape. The members of the band have just enough money to pay their house bills and are supporting themselves with the money Byeong-tae earns from working as a waiter at a local bar. When the song ends, the band talks about an audition that is to be held in two weeks; their key to success that they have always dreamt of. However, they have a problem; the absence of a lead singer. As the band sings of their longingness to succeed, the scene closes with Joon-cheol reassuring the members that everything will turn out just fine.
In the next scene, as Byeong-tae arranges the tables at work, he notices that the bar has hired a new performer. The new performer turns out to have amazing vocals and can also play the piano. Byeong-tae feels that she perfectly qualifies as their main vocalist, and immediately calls Joon-cheol and the rest of the band to see her perform. The members, except for Chan-hee, show up during her last song of the night, and they all express how she is the perfect replacement. As soon as she gets off stage, Joon-cheol and the rest of the band approach her and awkwardly introduce themselves. However, when they ask if she could be the band’s main vocalist, she politely declines. Cho-rong then decides to come watch her with the band every day in hope that she might change her mind.
The band visits the bar for four consecutive days. On the fourth day, Chorong skips by the front of the audience to get a Coke re-fill, when all of a sudden she stops in front of an audience member, screaming and crying. When the band members ask what happened, Cho-rong “breaks the fourth wall” and claims that an audience member has slapped her bottom. The other band members rise in fury and demands the audience member to apologize to her. However, the manager of the bar rather gets angry due to the disturbance and this ignorant attitude of the manager flares the singer up in anger. She stomps out of the bar with the band members.
In the third scene, Chan-hee is sitting down on a sofa with his guitar on his chest. The band members and the singer from the bar walk in together and claim that they should have a barbeque party to celebrate the new member. As they eat, the audience and the band members get to know that the new vocalist’s name is Sun-ah.
In this scene, Sun-ah expresses how happy she feels to be around people that care for each other like a family. The other members thank her for joining the band and they take time to get to know each other. The musical then fast forwards to audition day and all the band members come up on stage, ready to perform except for Sun-ah, who ran off to the bathroom to calm her nerves. When she returns, she still shows hesitation, but as the band members encourage her to sing, she starts to ease herself throughout the performance. Everything seemed to be going well until Chan-hee does his solo on stage and suddenly faints. The stage fills with panic and as the stage darkens, the audience is left wondering of Chanhee having health issues.
After this drama on stage, the band members are hanging out in a jjim-jilbang (Korean Dry Sauna). This scene proceeds with the members of the band expressing how grateful they feel towards one another. They all agree on how nothing would have been possible without each of their presence and efforts.
Later, the two girls of the band, Sunah and Cho-rong excuse themselves from the group, which gives them a chance to talk to each other. Sun-ah asks Cho-rong if there has never been a main vocal for the band, and Cho-rong tells Sun-ah that Byeong-tae used to be the main vocal, but had to stop because he got nervous and messed up their first audition. Due to this traumatic incident, Cho-rong shares that he hasn’t sung in front of a large crowd since, even though he has great talent in music.
While sharing such stories, Cho-rong learns of an audition that guarantees the band local and international coverage and prize money of one hundred million won. Informed of this opportunity, the band gets deeply motivated and they immediately set off to their basement to practice.
The band “Box Pop” has constantly chased after their dreams. However, time after time, the band came to face bigger obstacles. The main theme of this musical possibly depicts what chasing our dreams is like for us all - how we constantly try our best to reach our goals, but new obstacles get in our way that prevent us from going further. And there are those who actually fall and give up, although there are those who continue to pursue on further.
For this band as well, they too have faced many difficulties. With the rent bills they have had to pay for their practice room, the spot for the main vocalist often left vacant, and the auditions that don’t work out as planned, we can notice the hopelessness the band has been carrying on. But it is shown that with a good leader and cooperative members that care for each other, a band can get over all kinds of struggles eventually, no matter how big or small.
Even with the financial struggles, the band members keep up their positive attitude and support each other, never giving up on their dreams. As is the reason to why this musical was so praised, the winding life road of this band gives us the message of holding onto one’s inner hope throughout hardships and eventually accomplishing one’s goals through volition and unification.