Renly slowly rose to his feet, each movement seemingly consuming all the energy within him. Struggling against a mountain-like weight, he straightened his body, as if withstanding an unimaginable burden. Before he could steady himself, he strode forward with immense steps. The tremendous force that poured out formed a wave of power, suppressing the room in a torrential atmosphere. The audience held their breath in the face of this thunderous might.
"I do beseech you, if you bear me hard, now, whilst your purpled hands do reek and smoke,
Fulfill your pleasure." Renly extended his hands, as if clasping the hands of his adversaries in thin air. The taut muscles of his arms evoked the sensation of a drawn bowstring, and an unbelievable radiance surged from the depths of his eyes and brows. "Live a thousand years, I shall not find myself so apt to die. No place will please me so, no mean of death as here by Caesar, and by you cut off, the choice and master spirits of this age. "
Earnest and sincere, valiant and heroic, upright and resolute.
These succinct words collided in his chest and mind, sparking waves of fire like tumultuous seas, wave upon wave, impacting the softest recesses of his heart, leaving him deeply moved.
Suddenly, Renly withdrew his hands, a desolate expression falling like moonlight on orchids and jade. Scattered and sparse, his words landed, "Gentlemen all—alas, what shall I say?" He began to stride towards the opposite side, his heavy footsteps dragging on the ground as if shackled by a thousand-pound chain. "My credit now stands on such slippery ground. That one of two bad ways you must conceit me, either a coward or a flatterer.—"
Lifting his head, he gazed at the vast and profound blackness above, the sharp curve of his jaw revealing a tangle of contradictions. "That I did love thee, Caesar, O, 'tis true! If then thy spirit look upon us now, shall it not grieve thee dearer than thy death, to see thy Antony making his peace, shaking the bloody fingers of thy foes—most noble!—in the presence of thy corpse?"
The resolve of heartbreaking sorrow burst forth with strength in his resounding tone, allowing each listener to deeply feel his earnestness. "Had I as many eyes as thou hast wounds, weeping as fast as they stream forth thy blood, it would become me better than to close in terms of friendship with thine enemies."
In those profound and vast eyes, melancholy sorrow and fervent plea shimmered, and the tilted projection on the ground seemed as if a giant had collapsed. Moments of vulnerability, moments of tenderness, moments of shame, all these combined to give his figure a newfound fullness.
Then Renly retracted his gestures, pausing in place for about two seconds. All the emotions gradually converged, as if one could visually witness the formidable aura dissipate like lingering smoke. The impact on the soul began to affect sight, hearing, and even smell. The entire theater fell into a hushed silence, not a single sound, so much so that when Renly returned to the center of the stage, his footsteps were the only audible sound, as though each step weighed heavily on the hearts of the audience.
Renly came to a halt, turned around to face the audience, and calmly accepted the scrutiny and judgment from below the stage.
Yet, the audience below couldn't respond promptly. It was as if they had just experienced a storm, and they were mere canoes tossed within the surging waves. They couldn't resist, they could only follow the tumultuous waves. The storm had subsided, yet they remained stunned in place, their battered spirits needing time for recovery and settling.
Equally being actors, Tom undoubtedly felt the deepest resonance. In Renly, he saw the innate talent for performance, an energy that burst forth effortlessly with every gesture and movement. Even a glance, a smile, a motion was imbued with flavor. The stunning impact was so powerful that it easily drew the audience into the world he constructed.
This level of skill was awe-inspiring!
Although Renly was performing Shakespeare, perhaps the most adept area for British actors; although this performance was likely polished countless times to exhibit the most perfect moments; although the prior departure from the track into the impromptu show was full of theatrical style and might not align with television drama...
But, nevertheless! The richness and distinctive essence of Shakespeare's words, the vivid characters and profound meaning of his plays, all erupted vividly within this short performance. It could undoubtedly be deemed a breathtaking display of skill. Just for this reason, Renly was worthy of a standing ovation and applause.
Especially after the deviation from the track into the impromptu show moments ago, the contrast became even more pronounced.
Tom turned to look at his colleagues beside him; every one of their expressions bore similarity: astonishment, shock, amazement. Even the shrewd Steven revealed a look of amusement, evidently having taken significant interest in Renly—indeed a rare sight.
Clearing his throat, Tom was the first to break the silence, "The piece you just performed was..." His understanding of Shakespeare's drama was limited, and the performed excerpt didn't match any familiar works. From this, one could infer Renly's courage and confidence.
It is "Julius Caesar"," Renly answered with a smile. "It's a tragedy Shakespeare wrote before "All's Well That Ends Well". The segment I just performed is from the character Mark Antony." In history, Mark was one of Caesar's most important military commanders and administrators. His most well-known achievement was undoubtedly his legendary love affair with Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt.
"An interesting choice," Tom's eyes brightened involuntarily. "But why did you choose this particular segment?" Before the words could fully leave his lips, Tom noticed Steven adjusting his posture slightly, supporting his chin and adopting a listening posture. This observation brought a wry smile to Tom's face.
"Because it's my strong suit?" Renly's answer drew a light chuckle from the audience, confident yet tinged with self-deprecation. He then proceeded to explain, "I've always found Mark to be an intriguing character. Setting aside his personal life, Shakespeare endowed Mark with a soul in "Julius Caesar". In history, people often remember him as a fool who was infatuated with Cleopatra, undermining his grand ambitions. Or they view him as a simple-minded warrior. But here, Mark is a poised orator, a cunning politician, and a decisive military commander."
With this simple explanation, clarity instantly dawned on everyone. The seemingly disjointed performance by Renly had suddenly become a complete portrayal. Mark Antony was facing enemies who had assassinated Caesar. How should he evade death without appearing weak and sycophantic? It was an art of strategy. Images from the performance replayed in their minds, the details revisited, and the surprise deepened in their widened pupils.
"Aren't you worried that we haven't seen this play before, so we might not have understood your performance?" Someone next to them voiced their thoughts; it wasn't Tom. All eyes turned as a group toward the speaker—it was Steven.
Not only the other actors present for auditions, even the crew members gazed in curiosity. Throughout the audition process, the two veterans' attention to Renly had far exceeded expectations; this was truly a rarity!
"Haha." Renly chuckled lightly, not concealing his delight and excitement, yet he wasn't overly flamboyant. "Performance is performance; the play is just a vessel. What I need to showcase is the performance, isn't it? Besides, I don't think "The Pacific" requires Shakespearean drama."
The latter part of his sentence was an evident comeback to Tom's earlier jest. Steven turned his head toward Tom and chuckled with a touch of schadenfreude. Tom himself couldn't help but laugh at his own expense, "I thought you were eager to seize this opportunity." If it wasn't for that quip, they wouldn't have witnessed Renly's vivid display. It was apparent that Shakespearean drama was Renly's forte.
"We'll know when the results are out, won't we?" Renly's simple words carried a hint of cunningness, sparking another wave of laughter from the audience.
Steven adjusted his jaw and put on a serious tone, "I can assure you, the decision-makers aren't standing on this stage." The crew collectively burst into laughter, but the actors on stage wore bitter expressions, growing even more nervous.
Renly knew it was time for him to exit. He politely nodded his greetings and then turned back to rejoin the lineup. Coming his way, he could see Rami's face, stiffened by nerves. However, Rami still managed to surreptitiously raise his right hand, giving Renly a thumbs-up.
Renly couldn't help but smile wryly, nodding his head slightly in response, encouraging Rami silently.
Rami took a deep breath. Having witnessed Renly's extraordinary audition just now, the weight on his shoulders had undoubtedly increased. But he didn't feel demoralized or envious; on the contrary, he felt motivated and filled with renewed determination. He clenched his fist, then stepped forward. Rami and Renly exchanged places—one moving back into the lineup, the other stepping forward.
Amid the lineup, Renly gently exhaled. Although he seemed composed and calm throughout, in reality, his nervousness rivaled anyone else's. Thin beads of sweat had formed in his palms. This was, after all, his first formal audition, and he was an entirely fledgling actor.
If it were said that the phone call before the audition hadn't affected him at all, that was impossible. Now, every opportunity was exceedingly precious to him. He wasn't sure whether his performance just now was enough, but he was certain that the experience of acting was so wonderful, exhilarating, and magical. Deep within, his dream of being an actor had solidified like never before.