Chapter 17: Don’t Let Her Find Out.
“Baby, baby, why did you stop talking again?”
Every time the woman beside her spoke, it felt like she was rushing someone to their death.
Xi Mo automatically filtered out Yan Tinghuan’s disgusting and creepy way of address. At the same time, she kept her phone away and said with a smile, “I just finished discussing some work matters with someone. It’s alright now.”
Ruan Yesheng was also disgusting. How was she able to call out sweetheart?
After thinking about it, Xi Mo decided not to address Yan Tinghuan when speaking to her in the future. She would just go straight to the point. That way, she could at least avoid any mistakes due to addressing her incorrectly.
“You weren’t so busy last time.” Yan Tinghuan kept staring at Xi Mo’s face as she spoke. In a joking tone she continued, “I only went away for a bit and you already found a new opportunity.”
Xi Mo replied calmly, “I was just lucky. However, this is only an interview. Nothing is confirmed yet.”
As a manager, I won’t say much if you didn’t manage to find anything for your actor, but why are you so surprised when the actor managed to find something for herself!?
It’s not as if you came back to find me pregnant, what’s there to be surprised about!?
Yan Tinghuan blinked and asked, “What kind of drama is Lin Qitang filming? He sure hid it well. I didn’t hear anything about it. Tell me the details.”
Xi Mo couldn’t handle her fervor for leaning in closer when speaking. It was too close. Xi Mo was uncomfortable with Yan Tinghuan’s excessively coquettish perfume.
Unfortunately for Xi Mo, she couldn’t back away as she had to put up an act, taking the smell head on. “Nothing is confirmed yet. It’s better if I tell you about it after everything is confirmed.”
Hearing this, Yan Tinghuan pouted. She lifted her right index finger and poked Xi Mo’s face in frustration, saying in dissatisfaction, “How hateful. I’m your manager. We are bound by a contract. I have the right and obligation to know about your work schedule. Look what we have now. Why are you trying to act mysterious?”
“…” Xi Mo almost exploded after her cheek was poked by the other.
Stay away from me, you crazy woman!
There was a tsunami raging in Xi Mo’s heart, but she didn’t show anything on her face. She maintained a perfect smile and did not dodge.
She couldn’t and didn’t dare to dodge. After all, she still hadn’t figured out how Ruan Yesheng interacted with Yan Tinghuan in the past. If Yan Tinghuan had poked Ruan Yesheng’s face before and the latter usually doesn’t react, wouldn’t she arouse suspicion if she dodged? And based on Ruan Yesheng’s personality, Xi Mo felt that she would definitely poke back with a smile after being poked by Yan Tinghuan.
They would continue on with the mindset of “you poke me and I poke you”. Poking on and on, acting out a great play.
Xi Mo silently sent a blessing from her heart that they would both turn into sieves.
Seemingly compromising, Yan Tinghuan shrugged her shoulders and said, “Fine. Let me know after everything is confirmed. By the way, Tangtang told me that you have a new number now. Do you plan to change it for good? You have been using your previous number for so long, why the sudden change?”
She fiddled with her phone as she spoke.
Xi Mo replied casually, “Not really. I’m still keeping my previous number. But you should use the new number when you contact me in the future. I assume Tangtang told you the number?”
Yan Tinghuan waved her phone as she said, “Yea, I saved it. I had planned to call you on your new number, but after thinking for a bit, I decided to wait for you here to give you a surprise.”
Xi Mo smiled and said, “I really am very ‘surprised’ too.”
Yan Tinghuan seemed to have received a message. She took a look at the message and an imperceptible smile formed on the corner of her lips.
On the other side, a staff member came out from a room and headed towards their direction. Suddenly, Yan Tinghuan asked with narrowed eyes, “Baby, we have spoken for so long but I haven’t heard you call me sweetheart even once. Why do I feel that you aren’t as passionate towards me as before.”
Xi Mo: “…”
What will come will come.
But she didn’t expect it to be so fast!
“Ms. Ruan, please come in. Director Lin is asking for you.” The staff member came forward.
Xi Mo felt that help came in the nick of time. She stood up elegantly and said with a smile, “Okay. Sorry to trouble you.”
The staff member working at Director Lin’s studios had seen numerous celebrities. However, she still felt surprised when she saw Xi Mo, who was currently using Ruan Yesheng’s face and body. She couldn’t help but give her a second glance.
She hadn’t seen a newcomer with such an outstanding disposition in the past two years. She looked very eye-catching.
Xi Mo looked towards Yan Tinghuan, who was still seated on the sofa, and said, “I’m going in now. Wait for me here.”
Yan Tinghuan nodded with a smile.
“Ms. Ruan, this way please.” The staff member led the way while Xi Mo quickly followed behind her. It was a gift from heaven being able to escape from that crazy woman, even if it was only for thirty minutes.
After Xi Mo left, Yan Tinghuan’s smile changed to a deeper expression. She continued replying to her previous message, “Yesheng, I feel that she’s quite interesting. Why did you say that though? What would you do if she really called me sweetheart? She’s so dedicated to acting as you, she might actually call out if things get too serious.”
Ruan Yesheng replied, “Just remember to control your speech and conduct when interacting with her. Don’t tease her too much.”
Yan Tinghuan clicked her tongue lightly and replied with a smile, “Aren’t you the one who’s teasing her? Yes yes. Only you can tease her, I can’t. Anyway, I have officially accepted the task you have given me.”
After a short pause, Ruan Yesheng’s reply came again, “You must protect her well. Don’t let her find out.”
“Of course. I will protect her, just like how I protected you last time.”
Xi Mo followed the staff member to the office inside. The inner part of the room was separated with frosted glass, another world hiding behind it.
The staff member handed her a thin audition script and instructed, “Director Lin asked you to look at the audition script first. When you’re ready or when the appointed time is up, you will go in for the audition. When you’re done looking through, please return the script to me.”
Xi Mo replied politely, “Okay. Thank you.”
After receiving a cup of tea from the staff member, she sat down and looked through the script.
Scripts are a crucial part of shows. It strongly determines the fate of a show. It’s also the most strictly guarded information in the initial stages. To prevent the leaking of script content and losing people’s excitement due to spoilers, the filming side will usually not give out the complete script, unless you were a famous actor who has the right to choose your scripts. In cases where the TV show or movie is very popular, it’s also possible that even famous actors don’t get to see the complete script until they sign the contract.
Xi Mo was currently auditioning as a newcomer actor. Naturally the script she was given was very simple.
The front portion showed a description of the entire show’s background, a summary of the story, the position of the character she was auditioning for listed along with other characters, and her relationship with other characters. It was similar to how a director would explain a show to an actor. Sometimes, the director will come personally to explain the show to the auditioner. However, it was obvious she didn’t receive such treatment as she was still a “newcomer”.
Afterwards, it showed a few scenes and the dialogue she had to act out for her audition. It was a small portion of the script, testing the actor’s understanding of his role and his ability to integrate into the show.
However, Lin Qitang had already given her the complete script in order to invite her to act as the female lead. It could be said that Xi Mo understood the entire script very well.
The show was called Sui Ting, set in the imperial palace during the Han dynasty.
Sui Ting was about the legend of Deng Sui, formally known as Empress Hexi of Eastern Han. Deng Sui was an empress who held a very high status in China’s history. Studying since childhood, she was a talented woman full of wisdom. She was also extremely beautiful. The evaluation of her in the Book of the Later Han was very high.
Although she was the empress, she became the empress dowager afterwards and participated in government affairs for sixteen years. She walked out from the imperial harem onto the imperial court, making many achievements. Fighting outside by stabilizing the inside, she led Eastern Han gradually towards stability, allowing the people to work and live in peace. Her foresight also made great contributions towards Cai Lun’s invention of paper.
The most admirable thing of all was her diligence during her time in court. She was strict to herself as well as her family. The mess left behind by the previous ruler of Eastern Han, namely the intervention by his consorts’ families and eunuchs, was kept well in control by her.
Deng Sui’s contribution in the court was well recognized by the later generations. Unfortunately, she was a woman. Her sixteen years of control over the country’s state of affairs as the empress was seen as a woman making a mess of government affairs, which angered many people. However, the later generations still found her more commendable than deplorable.
In order to enhance the storyline and increase the viewability, Deng Sui’s image in this show was made more complex and three-dimensional.
Naturally, the role Xi Mo had accepted previously was the female lead role, Deng Sui. Now that she has become Ruan Yesheng, the role she was auditioning for was Deng Sui’s personal maid, Ding E, who has been following Deng Sui since young.
Ding E’s role was also very complex. She stayed by Deng Sui’s side throughout the entire course of the show.
Deng Sui was seriously ill when Ding E was found by Deng Sui’s father, Deng Xun. Deng Sui didn’t seem to get better but gradually recovered three days after Ding E entered their mansion.
Thus, Deng Xun let her stay by Deng Sui’s side and gave her the name “Ding E”.
The meaning of her name was to help Deng Sui get rid of bad luck.
Ding E was a through and through tragic female side character. She always stayed by Deng Sui’s side but with a different purpose. As a slave, she had to risk her life many times for Deng Sui, from the time Deng Sui first entered the imperial harem to later on when Deng Sui joined the imperial court. She was a complex character encompassing both love and hate.
If this kind of role was acted well, it could easily capture the hearts of the audience. If a known actor took up the role, their popularity will increase greatly. If a newcomer could act this role well, then they were not far from becoming famous.
Xi Mo couldn’t be any more familiar with the script. Roughly looking through the front portion introducing the show, she skipped to the portion she had to act out for her audition.
She had to say, this audition was quite difficult.
Right off the bat, she had to act out three scenes from the first part. All were Ding E’s “Chang Nuo” scenes.
During the Han dynasty, when someone of lower position wanted to reply to someone of higher position with the meaning of “Yes, obeying your command”, they would reply “Nuo” with a respectful attitude.
This action of following orders was called “Chang Nuo”.
In Xi Mo’s audition script, she had three of Ding E’s “Chang Nuo” scenes. The lines were all the same, but the emotion contained in each line was very different based on the context of each scene. It was a true test of an actor’s skills.
The next portion included a scene where she had a very long line. This was to test the actor’s ability to remember lines.
Acting skills were not a problem for the best actress, Xi Mo. Other than acting skills, she still had status, money, and a golden thigh.
Xi Mo already had the foundation, but she still acted like she was looking through the script carefully for others to see. After all, there was still someone watching her from the side. She needed to give off the good impression that she was carefully looking through the script.
After about ten minutes, Xi Mo stood up and returned the script back to the staff member. “I’m done. May I know if I can head towards Director Lin’s side?”
The staff member was obviously extremely shocked. Looking at Xi Mo as if looking at a monster, she asked, “You’re done?”
Xi Mo replied lightly, “Yes.”
The staff member said hurriedly, “Then I will notify Director Lin.” After saying so, she turned back and asked again, “Miss Ruan, have you really remembered all the lines? Once I take the script away, you can’t look at it again. Do you want to look at it one last time?”
Seeing her beautiful face, the staff member nodded her head strangely and said, “Your memory is so good. It’s my first time seeing someone with such a good memory.”
Xi Mo replied with a smile, “I recently attended a memorizing crash course for one month, free of charge.”
“It’s so effective?” The staff member continued, “I’m always forgetting things and getting scolded by Director Lin. Ms. Ruan, where did you sign up for the crash course?”
Xi Mo continued seriously, as if she was giving a recommendation. Pointing outside, she answered, “My manager signed me up. When you have time, you can ask her.”
Sui Ting(绥廷) – The ‘Sui’ of Sui Ting came from the name of empress Hexi, Deng Sui. Ting means court. It depicts how empress Hexi has ruled the empire.
Cai Lun is regarded as the inventor of paper, while Deng Sui contributed by sponsoring the creation and widespread use of paper. More info about the beginning of paper: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/japanese-book-paper/0/steps/47498