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Absurd Reality Mirrored in No-Logic Play

Posted November. 05, 2002 23:02,   


˝I will just stick to the script, not even changing a word.˝ Director Lee Yun-taek, indeed, did as he said. To him, conveying every single line is like reading a textbook correctly.

˝As the drama continues, dynamic motions and lively rhythm of the student starts to disappear….the professor becomes more and more aggressive and dominating,˝ the play also does its best to deliver the message from playwright Eugene Ionesco.

Yet, the theatrical performance cannot be a perfect replica of the play. Ionesco’s work is reborn as a new drama on the stage in a precise way. This is much thanks to director Lee, who said he would change the way a theatrical play is directed, from the one centering on a director to the one oriented to actors.

Han Gap-soo, an actor playing a professor, first reminds the audience of Charlie Chaplin and then turns into a Hitler possessed by Fascist insanity. Ryu Jin, who plays a student, changes from an agreeable young girl to a victim of the professor’s teaching of oppression.

It is only a naïve ideal to believe that `a student learns to think rationally and logically by picking up the knowledge required for social life, just as a teacher sets an example of morality and offers education of logics.`

In reality, students increasingly lose their creativity and become a part of a volume production system rolling out expendable items for the society, since they become saddled with the values of the established and their hypocritical overbearing.

If the goal of the play is to let it known the bitter reality, there is no need to use words and actions that make sense. Rather, it will be better to let the audience experience the absurd reality through illogical languages and acts.

Eugene Ionesco, a playwright known for his work called theater of the absurdity, did just that. As the `absurd reality,` which has been adroitly packed with the logics, reveals itself through the drama, the audience look back on themselves as they burst into laugh.

Director Lee Yun-taek, who has been trying experimental works, is now set to deal with great international works after last year’s sensational `Country Folks’ Scholar Cho Nam-young.` He intends to place a focus on acting by Yeonhee Dangeari Theater.

On the other hand, he also offers an opportunity for the audience to broaden their view.

The audience, in fact, has been hungry for the world’s great works. Anton Chekhov’s `Three Sisters,` the first of `Looking for Great Theatrical Classic` series co-organized by the Arts Theater of The Culture and Art Promotion Agency and the Korean Classic Play Institute, was opened last month and drew a good number of audience.

Second work `The Class,` is currently on stage, and people is enjoying it. They are already expecting the second work `Oydipus (written by Sophocles and directed by Lee Yun-taek),` which will be open on Nov. 19.

The Class will be on stage through Nov. 10, at 7:30 p.m. on weekdays and at 4:00 and 7:30 p.m. on the weekend, Hakjeon Blue Theater at the Culture and Art Promotion Agency. Call 02-763-1268

Hyoung-Chan Kim khc@donga.com