Most of the trendy and modern theater playhouses used to be clustered in Sinchon until mid 1980s, when the democratization of Korea swept the young hearts of Sinchon students. After the democratic movements, many of the theaters moved to Daehangno in Hyehwa-dong. This spring, a theater company, The Stage, is dreaming of creating a renaissance in the district through the Sinchon Theater Festival 2011: This Is Real Daehangno.
The Stage planned the festival since 2010 in order to revive an artistic and intellectual cultural trend that prospered in the 1970s and 1980s. Daehangno literally means ‘the university street’ in Korean; the Stage argues that Sinchon deserves that prestigious title.
“Sinchon is a genuine university town since three universities are found here: Ewha Womans University, Yonsei University and Sogang University,” said Min Ji-hye, the publicist for the Stage. “Material consumerism now prevails in the streets of Sinchon represented by endless stores and bars. The Sinchon Theater Festival 2011: This Is Real Daehangno will lead Sinchon culture into a new direction.”
The festival introduces plays that the audience, primarily university students, can approach and enjoy easily. The plays shown at the festival have been popular either domestically or internationally. The opening act, “Amish Project,” which is produced by the theater companies C Virus and No Name Theater Company, played in Korea for the first time on March 5 during the festival. Amish Project has gained fame as an off-Broadway production in New York.
The five selected plays of the festival all convey strong messages. For example, “Amish Project,” which is currently playing, talks about forgiveness in the midst of a tragic incident that takes place in a small town named Amish. The play, which is based on a true story deals with rather uncomfortable subject of shooting rampage, but by the end of the play, its message moves the audience’s hearts.
Other plays also have strong messages or characteristics. “Dinner With a Friend,” one of the festival’s playlist, talks about ordinary people and daily lives through casual dinners with friends eating. The Sinchon Theater Festival also includes “Rock Hui Men Show” as comedy for audiences who want an easy and funny piece for good laughter. “Youth, 18 versus one,” the closing play of the Sinchon Theater Festival, portrays the youth who fought for Korea’s independence during the Japanese colonial era.
Unlike most of the cultural festivals, which last only for a few weeks, the Sinchon Theater Festival 2011 continues for six months until Aug. 28. The festival aims to allow audiences to enjoy the festival fully for an extended period of time.
The respective play schedules are: “Amish Project” from March 5 to April 10, “Dinner” from April 15 to May 8, “Zzambbong” from May 12 to June 12, “Rock Hui Men Show,” from June 18 to July 17 and the last play “Youth, 18 Versus One” from July 23 to Aug. 28.
The standard seats are priced at 20,000 won and the royal seats at 30,000 won. The tickets can be bought via Interpark’s Web site (http://www.interpark.com/) or Maxticket (http://maxticket.maxmovie.com/). For inquiries, call the Stage (02) 312-9940.