Park Jeong-ja, a renowned theatre actor, who has been on stage for almost 60 years. Park has had an illustrious career in theatrical circles and has numerous play works to her name.
Park shared the story of how she started her career as an actor. She stated that she wanted to become a newspaper reporter when studying journalism at Ewha. However, she ended up becoming an actor, which she said she was destined to.
Park is now the chairperson of the board at the Gwanak Foundation for Arts & Culture, an organization established by the Gwanak-gu office for the promotion of cultural arts and cultural welfare.
“Although I wasn’t aware of it, plays were already embedded in me since I was very little,” Park said. “Growing up, since I was nine yearsa old, I watched so many plays. I think theatre was running in my blood ever since.”
Looking back on 1962, the same year she debuted in the college theater at Ewha, Fedora, she praised herself for entering a new stage and challenge in her life.
“I would like to tell myself that I did so well,” Park said. “Considering my age at the time, I survived and endured a new challenge as a rookie actor. Despite my wish to play the main character in the play, the role that I got in my first play Fedora was a minor role. However, if I had refused my role for being small and less significant, I wouldn’t have become the actor I am right now.”
Life has changed a lot since those minor roles. Park now holds a number of titles including: “the representative actor of the Korean theatrical world” and “the mother of the Korean theatrical world.” Among various titles, she revealed that she simply wants to be remembered as the theater actor Park Jeong-ja.
“By next year, I will be an actor with 60 years of experience on stage,” Park said. “As long as I am healthy, energetic and passionate, I will remain as the theater actor Park Jeong-ja and would like to be remembered like that too.”
When asked about her major showpiece, 19 and 80, a piece portraying the special bond between a 19-year-old boy and an 80-year-old woman, she said that she has performed the piece on the stage six times already. Next year, Park plans to perform in the play once again, but this time she will be 80 years old.
“The age of 80 is the most bountiful age for love and wisdom. By working on the piece, I learned a lot from the pure, non-possessive character Maude,” Park said. Park says that perseverance is the key to achieving any dreams, especially for those that envision becoming actors.
“The key to pursuing one’s dream is to survive with a strong sense of endurance. I cannot live other people’s lives like my children’s or my grandchildrens. They own their lives. The perseverance and endurance that they own will lead them to whatever goals that they have in their hearts.”