The Korean Musical Comedy Theater ended another season with the premiere of a musical and said goodbye to its old building.
The artists will start the new season in the center of Almaty, but they promise that neither the move nor the upcoming renovation will change their creative plans. The premiere turned out to be unique in many respects – in order to revive the ancient legend of love, they chose such a difficult genre as a musical, and even in combination with many interesting modern directorial decisions. There is a whole cycle of traditional Korean legends in the theater’s repertoire. So “The Tale of Chun Hyang” is a remake of the very play which the theater began its creative journey with.
We took it as a basis, but changed the ending, – says the main director of the theater Elena Kim. – If love wins in the legend and young people are happy, then our negative hero still takes the girl by force, and she kills herself to get rid of shame. It’s cruel, but that’s what happened in ancient times: either a dishonored woman kills herself, or anyone can throw a stone at her.
The main negative role is played by Alisher Makhpirov, a personification of the friendship of peoples in the theater: – My relatives worked in the Uyghur theater, when two theaters (Uyghur and Korean) were merged. I only got a job as a stage worker since there was a vacancy, and then, looking at these beautiful historical costumes and ancient legends, I fell under the spell of the theater. I had to get an acting education, and studied at the Kazakh acting school. And after that, I seriously studied the Korean language for two years. This is my first major role, and it turned out to be very difficult. I even thought I wouldn’t be able to do it for a long time: the musical part is too complicated. But in the end everything worked out.
The end of the season at the theater was celebrated with pilaf and a friendly feast. And in September, when the theater moves to a new building, they will not only show “The Legend of Chun Hyang” again, but will also delight the audience with another premiere, this time based on the work of Chingiz Aitmatov “Farewell, Gulsary”.
At the same time, another important work will begin on a performance about the legendary general Hong Beom Do, who fought for the liberation of Korea all his life, and at the end of his life worked as a watchman in the Kyzylorda theater, where a memorial was even erected in his name after his death. Elena Kim is sure that it is very important to look for intersections of history and modernity: “The problem of theater is that now the younger generation does not know the Korean language and does not see the need to learn it. For many, this is “an old people’s” language. Now young people need Kazakh and English. Nevertheless, our task is to introduce Korean culture, and this can be perfectly done through folk holidays and concerts which our artists always take part in.
Ksenia Evdokimenko, photo by Andrey MAGAY, Almaty